The Yankees start up the second round of interleague games in the Subway Series against the Mets. After that series, they travel to Atlanta for a three game set against the Braves (June 11-13). I will be in attendance of for each game of that series and will share some of that experience in a few weeks. This is the first of a three week post.
Bud Selig has made some bad decisions. If you have seen an All-Star game since the 2002 debacle, you know what I’m talking about. I could go on for days on the new format but I don’t want to beat a dead horse. While Selig has made his fair share of blunders, who among us hasn’t, he’s done some things well, specifically introducing interleague play.
Interleague play was introduced in 1997 and has been a mainstay ever since. There are opponents to mixing the two leagues and I will never understand why. “It’s about tradition!” They cry. “Don’t ruin a good thing!” They holler. Major League Baseball (MLB) disregards change slower than the Federation Internationale de Football Federation (FIFA). Let’s move into the 21st century already. Since 1997, there have been subtle changes to the format of interleague play over the years and overall it’s a great staple that should continue no matter the amount of naysayers.
I am a transplant, live in Atlanta and you guessed it, I am a Yankees fan. The only way I could ever see the Yankees without interleague play, aside from traveling back to the Bronx, is in a World Series. Last I checked, World Series games are rather expensive and the Braves and Yankees would have to get back to one. The odds of that happening are pretty slim. Right now the Yankees playoff percentage, sits at 39.3, the lowest in the American League East. Atlanta sits at 39.3 as well, but that’s second best in the NL East. Before interleague, it would be impossible for me to see the Yankees play without some sort of travel. But what’s this you say? Interleague play allows for millions of fans to see the Yankees in their towns occasionally? Pardon my French but mon dieu!
Interleague is fantastic for every fan who is a transplant or has relocated because of the rarity of these types of matchups. There is a chance for you to see your favorite team play in the city you live. Another reason interleague play is so fascinating is because every team has a chance to play a division or team that they would never face otherwise. MLB is the only sport in the land that not only has a different set of rules for half of its league, but every team does not play one another. It’s archaic and slightly ridiculous. Interleague play allows for just this, while every team in the league may not play every other team during the season, it’s a step in the right direction.
Interleague play increases league competition and decreases any competitive advantages. It’s definitely not going anywhere and it should expand further. Whether Selig decides to expand play or not, I look forward to taking in a few Yankees games with friends and family in a few weeks. Times are constantly changing and here’s to hoping that baseball will continue making strides because interleague play is a great start.