Stop Hating On Interleague Play

Every year, we're subjected to another round of people bashing on interleague play, one of Bud Selig's few solid ideas since he hijacked the commissioner post from Fay Vincent all those years ago.

It's no different this year, the tenth anniversary of interleague play, as people are now more frequently questioning whether or not it's "fair."
Yeah, there was actually an article in SI this week about the "fairness" of interleague play since a team like the Mets has to play a tough series of interleague games while the Brewers play a group from the AL with slightly lesser records. Well, now, wait a minute. With the imbalanced schedule in place in recent years, haven't the Yankees and Red Sox had a nice advantage in getting to pound on the Devil Rays and Orioles 19 times each per season? Is that not fair? I mean, since, lately, the AL Central has been so good and they only have one team to pound on (the Royals)?

The fact is, interleague play is a good thing for baseball. It gets the fans even more into the game, right as the summer is approaching. And it gets the fans talking about baseball for reasons other than A) steroids, B) what a jerk Barry Bonds is, or C) huge home runs.

This complaint about fairness is a switch from the old Lupica-esque complaint, which was that it matched up teams like the Royals and the Pirates and, whoo, isn't that fun. He would never fail to make this asinine point on The Sports Reporters each year and then laugh uproariously at himself. Yes, yes, we get it Mike, nobody is longing to see the Devil Rays and Nationals face off. But couldn't you also argue that nobody is longing to see the Devil Rays and the Royals face off, either? And they're in the same league, you traditionalist!

Interleague play provides some excitement, whether those who hate it want to admit it or not. Sure, there are a bunch of games with no more excitement than any other regular season game. But then there are matchups like the Mets-Yanks, Cubs-Sox and Dodgers-Angels series where people actually do care, since their next-door neighbor or co-worker could very well be a fan of the other team. And not just a passing fan since they're both considered local teams.

This weekend, co-author Tim and I will be among a group attending the Cleveland-Cinci (Battle of Ohio!) game on Saturday night at Jacobs Field. Stop by Section 103 to say hi if you want. Or, if you're one of our haters... don't.

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