Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Iceberg That Is Interleague Play Nears On The Horizon

Don't look now, but here comes interleague play, or as mlb.com says, "Interleague's return promises exciting weekend." Look, MLB is PROMISING excitement! As they put it:

The 15th season of Interleague Play between the American League and National League gets under way this weekend, and you know what that means -- giant crowds, school's-out fun, traditional AL dominance, ideal weather, Albert Pujols' hot bat and eye-popping matchups.

I should note that of those six listed factors, interleague play only accounts for one, maybe two of them (AL dominance and arguably the crowds (though we'll see, this year)). And of course, they pimp Cubs at Red Sox as the marquee matchup, which traditionalists would at the very least find an interesting novelty.

But their next two interleague highlights are Astros at Blue Jays and Cardinals @ Orioles. Huh? THOSE are the two matchups you're shilling? (And according to my records, it's the Nationals who are at Baltimore this weekend; the Cardinals are playing in Kansas City, and don't go to Baltimore until next month.)

So let's see what IS on tap this weekend. Aside from the rivalry games (Reds @ Indians, Mets @ Yankees, Rays @ Marlins, and A's at Giants), there ain't much else. Rangers @ Phillies might be interesting. The Dodgers, playing at Comiskey Park: not so compelling.

And certainly not worth the tradeoff of these stupid two-game "series" we've had with the Brewers and Giants this week.

You know who else is getting tired of interleague play? Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who says "it has run its course":

The appeal of interleague play, Leyland said, "has worn off for me. It was a brilliant idea to start with, but it has run its course."

He knows that higher-ups, such as his good friend Commissioner Bud Selig, won't want to hear it, but Leyland spoke his mind all the same.

"I'll probably get chewed out for (saying) it," he said, "but I think a lot of people feel the same way."

What prompted Leyland to rail against interleague play before it begins this season isn't the three-game series the Tigers will play in Pittsburgh this coming weekend. That's harmless enough.

"For three games, that's OK," he said.

But he takes issue with the back-to-back road series the Tigers will play in Colorado, then against the Los Angeles Dodgers next month.

Leyland said it's "ridiculous" and "totally unfair" for an American League club to have to play consecutive series in National League ballparks.

"And that you can quote me on," he said. "They ought to look into it." [...]

Leyland added: "It has run its course. I just don't like it. First of all, at some point we have to get baseball back to the same set of rules. I don't know why more people don't talk about it. No other sport plays different rules (regarding the DH).

"I don't care what they do. Whatever way they go is fine with me, but the rules should be the same."

Don't even get me started on the DH, by the way.

9 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

(re-arranges deck chairs)

Dusty Baker said...

Cards at Orioles? Come on, that can be fun. Bird versus bird. They should have all the teams who have birds as part of their name play each other in a mini-tourney.

Except I guess the only other team would be the Blue Jays. It would be a very mini tourney, indeed.

Steve Sax said...

Cards @ Orioles doesn't even happen for another month, so I don't know what that writer was thinking

rbnlaw said...

Best argument for the DH: Hiroki Kuroda.

Case closed, and I hate the DH.

Spank said...

So basically Leyland is butt hurt because the Tigers are on the road for interleague play this season.

Keep crying,Jim.

rbnlaw said...

And we play the ChiSox yet again. When do we get to face the Royals?


(cries)

Josh S. said...

rbnlaw: Ted Lilly would be point two in the argument in favor of the DH.

MR.F said...

Leyland sure complains a lot.

Jason said...

I believe James Loney would be point infinity in favor of a positional DH.