Monday, June 30, 2008
Even though I like interleague play, it is too long and unbalanced. Here is a plan to alleviate the two issues.
1) Eliminate the May interleague series. I don’t see any value in the Brewers coming to Fenway in May when the rest of interleague occurs in June. Even the “natural rival” series’ seem out of place like the weird Aunt or Uncle at the family reunion.
2) Schedule all interleague games the two weeks prior to the All-Star Game. The fourteen days would act as a warm up to help reignite the past popularity of the ASG. It would also give more casual fans something to look forward to or hook them into MLB, after the NBA and NHL Champs have been crowded.
3) Every team in the same Division plays the same other League opponents to reduce the unbalanced nature of schedule against Division rivals. It would be a more even playing field for three out of the four playoff spots.
When the clubs take on their same Division in the other League, the “natural rivals” would play six times and the take on the other foes in two game series. Those clubs without “natural rivals” would play a three game series. For example, the MFY play the Mets six times, the Marlins, Nats, Phillies, and Braves twice for a total of fourteen games in as many days. Travel should not be an issue since clubs are staying in the same time zone and have the Break coming up. A non-natural rival example, the Sox would play the Phillies and Braves each three times, the Marlins, Nats, and Mets each twice.
When the clubs take on another division, the change would be to start interleague play three days earlier for an additional series. Using the same example, the MFY still play the Mets six times but now with four home games between their home-and-away. After the last “natural rival” series, the clubs would have a travel day. As for non-natural rival club example, the Sox would play the Phillies and Braves each three times instead of the “natural rival” home-and-away.
It is not perfectly balanced but it is better than whatever we have now, without reducing the number or revenue from the “natural rival” games. The larger opportunity is condensing interleague play into roughly the two weeks right before the Mid-Summer Classic to assist in promoting the Game. MLB needs to stir up the old League rivalries because the Game is a joke like all the other All-Star Games. Let’s bring back the Mid-Summer Classic!