You can call me a baseball traditionalist, I suppose. Most of the time, that particular broad-sweeping label is accurate.
I’m just not a big fan of interleague play. So I’m glad the Twins can return to facing American League opponents this week.
Fans across the country in many markets got excited about interleague play this past weekend. Many Twins fans were excited for the "Border Battle," as the Milwaukee Brewers visited Target Field.
But as exciting as it is to see players like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in person, I just don’t like interleague play.
And it seems peculiar to me that fans get so excited when the Twins play teams that they are not in direct competition with for anything. In reality, these are the most meaningless games of a 162-game schedule. The Brewers can’t beat out the Twins for a playoff spot. Neither can the Phillies or Rockies.
And for every Twins-Brewers and Yankees-Mets matchup that gets regional bases excited, there were couldn’t-be-less-interesting matchups like Blue Jays-Diamondbacks, Rockies-Royals and Marlins-White Sox. And this was on a weekend when many teams were playing their "interleague rival."
I was watching an MLB game last week of a team in the Midwest – I believe it was the St. Louis Cardinals – and one of the announcers said that in the history of interleague play, the New York Yankees had been to their ballpark just one time. The Boston Red Sox had been to their park just one time. So even though interleague play allows fans to see players they wouldn’t normally see, those fans still aren’t seeing them very often.
I also feel like interleague just helps the rich get richer. It provides intriguing cross-town matchups like Yankees-Mets, White Sox-Cubs and Angels-Dodgers. But for a lot of the mid- or small-market teams, matchups like that don’t exist. Sure, the Royals have the Cards, the Twins have the Brewers, and the A’s have the Giants. But what about the Diamondbacks or Mariners or Padres or Blue Jays or Rockies or Tigers or Pirates.
I thought the fact that the AL and NL only played each other in the All-Star Game and the World Series added something to both events. Obviously, the World Series will always have meaning. But there was a uniqueness to it that has been lost. I’m sure interleague is here to stay, but I wish it weren’t.
JOSE LIMA LINK
I was hoping Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski would supply fans with a good blog post on the death of Jose Lima,and he came through.