Dan Schlossberg's Midweek Report: MLB Schedule Gets Worse, Not Better • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Midweek Report: MLB Schedule Gets Worse, Not Better

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New York, NY – If the 2015 World Series goes seven games, teams will still be playing on November 5.

Unless they’re shoveling snow, of  course. The new schedule, issued this week, contains the same problems that have undermined the integrity of both individual and team records since interleague play began.

Simply put, interleague play should be reserved for the All-Star Game, World Series, spring training, and perhaps occasional exhibition games. Anything else compromises both team and individual records.

For example, the Atlanta Braves host the New York Yankees for a three-game series at Turner Field in Atlanta but don’t come to Yankee Stadium at all. They do, however, have a four-game “home and home” series with the Boston Red Sox — designated their “natural rival” because the Braves played in Boston before they moved to Milwaukee in 1953 (and to Atlanta in 1966).

Atlanta will host the Yankees but not visit Yankee Stadium in 2015

Atlanta will host the Yankees but not visit Yankee Stadium in 2015

Get rid of the silly interleague games and the Braves would have more games against Dodgers, Giants, and other teams that could have an immediate bearing on postseason standings. If Atlanta plays Texas, as it does this coming weekend, nobody benefits.

In fact, for every “good” interleague game, such as intracity rivalries in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, there are a dozen frivolous ones.

The entire interleague concept was designed to reduce travel time and expense but has done exactly the opposite. Players, coaches, and managers detest two-game series but now there are more of them — especially the “hone and home” variety that has cropped up over the past few years — than ever before.

Let the Mets and Yanks resurrect the Mayor’s Trophy Game, the Cubs and White Sox play their City Series, the Dodgers and Angels meet in the Freeway Series, and the Giants and A’s play for the “championship” of the Bay Area. But let those games take place at the end of spring training, not in the middle of the season.

Rob Manfred would do well to kill interleague play

Rob Manfred would do well to kill interleague play

Dumping interleague play should be the first priority of new commissioner Rob Manfred. He’ll have lots of other issues on his plate too, from killing the designated hitter to ending the practice of awarding World Series home-field advantage to the All-Star Game winner. Getting rid of the second wild-card, if not both wild-cards, would be a wonderful improvement too. Ten teams in the postseason is way too many, especially considering that four of them (the wild cards) are not championship teams.

Starting games sooner, speeding up their pace, and truly making the game family-friendly would also help MLB emerge from the record-ruining scourge caused by rampant steroids abuse. At least writers voting for the Hall of Fame have been wise enough to bypass stars suspected of cheating.

Elsewhere around the majors:

The inspired Kansas City Royals credit their resurgence to a clubhouse speech by 42-year-old Raul Ibanez, a participant in 44 postseason games, on July 22. Eight games behind Detroit on that date, Kansas City surged into first place August 11 and became a serious contender to reach the postseason for the time since 1985 . . .

Former MVP Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) faces surgery to repair his injury left hand but Boston wants be sure he’s fully recovered well before spring training . . .

Injured Dustin Pedroia won't play again in 2014 Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Injured Dustin Pedroia won’t play again in 2014.
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

 

Also down for the count are switch-hitting slugger Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), nursing a broken pinky on his right hand, and former All-Star third baseman David Wright (Mets), whose shoulder problems held him to a .269 average with eight homers and 63 RBI this season . . .

Josh Beckett (Dodgers) has a torn labrum and lesion in his hip but might not come back next year after completing a four-year, $68 million contract extension . . .

Yankees set-up man Dellin Betances has broken Mariano Rivera’s club record for strikeouts by a reliever in one season . . .

The first Zoilo in the majors since Zoilo Versalles played shortstop for Minnesota in the ’60s, Zoilo Almonte might not be back after the Yankees outrighted him in Triple-A at the ripe old age of 25 . . .

Almost unbeatable last year, Koji Uehara (Red Sox) was so bad lately that he lost his closer job in the Boston bullpen to Edward Mujica . . .

Closers who could flood the free-agent market this fall include Casey Janssen, Sergio Romo, Rafael Soriano, Francisco Rodriguez, David Robertson, J.J. Putz, Jason Grilli, and Uehara . . .

Yankees closer David Robertson will be a free agent this fall

Yankees closer David Robertson will be a free agent this fall.

Jered Weaver (Angels) surprised by becoming the first American Leaguer with 16 wins . . .

Former umpire Al Clark strongly disagrees with MLB’s imposition of new rules regarding home-plate collisions . . .

A bigger surprise was the Baltimore Orioles building a 10-game bulge in the AL East before mid-September even though Chris Davis had twice as many home runs last year . . .

Hats off to the St. Louis Cardinals, who not only knocked the Milwaukee Brewers out of the NL Central lead but also allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates to pass the skidding Brew Crew . . .

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers halted the advance of the Oakland A’s in the AL West Monday by tying the game with a ninth-inning homer and winning it with another shot in the twelfth . . .

The New York Mets, not exactly thrilled with kid catcher Travis d’Arnaud, will look at Kevin Plawecki during 2015 spring training . . .

Craig Kimbrel is pretty much of a sure thing when he tries to save a game

Craig Kimbrel is pretty much of a sure thing when he tries to save a game

Craig Kimbrel (Braves) is the only closer in major-league history to save at least 40 games in each of his first four seasons . . .

Atlanta failed to defend its NL East title because of an unexpected power shortage. After leading the NL with 181 homers last year, the team managed only 116 through Tuesday.

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.

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