|Point-Counterpoint - Interleague Format||| Print ||
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on June 21, 2008
Because of the disparate number of teams in both leagues, interleague play is a little quirky. Teams within one division donâ€™t necessarily play the same opponents, which creates a slight imbalance in the schedule. That difference cannot be remedied unless teams play a whole bunch of interleague games.Â
The format instituted now is good for baseball. Itâ€™s a sportswriterâ€™s dream, with all the new storylines. Friday, we saw Edison Volquez shut down the powerful Yankeesâ€™ offense. The Red Sox and Cardinals met up for a re-match of the 2004 World Series. Fans in Tampa Bay saw the Astros for the first time ever, most likely. MLB is able to cycle its stars throughout several markets.Â
Interleague play was created for the fans, and itâ€™s good for them. They get to see exciting new things. Owners are happy, because they rake in extra profits. The teams shouldnâ€™t worry about it, because in the long run, their luck in interleague games will even out.Â
If you want to change interleague play because of the imbalance, then you must also look at the current schedule process for teams within a division. For example, the Braves may make their west coast road trip early in the season when the Padres and Dodgers arenâ€™t playing good baseball and avoid facing Jake Peavy and Hiroki Kuroda. The Mets may then make their trip later in the season, when both teams are a little hotter and face both of those pitchers. They played the same schedule, but things were drastically different.Â
The MLB schedule is so long that luck should even out over the long haul.
Interleague Format is Bad
Iâ€™m still not sold on the interleague format.Â Yes, I enjoy most of the real natural rivalries New York v. New York, Chicago v. Chicago, LA v. LA, and even a few of the artificial ones like Boston and Atlanta but I have some problems with the rest of the schedule.Â
Does lining the Yankees up against Pittsburgh, San Diego and Cincinnati seem like it serves any purpose other than fattening up the Yankeesâ€™ record?Â Is that fair that some teams (in this example the Yankees) get the soft underbelly of the NL while other teams match up against the best of the NL in teams like Philly, Chicago and Arizona?Â Â And that applies to the NL, too. Matching up against the weak sisters like KC, Seattle and Baltimore is a blessing while the tough Red Sox, Rays, White Sox, or Angels could be seen as a curse.Â Â Especially if you miss the playoffs by a game or two.Â
Thatâ€™s where the real inequity of this system comes in.Â While you do have to win your games, no matter who you play, the quality of your opponents might well determine if playoff worthy team misses the postseason or not, while a lesser team gets in.Â
Interleague isnâ€™t about balance. Itâ€™s about marketing. Itâ€™s about that sellout crowd in Pittsburgh or San Diego, or Baltimore or Minnesota.Â That might be good for the game from a financial point of view as fans flock to see stars from another league. Itâ€™s pretty lousy when you are the team sitting on the sidelines in October.Â
Thatâ€™s what we call a broken format - which damages the equality of the game.