Interleague Play: It's good but could be better

With Interleague Play wrapped up, I thought I would share a few of my thoughts. I’m in one of those metro areas where cross-town rivals play six games against each other. That’s too many as far as I am concerned. I’m a Yankee fan who does not possess a real dislike for the Mets, and the appeal of this matchup has worn thin: In some series, the Yanks win two out of three, in others the Mets do. Big deal. A season series against the Mets is akin to one against an AL West or Central team—a team you know you will see on the schedule a couple of times a year. Yes, there is extra energy in the crowd with fans of both teams well represented, but I say so what. I was just as excited about the Phillies and Astros coming to town. I wonder how fans in Chicago, the Bay area, along I-70 in Missouri, etc, feel.

I was especially intrigued by many of the pairings this year, if for no other reason than their uniqueness. Royals–Cardinals has a very familiar ring to it, but Royals–Braves!? I can’t remember the last time I thought of those two teams at the same time. Similarly, how often do the Blue Jays and Padres get to mix it up? Then there was the Twins vs Phillies, a series we may have seen last October had a few calls in playoff games gone another way. I say, keep these rarer matchups coming!

The Interleague scheduling is imperfect—it can’t be when one league has a DH and another doesn’t (just ask Chien-Ming Wang, or I suppose any NL manager who doesn't have that extra batter on his roster), or when one League has two more teams than the other. But, just like the NFL schedule is set up each season so that every team in one Division plays every team in a Division of the opposing Conference, with no regard at all for an annual matchup between the Giants and Jets (or Rams–Chiefs or 49ers–Raiders), I would like to see MLB spread the games around more and not force certain teams to play each other so often.

I feel that with such a finite number of Interleague games no two teams should face each other more than three times. It gives fans more of a chance at seeing certain teams and special players: Next year, will the Yankees lose a chance at facing Strasburg because the schedule makers have to shoe-horn a second Yanks–Mets series together and skip one against the Nationals? Finally, consider the following. The Yankees took two out of three from the Dodgers: Cool. Before this series, though, the Diamondbacks took two out of three from the Yankees: Bummer. The Yanks and Mets split their six games: So what. When it’s just three games, there is always a winner and loser to the series.


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