Friday, May 18, 2007

Interleague Play Sucks

I know I promised more frequent posts, so I here I am. After another great day for the Sox, and proving to any doubters that they are for real after taking three of four from a very strong Tigers club, the wonderful world of interleague play begins once again. Bug Selig might be happy about it, and tell us that more people "like it" than ever without providing any real info to back that up, I can't tell you I know anybody that follows baseball that actually likes it.

It's been 11 years since it started, and I think most people at this point just accept it as part of the game. But I think it continues to be one of the biggest mistakes of the Selig Era, as there's very little about interleague play that I can consider positive.

I don't understand why it makes sense to have interleague play when there's already such a focus on the unbalanced schedule. You've got the Red Sox playing the Yankees, D-Rays, O's and Jays 18 or 19 times a season, which of course is more of a benefit to the Red Sox and Yanks compared to teams this year in the AL Central that are going to beat the crap out of each other until October comes. But take the Tigers for example. Given how competitive the Central is this year, there's a very good chance that either they, the Indians, or the Twins will wind up with the Wild Card this year. Instead of having more chances against other playoff contenders (like Oakland, LA, New York, or Boston), those games get taken up against NL East opponents during the summer, and end up being pretty meaningless in the long run. As stupid as this is, it's only the second-biggest reason why I hate interleague play.

Since the farce of interleague play began, my biggest peeve with it is how much of a disadvantage the AL teams are put at when they play in NL parks. It's easy enough for an NL team to come to an AL park, throw its best bench player in the DH spot, and go play. But for AL teams in NL parks, they must tell their pitchers, who actually are only concerned with pitching for the rest of the year (what a concept), to wield a bat and run the bases which many of them have not had to do since high school. This discrepancy has been somewhat evened out in the last few years because the NL has turned into a joke and last year the AL owned interleague regardless of where the games were held. But it remains that there's no competitive disadvantage for NL clubs in interleague, unless of course, that NL team sucks.

Interleague also cheapens the mystique of the All-Star Game and the World Series. If the Sox and Braves end up facing each other in the World Series, is it really going to be that cool to see them facing off if we'd already seen them during the season? There's something about that matchup of leagues that has been totally lost because of interleague play.

I do feel like Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur have a legitimate beef about how their club is getting shafted this season. I know that even though the Sox were 16-2 in interleague last year, there have been numerous years when the club has been invariably hurt by interleague. They have missed the playoffs or been put in worse playoff standing as a direct result of poor performance in games that should never have been played in the first place.

Hopefully the next commissioner will have the sense to give interleague play the long-overdue boot.


Chris said...

Jake i expect a lengthy entry come july on the foolishness of the all-star game's world series impact

JakeOD21 said...

At first I liked the idea of giving some meaning to the All-Star Game, and some of the games since they implemented the rule have been very good as far as All-Star Games go. But really the whole point of giving the All-Star game significance was to make it so that players would actually care about the game itself. If that's what it takes to motivate guys to show up and play in a game meant for the fans, then what does it say about those players? I think it's a joke and it needs to stop.

L-girl said...

I agree! That's why I started this petition to end interleague play.

Please read it, and if you agree, please sign. I hope you�ll post it on your blog and any baseball forums or message boards that you visit.

I realize it may do very little, but I feel MLB should at least know how we feel.