High time to kill interleague play • Latino Sports

Baseball

High time to kill interleague play

on

Interleague play was a bad idea when it was introduced in 1997. It has never gotten better.

The concept not only compromises individual statistics but also the integrity of the World Series. Worst of all, it distorts won-lost records of all 30 clubs because they don’t face the same opponents or play the same number of games against them.

Fans in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles might like it — if bragging rights are worth a damn — but what about fans in Denver, Seattle, and Miami? Where are their “natural” rivals?

For every intra-city rivalry, such as Cubs-White Sox, there are a dozen that make no sense at all, such as Braves-Blue Jays. How can Official Baseball explain that one? Or the fact that the Braves never played in Kansas City before the Royals inexplicably turned up on Atlanta’s schedule this summer?

The original idea behind interleague play was to increase attendance. That concept worked only in the two-team cities but has not sustained itself now that the novelty has worn off. By an overwhelming margin, fans would prefer to see their teams play league and divisional rivals rather than interleague foes.

It’s also confusing that the leagues operate with different rules, with the American League still using a designated hitter to take the place of the pitcher in the lineup. When games are played in AL parks, the DH is used. But not when games are played on National League turf.

In Facebook shorthand, WTF were they thinking?

Interleague play was an ill-conceived idea not much smarter than playing two All-Star Games in a single season — as baseball did for four years from 1959-62.

The next time owners and players renew the Basic Agreement, maybe they’ll get smart and relegate interleague play to spring training, when games don’t count, and the World Series, when they used to count more.

While they’re at it, maybe they can throw the DH, the wild-card playoff game, and Sunday night games into the dustbin of baseball history. We’d all be a lot better off — and so would the Grand Old Game.

Also worth noting:

Curtis Granderson’s timing is amazing. Exactly three months after he broke his forearm, he broke his pinky. The Yankees slugger played only eight games before going on the disabled list again . . .

Curtis Granderson can't stay off the disabled list

Curtis Granderson can’t stay off the disabled list

Ex-Met Angel Pagan was the first Giant since Bill Terry in 1931 to end a game with an inside-the-park home run . . .

If the Braves weren’t paying B.J. Upton $15 million a year, don’t you think Jordan Schafer would be the regular centerfielder by now? . . .

Since he’s always good for four innings before caving mid-game, the thought persists that the Mets should move Dillon Gee to the bullpen sooner rather than later . . .

Terry Francona (Indians) may give Joe Girardi (Yankees) a tough battle for American League Manager of the Year . . .

If Leo Durocher had been suspended for infidelity, as the movie 42 suggested, Commissioner A.B. (Happy) Chandler would have had to suspend the other 15 managers too . . .

Kris Medlen and Mike Minor, both Atlanta starters, own two of the four best earned run averages since the 2012 All-Star Game . . .

It’s about time: 21 of the 30 ballparks are smokefree within the entrance gates and no stadium allows smoking in its seating areas. Parks that are totally smokefree include Fenway, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium, and AT&T Park.

 

 

 

 

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

Recommended for you