Major Changes to the Game of Baseball – More Interleague Play
With the recent purchase and sale of the Houston Astros, and the realignment of the Astros to the American League West in 2013, we will now have the same amount of teams in the American and National league (15 in each). This move will make it so there will be a need for interleague play all season long.
In 1997, Major League Baseball introduced interleague play (meaning when a National League team plays an American League team, and the rules of the home teams apply for the game – DH or no DH). The main reason was to allow fans to see more teams playing in their cities, allowing for more interesting rivalries, and an all around more interesting season.
I think most fans would agree this is a good thing. However, as with most things in life, too much of anything is not always better.
The factors we love about interleague baseball may be what ultimately hurts it. With the current system, teams are playing either 15 or 18 interleague games a season. However, now that the number of teams in each league is an odd number, that would be increased to probably around 30. It would be a tough pill to swallow if with 3 games to go in your season your national league team was trying to get that last wild card spot and has to go to New York to play the Yankees. Fans would not be happy if their favorite American League team had to play the last couple games without their DH because they were on the road playing a National League team. Now the fate of your season could rest on a pitcher that hasn’t swung a bat all season needing to get that big hit.
The bigger question isn’t weather fans are going to like it, it may loose a little luster, but are teams going to have to build themselves a little differently for the increase in interleague play.
Teams are built for their respective league, but maybe the increased emphasis on interleague play will force teams to prepare for their interleague opponents a little more. With the sport of baseball constantly evolving, it will be interesting to see how the schedule and interleague format will play itself out.