I grew up in an era when interleague play was a pipe dream, or a gleam in Bud Selig’s eye. But I always loved watching the World Series when a National League team would face off against an American League squad, and I also remember going to the Mayor’s Trophy Game, an exhibition between the Mets and Yankees each year that didn’t amount to much because both teams let their scrubs play.
So I was thrilled in 1997 when interleague play was officially introduced, with 15 or so games on the schedule. It hasn’t varied much since then, though some natural rivalries like Mets/Yankees or Cubs/White Sox or Giants/A’s play a home and home series and otherwise the teams rotate each year. And I’m not sure why, but I look forward to interleague play each year like a kid looking forward to Christmas. No joke. I love seeing teams that don’t normally play each other, play each other.
But here’s the thing. I think at this point, they should add more interleague games to the schedule. Do we really have to play the teams in our division 18 times each? That’s almost half the schedule, and there’s something about watching the Mets play in Miami three times a year to 5,000 people that makes me want to poke my eyes out.
I say, cut those in-division games to 12 each, and you’re saving 24 games to play other opponents, which means you can just about play every American League team at least once a year. Would any of you really rather see all those divisional games instead of that? You’d have the chance to see, either at Citi Field or on TV (or of course, a road trip), almost every player in the majors at one point or another.
Of course, we all know too well that the suits in baseball move at the speed of a turtle that stepped in molasses. If they won’t add instant replay on ground balls, they surely won’t add more interleague games. But many of us thought we’d never see interleague play, so there you have it. Who knows?
Meanwhile, it sure is nice watching the Mets these days against any team. First place is now within reach. Let’s go Mets!