Old fogey Keitho rebuts interleague comment
Posted by keithosaunders on July 4, 2011
A couple of days ago I posted about my antipathy of interleague play. I received this comment from Chris:
An absolutely awful analysis of interleague play IMHO. You fail to cite the reasons why you dislike interleague play in detail when the majority of baseball fans like myself love it. Sure NY fans like myself love playing the enemy in our home park which is great for bragging rights but you fail to take in to account that this is just a game. Stop being so serious, baseball is entertainment. MLB players love interleague play as well. Although free agency has destroyed some of the luster and the high number of teams hurts the competitive feel, on any given day I rather watch my Mets play the Angels for the first time in like 4 years than watch us play the dreadful Nationals every year. Interleague baseball is good publicity, good for business which in turn is great for baseball. The NY Mets sold out the three games series against the Yankees at Citi Field which was only the 4 sellout for them this year. It was great to watch them score all those runs against the Tigers and play by AL rules allowing the DH. Interleague is far from being a problem in baseball its actually alot closer to being a cure. THe real problems with baseball start with parity. NO payroll limits allows teams like the rED SOX AND YANKEES compete every year on payrolls hovering around 200 million. Baseball needs a salary cap. No way can small market teams can realistically compete for the WS. Baseball is a sport of greed and the lack of a salary cap kills the fun. I am so sick and tired of seeing the same teams in the playoffs year after year. The rich also seem to get richer. So instead of worrying so much about interleague play how about we get to the root of the problem.
Back in the 1970s, with the addition of division play, the schedules — at least in the National League where there were 12 teams — had symmetry. The teams played their divisional opponents 18 times, and the teams in the other division 12 times. This way, if you missed Willie Stargel and the Pirates the first time around in May, the chances were you could catch him in August. You became intimately familiar with the teams in your league, and there were certain teams that you looked forward to seeing. This year the A’s played the Redsox twice in Oakland. If you were a Redsox fan living in Oakland and missed them in that midweek series in May, then you were out of luck for 2011.
In the old days, a National league fan such as myself was pretty much unfamiliar with the Junior Circuit. This lent the A.L. teams an air of mystery. Consequently, by the time the Series rolled around you were pumped to see whatever team made it. It was a true novelty to see the Redsox and Reds square off in 1975, or the Athletics and Mets in 1973. If the A’s and Mets were to meet in this year’s series, it would be no great novelty, although it would be great for me since I’m a Mets fan who is transplanted in the East Bay, 10 miles from Oakland.
The Yankees and Mets played the subway Series in 2000, which was great for New York, even if it was not so great for the Mets fan. (don’t get me started on that bum, Clemens) How much greater would it have been had these teams not already played a half-dozen or so interleague series. Incidentally, the 2000 Series, up to that point, was the lowest rated World Series of all time.
If the country at large didn’t think the Mets-Yankees World Series was anything special, why would they care that much about regular season games. On the contrary, I know some out-of-state fans that are resentful of having New York baseball shoved down their throats every Sunday of interleague play. The same goes for the Freeway or Bay Bridge series. I watched Dodgers-Angels last night and believe me, the adrenalin was not flowing.
Finally, the All Star game used to be one of the great mid-season events. I would look forward to it for weeks, wondering how Steve Carlton would face Jim Rice, or if Dave Parker could hit Ron Guidry. Now….who cares? Apparently not many, as baseball had to come up with gimmicks such as home run derby and Series home field implications in attempts to gin up interest.
I’m pretty certain that the crux of Chris and my disagreement has a lot to do with a generation gap. I am nostalgic for the way baseball was played in my youth, and Chris made some valid points about the benefits of interleague play. I stand by my opinion — I want my National League baseball during the regular season. If I want to see the American League there is always the Oakland As.