How the MLB Can Fix Their Image and Seasons by Eliminating Interleague Play
MLB Opening Day was a national day of celebration for many diehard baseball fans loyal to the sport and their team. Unfortunately for the casual viewer, the whole process was a tad confusing, and, as Horsehide Chronicles wrote, this calls for change.
Unfortunately for Bud Selig and the league, this is just another problem with their game to be added to the list. It is common knowledge that the All-Star Game is a joke with stars choosing to sit out and the home field experiment looking more and more like a bust.
The playoff expansion looks like a great move on paper, but the logistics now have the MLB looking at potential November dates if in-climate weather pushes any World Series games back. Imagine playing in New York in November. The series may get called off until next spring.
While these three examples are not the only reason baseball is struggling, they are some of the biggest ones at this time. The ironic thing is that the MLB seems to be doing very little to work out these issues while one solution would be relatively painless to implement—eliminate interleague play for good.
Interleague play has had mixed results for the league, and the basic conclusion is that unless you are in New York or Chicago, the experiment has not done much. Yankees-Mets is great for New York, but Yankees-Red Sox draws in the entire country.
Furthermore, it eliminated the novelty and spectacle of the All-Star Game. Before interleague play, the two leagues were almost like the AFL-NFL pre-1970, and the World Series determined who was the better league.
The All-Star Game was then a chance to do similar—match stars against one another and allow fans to see players they may never have even heard of.
Would you be in favor of keeping the divisions as is if it meant elimination of interleague play?
Therefore, I say eliminate interleague play in order to fix the previously stated issues and give baseball new life.
Aside from reinvigorating the All-Star Game, the schedule of the MLB would be drastically different without interleague play. Next season, with 15 teams in each league, interleague play will have to be implemented every week in order to balance the schedule. Keep the Astros in the NL Central, and instead eliminate the additional 18-21 games teams play with interleague.
While the NL Central would be cut 18, everyone else would lose 21, thus add on an additional series based on last season's results. For example, the Phillies would play the Diamondbacks once more in Philladelphia since Philly had more wins.
This then cuts everyone's schedule to a mere 144 games, ending the season in mid-September rather than early October. For those saying there should be more games, there are three options: keep listening to me and see how the schedule will be pushed back, add two series for rivalries and get 150 or tell the MLB that three days each month can be scaled back.
If you chose the first option, thank you and get ready to see this all come together. Now that the season is down to 144 games, this Opening Day fiasco must be fixed. The MLB needs to centralize its efforts to one day and one continent.
The best option would be a weekend series starting on Friday night, but some may say why compete with the Masters?
In that case, move the season back to the second Friday in April. Make it a weekend affair with games opening across the nation on Friday afternoons and nights. If you wanted to take a page out of the NFL's book, have the first game of the season be played Thursday night with the reigning champs unveiling their banner and getting their rings.
This then moves the 144 game schedule that formerly ended in mid-September towards the end of the month with enough time to play play ins and Wild Card games in the month. This leaves all of October for the NL and AL Championship Series and World Series.
Everything could be done by mid October and suddenly the Opening Weekend is perfectly scripted, the All Star game is more relevant, and the season ends right where it should end.
Sound too perfect? Yeah I thought so. That's why I am not the commissioner.
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