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Can the 2023 MLB All-Star Game end in a tie?

We go over the tiebreaker rules in place in case the MLB All-Star Game is all knotted up after nine innings.

A general view of the field as the National and American League teams stand for the national anthem before 93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The MLB All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 11 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. The biggest stars in the American and National Leagues will do battle, with the AL looking to run its advantage in the all-time series to 48-43-2. But wait: 48-43-2? As in two ties?

Surprisingly, yes. The 1961 and 2002 games saw no official winner declared — the latter in particular is seared into the memories of baseball fans, as then-commissioner Bud Selig called the game after 11 innings when both teams ran out of pitchers. MLB was desperate to avoid a repeat of that Miller Park fiasco, and they took time during the most recent CBA negotiations to make sure that it would never happen again.

So, what happens if the All-Star Game is tied after nine innings? Three words: home run derby.

Here’s the specifics of how it would work: The managers of the American League and National League squads will each select three players (and one alternate, in the event of an injury) on his roster who have agreed to participate, as well as three coaches to throw batting practice. Each player will get three swings, and the team with the highest combined homer total after those three rounds will be declared the winner of the game.

The three players on each team can hit in any order, with the two teams alternating turns. The visiting team (NL) will hit first and the home team (AL) second. Once all six hitters have completed their swings, the team with the most total home runs is the winner — unless we’re still tied, in which case each manager picks one of the participating players to compete in a three-swing swing-off. That swing-off format will continue until the tie is broken, although each manager can select any of the other original three hitters to participate in subsequent swing-offs.

Statistically speaking, the game would be considered a tie in the record books, with an asterisk noting that one league defeated the other in a home run swing-off. It also wouldn’t affect the All-Star Game MVP Award — that would still be based on what happened in the nine-inning game.