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Monday May 23, 2011 6:20 pm

Interleague play resumes with same old rivalries and complaints




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Editorial, MLB

Travis HafnerIf nothing else, interleague play allows the baseball world to focus on rivalries other than that of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but frankly, not enough teams have those “natural” rivals that baseball would like them to have. Proximity alone isn’t enough. You can’t argue that interleague games aren’t important. Every game is important. The crossover games though are little more than a cheap attempt to boost sales. The good news for MLB is that it works. But is it really fair?

The league has rotated divisions for years now, but still, due to the NL Central’s six teams and the necessity for those rivalry series, there’s still a chance that some fans won’t ever see some teams. Despite interleague play having been around since 1997, the Houston Astros had never visited the Toronto Blue Jays until this past weekend. What’s worse is that the American League has dominated interleague play for almost a decade now. This past weekend AL teams outscored NL teams 70-34.

Not everybody is as interested in seeing Roy Halladay or Ryan Braun as they are in seeing a balanced schedule where teams who actually compete for the same playoff spot play each other the same as everybody else. More importantly, why does the schedule have a three-game weekend of interleague play interrupt the normal schedule, then wait another month before fitting in the rest of the 15 games? Just do them all at once, or split them up evenly.

American League pitchers aren’t used to hitting. National League managers aren’t used to the DH, and some teams don’t have a bona fide slugger to fill the position. If MLB insists on continuing, they should do something else to interest fans, as it’s becoming clearer each season that fans are growing tired of the format. One of the best ideas floating around is having NL rules play in AL parks and vice versa for the games. That way the fans can get a taste of what it’s like for the other side, especially in cities where the other league isn’t just a drive down the road. If MLB wants to continue playing its games using different sets of rules, then they should strive to make it more interesting for everyone involved.

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