Friday, May 25, 2007

Buy or Sell: Interleague play

We've really been hitting the NBA hard on TSF so I want to spell you readers a bit with some baseball banter. Although I have an idea on the NBA I'm gunna cut you a little break. Buy or we go.

Interleague play is great right? I mean who doesn't love to see the Mets vs, Yanks, Braves vs. Red Sox, and the Angels vs. the Dodgers? But interleague play is definately not fair and I'm not a fan.

As a Brewers fan our "Big" interleague foes are the Twins. Ok, so I consider the Cubs to be rivals and our relationship to the Twins to be something secondary to that. However, I do understand that there are those few great rivalries that I named above which are indeed great for the game. They're wonderfully entertaining matchups and get great attendence. But, the bottomline is that Interleague play messes with records, scheduals, and playoff races. That's why I'm selling interleague play.

Case and Point: The Braves have to play six games against the AL East-leading Red Sox, plus have series against the Tigers, Twins and Indians. In fairness, the Mets have six with the Yankees as well as series against Tigers, Twins and A’s, all four Al 2006 playoff teams, while the Phillies get series against the Royals, Blue Jays, White Sox, Indians and Tigers. Because the Braves have to play the Mets, they have the toughest strength of schedule of any team in baseball; the Mets, unable to play themselves are stuck with the third toughest schedule. In theory. Since the Mets were the best team in the National League, playoffs notwithstanding, they should have the toughest schedule!

"I don't think there's any question it’s not fair, but I don't think Major League Baseball is concerned with fair. If you play the top teams in the American League and everybody else doesn't, it's pretty unfair. If we're going to play the American League Central, everybody has to play all the teams in the American League Central. This split-it-up and we have to play our rival in the American League East stuff, I don't get it. It's unfair for us and the Mets on a year-in, year-out basis to have to play the Yankees and Red Sox when other teams don't.” - Chipper Jones

Yea, and I agree with that too. The NFL finds a way for the worst teams to have easier schedules and I think MLB needs to figure out a way to do this with interleague play. That way maybe they could come a little close to creating some parity in who is contending for the playoffs at the end of the season.

When it comes to interleague play I strongly believe that last place teams should get to play other last place teams and those of similar winning %'s. Either that or maybe there would be a way they could figure it out by payroll (before you kill me on that one it's just an alternative idea). If you don't do that at the very least take Chippers' advice and set it up so every team in the AL East plays every team in the division and not just the Mets and Braves. That would at least begin to even out the divisional races.

It's the whole newly added wrinkle that requires teams to play so-called regional rivals in home-and-home series each season, such as Braves-Red Sox, Yankees-Mets and Angels-Dodgers that makes Chipper mad. I can't blame him. Interleague play is unfair and baseball knows it. But these series, we'll call them "the Big 3" are here for bigtime ratings and bigtime $$$. I would love to sit here at my keyboard and just continue to put interleague play to death but I want to tell you this right now: Interleague play isn't going anywhere and I don't think that MLB has the desire or cares enough to make the changes necessary to make it fair. So, as a result I'll just have to keep on hating Interleague play.

I'm going to leave you with this amazing quote in regards to interleague play. Read it, soak it in, and take it to heart because this is truly wonderful writing.

“Like most sensible people, I hate interleague play. I can describe this hatred, but to explain it would be to do violence to the depth of my contempt for a misbegotten, half-animate monstrosity.

The distinctive and unique qualities of the World Series are gone because of interleague play, as is much of the prestige of winning the World Championship. Interleague play, though, is not to be scorned because it has evil effects. Its evil is fundamental to its nature. By its existence alone, interleague play marks out the rest of the schedule as unworthy of notice — filled with meaningless games of little consequence, mere preludes to the garish spectacles on offer at the beginning and midpoint of summer.

The slow, comfortable rhythm and routine of the long season, into which we should just now be settling as May winds into its final days, is suddenly broken; the charms of small games against minor teams give sudden, abrupt way to games of apocalyptic consequence.

- Tim Marchman- NY Sun

Are you buying or selling Interleague play and why?


TheNaturalMevs said...

Good take Gritty. I'm buying Interleague play in a big way. I think that it's a great thing for the fans and if anything the interleague amount of games should be increased. I mean I could do with a few less Pirates-Cubs or Reds-Astros matchups, as well as Indians-Royals and a few more Indians-Dodgers or Yankees-Reds or Brewers-Anaheim Angels you know? If anything they should cut down on the inter-division 18 or so games rule and let these guys have some variance in their opponents, just a touch for interleague maybe but perhaps a few more inter division instead of one home, one away.

I like inter-league because when other then the World Series (and neither of my teams have to worry about the fall classic) would you get to see Grady Sizemore face up against the Cardinals or Adam Dunn against the Yankees? It's great.

stephen a said...

I personally don't mind it. And if Chipper thinks it's unfair, maybe the Braves shouldn't lose to the Nationals. In a 162 game season teams have plenty of time to make up for the "unfairness" of interleague play. Plus MLB is a business and it increases ticket sales, although when the Nats come to the Metrodome I can't see too many people buying tickets...

Blue Viking Devil said...

Not to get off subject but I hear your boy Ryan Braun is moving to the bigs. Are you excited?

Mini Me said...

I hate it cause I don't think that pitchers should ever have to hit. Who wants to watch easy outs?

Blue Viking Devil said...

The Brew Crew and Twinkies do have the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry and they did play in the AL Central together for 5 years in the mid-90's so that "rivalry" does have some history.

I like interleague play, but I wonder if they couldn't make it 2 leagues with 15 teams each and figure out some type of schedule that makes it similar to the NFL with matchups etc. (I know the problem with the 15 teams and days off, etc) but there has to be some math man out there that could figure out some schedule.

Here would be my proposed realignment

Keep everything the same just move the Houston Astros to the AL West.

grittysquirrels said...

Ok, I'm not saying that I hate the idea of it because I did mention the boost in ticket sales and some of the great matchups. I do acknowledge the Twins as the Brewers best interleague rivalry but my point was it's nothing like Crew vs. Cubs

Also yes I am excited and curious on how Mr. Ryan Braun will do tonight for the Brewers. Rumor has it he will be starting at 3rd. I'm excited to see how he'll do at the plate and in the field and where they'll bat him. I was planning a little post on it last night when I got the news but decided to wait and react to his first game experience.

Finally, Look my whole point is that it is unfair. It generates revenue and ticket sales but is indeed unfair. Baseball needs fair. Steroids is a HUGE problem. The whole DH or no DH thing is a problem both in interleague play and in the league frankly that I didn't even touch on in this post. They need to uniform that. The point is I think they can still get the ticket sales up and you can still get the great matchups by doing things a much more fair way (those of which I mentioned).

twins15 said...

I'll buy it because it's interesting. Is it really fair? No. But honestly, I'd rather watch something that's a little more interesting (which interleague play is for me and most baseball fans, judging by attendance numbers) than have total fairness.

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