20 May 2011
Hey, it’s time to play the Mets! That’s right, once again our two teams will face each other in a battle for bragging rights of NYC. The initial series will be this weekend in the Bronx with the deciding series in Queens….
Ok, I have to stop and admit that I just don’t care about these games anymore. In fact, I really don’t care about seeing the National League play the American League in the regular season anymore. This was a cool idea in 1997. Now it is getting really tired. We have seen about every scenario possible that baseball fans want to see and with the Cubs going to Fenway this weekend and the Yankees going to Wrigley in June about the only one left is for the Dodgers to come to Yankee Stadium. We’ve seen everything else! With 18 games against the NL, things get pretty repetitive over time and after 14 years we have reached that point. It’s time to change the format, to use the approach of “less is more”. It’s time to cut interleague down to two series, six games total.
Let’s make one of the series the “rivalry” series so we would still have Yankees-Mets, A’s-Giants, White Sox-Cubs, etc.. But, in areas where both teams play in the same city (or within 20 miles of each other, let’s alternate the games. So in 2012 we could have Game 1 of the Yankees-Mets series in Yankee Stadium, Game 2 at Citi Field and Game 3 back at Yankee Stadium. Flip that in 2013. It won’t increase the travel costs and it might provide a little extra juice to the whole thing.
For the second series, let’s use baseball history to create some interesting matchups. For instance, wouldn’t it be neat if the two teams in the World Series played each other automatically the next year? Obviously, you would have to go further than that, so how about the two teams that lost in the ALCS and NLCS facing off? You could do things like teams going back to the cities they left. So the Brewers go to Seattle, Minnesota heads to Washington, etc.. Mine through baseball history enough and you could make a compelling matchup most years using previous World Series, etc. Anything to get away from the current tedium of interleague.
There is also a fairness factor in all of this. 18 games represents over 11% of the schedule. Some teams in the AL East will have tough interleague opponents this year, some will have easier ones. Is that a fair way to determine the best team in the East? I think not and I hope baseball does something to change things. Then again, maybe I am missing the intrigue of tonight’s Houston-Toronto matchup.