Friday, May 22, 2009

Interleague Play

It's that time of year again when the baseball equivalent of the volleyball switch takes place and everyone goes over to the other side. The fans seem to like interleague play if attendance is any indicator, but as Buster Olney wrote today in his blog, the players don't like it very much. As for the opinion here in the FanDome, interleague play is interesting but could be made much better by installing the DH in every game.

The Fan has come to terms with the DH thing where one league has it and one doesn't. It doesn't seem to make much sense to have two leagues with two separate sets of rules. But, peace had to be made with the thing because it isn't changing any time soon. But the question seems to beg that as much as the fans seem to dig interleague play, wouldn't National League fans rather see the best of the American League, which includes the DH?

Okay, say that the Red Sox play the Marlins. The Fan doesn't know if they do or they don't because the Fan doesn't do normal things like look at schedules. But say they do for argument sake. If David Ortiz was still David Ortiz, wouldn't it be nice for fans in Florida to see him play? And if the Red Sox do want him in the lineup (kind of hard at the moment to think they will) and stick him at first base, doesn't that move Youkilis to third and thus deprive the Marlins fans of seeing old favorite, Mike Lowell? Or wouldn't a Japanese-American in Atlanta rather see Matsui hit for the Yankees instead of Andy Pettitte?

The DH thing in interleague games that take place in National League parks puts the American League teams in jeopardy because they have to play a player out of position (if they want the normal DH in the lineup) and puts American League pitchers in a position to hurt either their egos or their ankles (like Wang last year). Ortiz hasn't played first all year, but if he was still David Ortiz, the Sox would put him on first to have him in the lineup. But that means really crappy defense at first and the danger that Ortiz, who is not in fielding shape, could hurt himself.

It just doesn't make sense. If you want to keep it for the World Series, okay. It's still stupid, but okay. But for interleague play, put the best players on the field and keep the DH geezers and wheezers where they belong and keep the pitchers safe.

American League pitchers never take batting practice during the year. They never take bunting practice. Yet for two periods of the season, they are forced to go up to the plate and look rather ludicrous. Is that a good thing for the fans? Well, perhaps if they are sadomasochistic.

It also gives the National League a chance to add a bat to the lineup. If one isn't available on the normal roster, bring up your team's best bopper in the minors and let him hit for two weeks. That's always exciting for the fans to see new talent.

Either way, if MLB wants to keep its silly duality of rules for the leagues, fine. But suspend them during the interleague play and let's make this even more fun than it already is.

P. S. Can someone clue the Fan on whether "interleague" is all one word, or two words, or a hyphenated word?

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Doesn't bother Andy Sonnanstine, that's for sure.