I swear interleague play gets underway earlier every year, and this weekend is the first of several of the usual AL-NL match-ups throughout the season that, at least for me, have done less to actually make the game exciting than originally proposed, although these crosstown rivalries appear to be enough to sell out tickets each year (at least in New York and the L.A. area, Chicago doesn’t have its White Sox-Cubs series this weekend.)
I dislike it because it runs up two different types of ball against each other outside of the World Series and the All-Star Game, and you inevitably run up against one team with a much, much easier interleague schedule than the others. The AL East will be feasting upon the NL Central this year — and while this post from Home Run Derby earlier this year illustrate the Cubs not having to play the Red Sox or the Yankees, at this point, they’re not the front-runners (the site’s Interleague category provides all the match-ups.)
I dislike interleague more and more because of the uneven number of teams in both leagues screwing up the schedule, screwing over some teams in terms of competitiveness (pity the Padres, who are stuck playing some very strong AL opponents and they’re already down on their luck.) It robs the novelty of the World Series a bit too, although it’s not like the All-Star Game hasn’t done that either. The Subway Series in 2001 was something special between the Yankees and the Mets, even if it wasn’t much of a contest. Now, the Yankees and Mets play a home-and-home every season. Yawn.
But the uneven scheduling is what makes this the worst, because the White Sox must play six against the Cubs; the Mets gotta play the Yanks six times; Angels six against the Dodgers; Cards play six against the Royals; you know the drill. It won’t work until there’s a re-alignment and one of the NL Central’s six teams is moved to the AL. Bud Selig should fall on his sword and send his Brewers back to their AL roots; failing that, maybe ship out the Pirates to the junior circuit. Regardless, Kansas City will then have to go to the AL West and give that a five-team division. Until then, there will be squabbling and disputes over who got screwed when the two leagues mix.