Dissenting Opinion: Interleague Play Was Never Fresh

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IMay 26, 2009

Earlier this week, Thomas wrote a post detailing why he felt that interleague play in Major League Baseball was worth preserving. While I admire his jubilation at seeing his two favorite teams pitted against one another, I must say that I find interleague play to be an incredible bore.

Firstly, there are very few compelling matchups created by interleague play. Sure, every once in a while you get Yankees vs Mets and White Sox vs Cubs, and that's cool, but for every game like that, you get matchups like Pirates vs Royals, which are pointless to everyone involved.

It's a cliche argument, but it's one that's true: interleague play takes away from the mystique of the World Series and the All-Star Game. In other sports, you can have conferences play each other, and it makes no difference.

Not so in baseball.

Take the NFL. A team from the AFC plays a team from the NFC. No big deal. Nothing changes about how the game is played. The same goes for the NHL and the NBA.

Baseball, however, has an actual difference between the leagues in the designated hitter rule, and American and National League teams are built differently as a result.

When interleague games happen, teams have to strategize around the fact that they are or are not built to play with a designated hitter. AL teams can elect to bench their usual DH, or they can put them at an easy defensive position to get their bats in the lineup and suffer the consequences of their poor defense.

NL teams have to put a sub-par bench player in the lineup and hope they can manage to hit.

This makes for some great strategic baseball, right? Well, yes, but only when the games actually mean something, which brings me to my next point.

Interleague games are essentially meaningless in terms of the standings. Teams aren't motivated, because they know that it's unlikely that any of these interleague games will get them a wild card spot, and it's even less likely to win them a division championship.

I'd much rather we remove the interleague games and have more intraleague games where teams know they'll actually be affected in the standings.

Interleague games are exciting once a year—during the World Series, when teams actually care to strategize. When it's not just a matter of the standings, but a matter of the Championship.

Sixty Feet, Six Inches is an Indianapolis based sports blog covering a wide range of sports. If you like what you read here, check out our home page for more. Sixty Feet, Six Inches

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