Friday, May 20, 2005

Interleague Play Begins!

Major League Baseball’s interleague-play starts up again today, making it eight straight year for Selig’s schedule wrinkle. Only one game, Rockies v. Pirates, does not involve a match-up between a team from the AL and a team from the NL. When interleague play first started, the novelty was pretty exciting. Finally, fans for teams in each league could see the star players and the top teams from the other league.

Personally, I have always had mixed feelings about interleague play. While I find the regional rivalries interesting, I always thought that segregated league-play added much more mystique to the World Series and to baseball in general when the teams did not play each other the rest of the season. Unlike other sports where there were “conferences” which did little but differentiate the playoffs, baseball had both different rules and separate play in each of its leagues.

My reservations about it aside, the clear problem with interleague play is the lack of natural regional rivals for many of the teams in the league. It has become worse since the Expos moved from Montreal to become the Washington Nationals. While this year’s schedule has not accommodated this change, the relocation ends two major natural rivalries for interleague play. How? Well now the Philies and the Orioles is broken up in favor of the Orioles and the Nationals. Toronto no longer has a Canadian team to compete against. The Blue Jays and the Phillies will not be alone without a natural rival as you can see in my break down.

Natural Interleague Rivalries:

AL East/NL East:
Devil Rays/ Marlins

Left Out in Cold: Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox and Phillies

AL Central/NL Central:

Cubs/White Sox

Left Out in Cold: Pirates, Tigers

**Out of Division Rivalry:
Astros (NL Central) and Rangers (NL West)**

AL West/NL West:

Left out in Cold: Rockies and Marinners

| << Home