This weekend begins the annual fest of AL teams playing NL teams. There was one Interleague Series Weekend in late May, but the real “fun” begins today. Frankly, I hate it. This could be because I live in Chicago and the White Sox play the Cubs in 2 series. When Interleague started, it was to help drum interest in the game because attendance was down and fans were going to the park. In cities that do not have 2 teams, it is a good way to see how the other league plays ball. If you live in a city with 2 teams or teams that are very close that are in different leagues (San Francisco, Oakland), you can easily see how the other league plays if you are inclined to watch.
Personally, I think this doesn’t work because if I see an NL team playing at US Cellular Field against the White Sox, I don’t really see how that team REALLY plays. I see an NL team attempting to play the AL game. This is not interesting to me. Additionally, I really do not like seeing the white sox cubs series (aka the crosstown classic). The games are horrible to go to because passions run so ridiculously high and the fans are beyond ridiculous behaving. Behavior is so bad that the games are generally during the day, except the last couple of years, ESPN has taken a few games and this year, FOX is taking one of the games for primetime as well as ESPN taking a game for the sunday night broadcast. The last of these games I went to was in 2006 and it was the game when AJ Pierzynski got into a fight with Michael Barrett. It was bad and then I decided the best use of my tickets for those games was to sell them.
Another reason I hate interleague is because of effect it has on the schedule and potential playoff implications because of the number of wins a eam will get. Because the powers that be think these so-called “natural geographic rivalries” (mets-yankees; cubs-whitesox; dodgers-angels; giants-a’s) need to see each other so much, it forces other teams to play teams that they probably shouldn’t. For instance, the Philadelphia Phillies might end up playing the Baltimore Orioles 6 times. No offense to the Orioles, but they are a bad team and it would result in 6 relatively easy wins for Philadelphia. However, the Atlanta Braves might have to play the Boston Red Sox 6 times as well. This could result in 6 losses for Atlanta. Obviously, those 6 losses would have a huge effect since the Phillies and Braves are in the SAME DIVISION. And the Braves might not get to play an opponent that many times resulting in 6 easy wins to balance things out due to the way scheduling is in baseball where it is division weighted (i.e., playing the teams in your division more than in other divisions). If it came down to the end of the season that those 6 wins / losses respectively made a difference, how is that really fair? (and I know life is not fair). I can’t say I have an answer for this, but it is something that at times can be annoying. Not to mention that for the 5th straight year, I have to see a White Sox – Pirates game and no offense, bu the Pirates are a bad team and I don’t need more bad piled on more bad. The White Sox are terrible now.
If MLB really feels the need to keep interleague around, then the least they could do is change the rules so that the game is played with the visiting team’s league rules. Then you would really see how an NL team plays baseball instead of watching them try to play with AL rules. I’m not the only one who’d like to see this. Bob Costas and Alyssa Milano would also like to see interleague played this way as well. Not to mention, it would be fun to see an AL team playing NL ball and not just when it is in an NL ballpark for the World Series (i don’t count the all-star game because i have issues with the all-star game; another post for another day).