MLB: Is Interleague Play Still a Good Idea?
Think about it. If you could pick and choose only one series you can attend from your favorite team, what would it be?
If you are a Yankees fan, the Red Sox would be number one and the Mets would probably be number two. Dodgers' fans would pick the Angels series often. Same in Chicago and in the Bay Area.
But what about the other teams? None of the other "rivalry" games create the same mystique as these games do.
Baseball in Florida attracts the most fans based on who their opponents are, not their own teams.
Some teams don't even have a geographical rival, take my word for it the Blue Jays don't play any NL team twice a year. The Red Sox end up playing a team that was their rival over 50 years ago!!
Let's take a look at the other reasons Interleague Play should be eliminated from baseball:
1) An unfair advantage is given to some teams based on their geographic rival.
The St. Louis Cardinals play the lowly Kansas City Royals six times a season. However, the Milwaukee Brewers get stuck playing the always competitive Minnesota Twins.
The Marlins played the team formerly known as the Devil Rays the past decade. Marlins rivals Mets and Braves had to play the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively.
2) American League pitchers actually have to bat!!
While it may be interesting to see what the Mets will do to Roger Clemens the first time they played him after the "bat-throwing" incident, no one really wants to see these guys get into the box. These guys do not practice hitting and running, if they were to somehow get on base.
Like I said, AL pitchers do not practice offense. Managers have to hold their breath every time one of their pitchers gets on base and needs to run the bases. At least NL pitchers are used to it.
Hamstrings are delicate and should a star pitcher go down for a significant amount of time because he is running the bases for the first time, is a terrible reality AL teams will need to face.
Just ask Chien-Ming Wang how he feels after scoring from second on a single and injuring his right foot.
Of course, interleague play isn't all bad. I would love to see the World Series' teams from the year before play again in the summer.
The Mets-Yankees series every year gets the city of New York amped up as I'm sure the Cubs-White Sox and Dodgers-Angels series' do for their respective cities.
However, the inclusion of interleague play, while at first a great attendance boost for a sport in need, has become a detriment to traditional baseball. It has caused unfair advantages for some teams over others, which is generally what should be avoided. Strength of schedule for each team is different which is something that baseball can easily avoid.
Interleague play will still be a part of our lives at least until through the 2011 season. Until then, just try to notice the next time your favorite team misses the playoffs due to strength of schedule and then tell me whether interleague play is fair or not.
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