Interleague Play Begins Friday
by Ron Endres - 05/20/2009
Interleague Play was introduced to Major League Baseball in 1997. One of my all-time favorite baseball people, former Milwaukee Brewers owner Bill Veeck, predicted in 1963 that MLB would someday have Interleague Play. The concept did not take hold until the 1990s. At that time it was an effort to renew the public's interest in MLB following the 1994 Player's Strike. Now, 12 years later, it's still far from being universally accepted. However, Interleague Play has added a new dimension to the MLB game, creating some matchups that had not been seen before, including some that hold special significance for geographical and historical reasons.
Whether you like it or not, there's no denying it adds a different element to the marathon baseball season. It brings in more revenue for teams (that alone means it's here to stay) and it gives fans a glimpse at the other league.
There are a number of pros and cons regarding Interleague Play. The designated hitter (DH) rule is applied. That also gets the goat of lots of you folks. In an American League ballpark, both teams have the option to use a DH. In a National League ballpark, both pitchers must bat. Some baseball observers feel it might be fairer to reverse this, thereby offsetting the home-field advantage.
As I get older, I'm not always for change. However, I do enjoy Interleague Play. I respect the opposing arguments about the fairness of it to all teams. I enjoy looking at 11-seasons worth of stats for most games I handicap. However, I handicap the IP games one at a time with the knowledge that the American League has been dominating. However, one must still pick his spots.
As of 2008, the AL holds an all-time series advantage of 1536-1420. The team with the best all-time record in IP is the New York Yankees of the AL, with a record of 123-87. The Florida Marlins have the NL's top record at 110-91. The AL posted a 149-103 (.591) record in IP in 2008 as 11-of-14 AL clubs finished over .500. It marked the fourth straight season the AL had a significant advantage. In the last four years the AL has won 576 games to just 432 for the NL.
This season, each MLB team will play primarily against clubs from the corresponding division in the other league (East vs. East), (Central vs. Central) (West vs. West). Clubs will also continue to play their prime rivals in two series.
Interleague Play begins this Friday. I will have a special and affordable three-day guaranteed package for the Memorial Day Weekend games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I will be in the office at Doc's on Saturday morning May 25, between 9-12 CST. Give me a call at 1-800-356-9182.