Thoughts on Interleague Play

We’re finishing up this year’s inter-league schedule this week on the road.  While the Twins haven’t had the success this year that they enjoyed last year against the National League teams, it should give Twins fans a chance to reflect on the concept and ponder any modifications that can be made if it’s going to continue at all. First, it’ll be here for better or worse.  Baseball doesn’t adopt ideas into the system only to disown them later…witness the designated hitter, perhaps the subject of a future blog.

When baseball started interleague play, it was done so to spark fan interest and increase ticket sales and media ratings.  By and large, it’s done all that.  While the novelty of it has worn off, there still is heightened fan interest in a Cubs/White Sox series than a Royals/White Sox series.  But baseball made a big blunder in playing the games by the home team’s rules.  If you’re going to blur the distinction between the leagues by playing the games in the first place, why not give the fans a sample of how the games are played in the other league.  If the concept was designed for the fans in the first place, give them the novelty of watching their pitchers hit or their top pinch-hitter hit as the designated hitter.  It would be a simple fix and one that is long overdue.  People live in houses for ten years and then remodel.  Consider this a ten year tuneup or remodeling of an idea that could use a little shot in the arm.

The other modification would further complicate the scheduling.  Somehow, you have to maintain the integrity of a division race by having teams in the same division play the same inter-league schedule as much as possible.  The New York Mets have to play the Yankees in two series and the other three AL playoff teams from a year ago AND the Angels, the team with the second best record in the American League.  The Phillies have a much easier schedule playing only two teams with winning records.  As I blog, the Phillies are just two games behind the Mets in the NL East.  By season’s end, the division might be decided not by who had the better team but, rather, by the whimsy of the schedule makers.  While the Mets were facing the defending AL champion Tigers last week, the Phillies were playing the Royals.  Seem fair to you?  No one here can muster any sympathy for any large market team, but fairness shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to deciding a championship.  There are enough uneven playing fields in our game…this is one that should be eliminated.

On the whole, I like interleague play.  It gave Atlanta fans in the Upper Midwest a chance to see their team in person.  As we forge ahead, the concept is like any other.  It can be tinkered with and made even better.An interesting interleague note as we watch our Twins pitchers hit this week.  The Twins are one of five American League teams whose pitchers have not hit a homerun in interleague play.  The Yankees, Angels, A’s and Mariners haven’t had a pitcher hit one out either.  Who do YOU think will hit the first Twins pitcher homerun in interleague play?  My money’s on Johan.

**** Bremer
Twins TV play-by-play


I think your idea of using the DH in National League parks during interleague play is fantastic. I’m sure Twins fans would love to see Johan Santana at bat. (Maybe after his recent exploits he’ll be used as a pinch hitter!)

I’m not a fan of interleague play, mostly because of the unbalanced way it gets scheduled. In addition to the potential problem you mentioned in your blog, it could also mess up the wild card race (which is already messed up because of the unbalanced intraleague schedule.

Unfortunately, these games draw more than intraleague games do on average, so they’re here to stay. The only truly fair way to have four playoff teams is to have a completely balanced schedule without any interleague play, or two go back to having two divisions.

I’m also not a fan of interleague play. I do like the unbalanced schedule within the league, however, if you’re going to shuffle the teams you play interleague and still have a wild card–you really need to just have one standing and the top four teams enter the playoffs. Just my opinion.

As a fan, I love intraleague play because I have the chance to watch the Twins play against teams that you would never see in straight league play. As for the DH, they need to either get rid of it or add it to both leagues … they need to be the same. It’s like letting the AFC use 12 players during the regular season. (I would prefer to see the DH gone, espcially when you get people like David Ortiz being selected to the All-Star game at a position that he doesn’t play .. that’s just not fair to the guys who are playing both ways all season long. Sure, it’s impressive to hit 50 HR in a year, but if he were to play a position all season long you can bet that number would be lower. So now he’s a great hitter, but not a great baseball player … that just isn’t right).

I’ve started a petition to tell Major League Baseball that a significant number of fans dislike interleague play and want it abolished.

Please visit Petition to End Interleague Play and read it. If you agree, please sign it and consider posting it on your blog and any message boards or forums that you visit.

I’m hoping to spread the word among serious baseball fans. I realize it may do very little, but I thought it was time we stop complaining to each other and tell management how we feel. Thanks!

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