Does interleague play still float your boat?
I wasn't a big fan of it when it began in 1997, but I was open-minded about it. Now in its 15th season, I tend to think it's run its course.
The original scheme of playing the other league during the regular season was supposed to rotate every year, so every three seasons you would've played every team in the other league at least one series. A couple of things happened, though.
First, the rush to make sure the regional rivals played each other home-and-home every year. Then there was the matter of having one 14-team league and one 16-team league. The result was a somewhat slapdash schedule that created some real inequalities.
Attendance-wise, the interleague series, as a whole, have an average attendance about 12 percent higher than normal, so the fans seem to maintain a degree of interest in them. The players and managers, however, aren't real thrilled with it. On "Nats Xtra" on MASN last week, Jim Riggleman revealed that, while the regional rivalries are interesting, the other games lacked the same kind of pizazz. Seattle skipper Eric Wedge recently echoed those sentiments.
One of the major issues is the number of interleague games every year. Eighteen games is a pretty significant chunk of the schedule. But, what if they dropped it to six? Three against a regional rival and three against some other team. Or limit it to nine, if you want to keep the home-and-home aspect.
If interleague play is here to stay - and it probably is - the easy thing to do would be to flip one National League team to the American League, and have two 15-team leagues. That way you'd be forced to schedule one interleague series every day, instead of two dedicated periods of interleague play, where there's always a leftover matchup of two NL teams. It would also remove the unfairness of the NL Central, where a team has to climb over five others to reach the top, and the AL West, where there are only three divisional rivals for each club.
Baseball seems determined to add another wild card team in each league, perhaps as soon as 2012. They should tweak the interleague schedule first.