Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Interleague Shortcomings

Well, another year's worth of interleague play is complete, baseball's tenth such year, and I'm not satisfied. I never bought baseball's promises of interleague joy nor its manipulation of statistics to show just how successful it really is. Let's can this thing before it does some real longterm harm to the game. I've decided to take this post to debunk some of the popular claims and myths of interleague play.

You'll get to see teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, or Giants and Dodgers.

After ten years, Giants fans still haven't got to see a single Yankee game on our soil, and Bonds still hasn't stepped to the plate at Fenway Park. Besides, for every great matchup between these great teams there are ten matchups between teams nobody could care to see. Ya just gotta be there when Tampa Bay invades Coors Field. Or how about that clash between the Pads and Jays? Oooh, Twinkies/D-Backs; baseball's next great rivalry. Can't wait for the Nationals to hit KC. M's/Phils? Sellouts, all.

Fans never get the chance to see teams from the other league, so this will solve that.

Baseball's 30 teams play in 25 metro markets. The five markets highest in population each have two teams; one in each league (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and DC/Baltimore). These top 5 markets make up 46% of baseball fans that live in a market with a team. So half of all fans already live in a market where the opposite league is easily available. Another 8% live in markets within an hour and a half drive of the opposite league. These are Philly(drive to NY or Baltimore), San Diego (drive to Anaheim) and Milwaukee(drive to Chicago).

Interleague attendance is very high. This proves its success.

All interleague games are played during the best weather, late May to June, when school is out. The "rivalry" series are played on weekends, which reflect better attendance. No interleague games are played in the first few cold weeks of April or in September after school is in and most teams are out of the pennant races. So naturally attendance figures look good.

I'll address more problems in a future post.

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