What's the deal with the new interleague schedule?
And now, with 15 teams in each league, a year-round interleague schedule is a necessity. I don't mean to sound like one of those people that reminisces about the old days every time Facebook changes a feature, but this baseball, a game defined by its history and records.
I don't resent the fact that the game has changed over the years; the curveball, lights for night games, the DH, and instant replay all had their fair share of criticism but were necessary in the development and modernization of the sport.
I just don't see the point of interleague play.
Is the point to make a level playing field where every team competes in the same way? If that's the case, we need to get rid of the DH (or implement it in the NL), force uniformity with regards to ballpark dimensions, and create a salary cap. None of those things are going to happen any time soon.
It seems that the best explanation for instituting this year-round interleague schedule is that it was the least upsetting way to solve the problem of having an odd number of teams in each league. It is a relatively small change compared to eliminating divisions, expansion, or any other large-scale solutions.
My fear is that this was a first step towards a larger goal of creating uniformity between the two leagues. That in a couple more years, we'll go from one interleague game a night to three and before you know it there will be no more distinction between the two leagues.
That distinction that exists within the sport is one of baseball's most interesting and unique qualities. No other sport has anything like it. That's what makes the All-Star game novel (they used to have two All-Star games a year but it diluted the product so they switched back to just having one).
The difference between leagues is also what makes the World Series so unique in sports. The fact that each league has its own specific style and that strategies have to change when they play each other make their rare meetings that much more fascinating.
The counterargument is that this change was a tidy way to even out the divisions and by introducing fans and teams to new markets, it breaks the monotony of a long season and pits teams against teams that they never would've played otherwise.
Tonight, for example, the Dodgers will be in Baltimore to face the Orioles. Orioles fans don't get a chance to see Matt Kemp so they're slightly more likely to watch the game. That may be true, but fans of the other 14 NL teams like to watch Matt Kemp too.