Interleague play is boring me to death

1. Is it just me?

Is it just my malaise or is this year’s edition of interleague play even more boring than usual?

I mean does anyone really care that Red Sox beat the Diamondbacks, 6-3, last night at Fenway? Yes, I understand that Sox fans are happy that their team won and I’m sure there are D-Back fans that care that their team lost, but do any of those fans care that they won or lost to this particular opponent? To me the only interesting thing about this game were the immigrant rights groups who protested the strict new Arizona immigration law outside Fenway Park. Massachusetts locals promise that a local law like this one won’t be written to prevent New Hampshire-ites from crossing their borders.

Then, there is the Mets/Indians rivalry. Were the Cleveland fans excited to see the Mets come to town? Well, paid attendance was listed as 12,882 and obviously that did not include Tom Izzo. The Mets and Johan Santana won 7-6.

The Cubs hosted Oakland last night and lost 9-5. It seems that Carlos Zambrano can’t beat teams in either league. Ho-hum.

Suppan sandwich?

The Mariners lost, 4-2, to the St. Louis Cardinals to continue their misery. Seattle has lost 7-of-9 on their roadtrip and were the perfect team for Jeff Suppan to make his re-debut for the Cardinals. Suppan soon will be ready to face major league hitters.

The Nationals visited Detroit last night. The Tigers beat Washington, 7-4 and at least half of the 24,821 fans kept asking, “Which one is Stephen Strasburg? When will Strasburg be pitching, daddy?”

Florida fans don’t care when the Marlins are battling for first place. They don’t care when they play their intra-state Tampa rivals, so why should they care when they host the Texas Rangers? There were 17,130 fans watching the Rangers win 3-2. Josh Johnson pitched well again and continues to be the best pitcher that even his hometown fans have never heard of.

The Padres beat the Jays, 8-2 at Petco. I don’t care other than I like this because Jerry Howarth, Alan

Is this San Diego or Detroit?

Ashby, Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler, the Jays broadcasters get to enjoy San Diego, which must be an improvement over Detroit.

The Brewers beat the Angels, 7-1, which is not even as exciting as Chile beating Honduras in the World Cup, which is not even as exciting watching paint dry.

Good for the Minnesota fans. As per usual they sold out their spanking new Target Field and watched their hometown favorites top the Rockies, 9-3. Even interleague play won’t drive these good fans away.

The Princeton Shield

In the Orange and Black showdown, the Orioles beat the Giants, 4-1, which I’m interested in as I continue to track the Orioles quest to match the 40 wins of the 1962 Mets. The winner of the series matches up against Princeton next.

Then there was the Jerry Hairston Sr. Classic. Hairston played 1973 to 1989 with the White Sox except for 51 games in 1977 that he played with the Pirates. I am only 98.6% certain that he does not care that they played each other last night. The White Sox won 6-4, in front of 12,693 fans as the Pittsburgh Cluster Buc continues.

World Series redux? No, just a dilution of the interleague rivalry that cheapens the Series as the Yanks and CC Sabathia beat the struggling Philadelphia Phillies and Roy Halladay. The Yanks won 8-3. Maybe this game should have been played in Cleveland because they are not going see two quality teams for a while.

Battle of the NL/AL East leaders in Atlanta brought 30,448 (61.2% full) to Turner Field. David Price became the first 10-game winner in the AL. Kenshin Kawakami became the first 0-9 pitcher for a first-place team. Okay, now how can I complain about this match-up? Easy. Beyond the fact that I can complain about anything, I think making fans sit through a 2:25 rain delay is disgraceful. And what does that have to do with subject that we are discussing? When it is the last visit that a team makes to a city, MLB does everything possible to get the game in and just about every visit during the interleague period is the last visit. By the way, Rays’ second baseman Sean Rodriguez has a 15-game hitting streak.

And in the big one: the Royals defeated the Astros, 15-7. Watching these two teams play must be like seeing a HS cover band of a JHS cover band.

Had enough yet?

2. There is more action today

Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie) at Giants (Tim Lincecum), 3:45

Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) at Padres (Kevin Correia), 6:35

Phillies (Jamie Moyer) at Yankees (A.J. Burnett), 7:05

Brewers (Chris Narveson) at Angels (Joel Pineiro), 7:05

Mets (Jonathon Niese) at Indians (Mitch Talbot), 7:05

Nationals (Livan Hernandez) at Tigers (Justin Verlander), 7:05

White Sox (John Danks) at Pirates (Zach Duke), 7:05

Diamondbacks (Rodrigo Lopez) at Red Sox (Jon Lester), 7:10

Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) at Reds (Mike Leake), 7:10

Rays (Wade Davis) at Braves (Tommy Hanson), 7:10

Rangers (Tommy Hunter) at Marlins (Anibal Sanchez), 7:10

A’s (Gio Gonzalez) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster), 8:05

Astros (Roy Oswalt) at Royals (Bruce Chen), 8:10

Rockies (Jhoulys Chacin) at Twins (Scott Baker), 8:10

Mariners (Jason Vargas) at Cardinals (Jamie Garcia), 8:15

3. This game was of interest

Whack-a-Mole

Even though it was one-sided, the Dodgers/Reds match-up is a good one as two NL teams battle for first place in their divisions. Manny B Manny homered and had four RBI and Rafael Furcal had five hits as the mole-whacked the Reds, 12-0.

The fans had to endure a 2:24 rain delay. When I am named the Commissioner of Fans, I will put an end to this.

4. Who are the Top Defenders in 2010?

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com.

Two and a half months into the season, it is a good time to look and see who have been our best defensive players of the year. Let’s take a look at our overall leaders, in terms of Defensive Runs Saved.

Player Team Pos. Innings Runs Saved
Ben Zobrist Rays 2B/RF 547 15
Yunel Escobar Braves SS 448 15
Austin Jackson Tigers CF 498 13
Alexei Ramirez White Sox SS 530 12
Michael Bourn Astros CF 527 11
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 3B 445 11
Chase Utley Phillies 2B 515 11
Robinson Cano Yankees 2B 550 10

Ben Zobrist is no surprise here, as he finished near the top of the league last year with 31 runs saved. What’s impressive about Zobrist is that he has accumulated his runs saved at numerous positions, having spent time at first base, second base, and all three outfield spots.

Yunel Escobar has always been one of the best defenders at shortstop, with runs saved totals the last two years of 12 and 13. Always strong on plays to his left, Escobar is now making some of those plays to his right. He has already eclipsed his previous career high in Defensive Runs Saved.

Overshadowed a bit by his hot start with the bat, Austin Jackson has been the best defensive outfielder in baseball. Jackson excels especially on deep balls, as he rates a +14 in Enhanced Plus/Minus so far this year. This young star has a bright future ahead of him.

5. Hoist him a Guinness

Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto‘s Japanese baseball record streak of playing in 1,492 consecutive games without missing an inning has been recognized by Guinness World Records Ltd. Kanemoto will receive a certificate from Guinness before a game at Koshien Stadium on June 29 against the Chunichi Dragons.

Kanemoto’s streak began July 21, 1999 and ended April 18 this year because of a right shoulder injury.

“The time (12 years) really flew by quickly,” he said. That’s how I felt last night (12 years) watching interleague baseball.

6. PETA versus the Marlins

In inter-species news, last week the Marlins unveiled plans to have two saltwater aquariums as part of the backstop behind homeplate. PETA wants the Marlins to explore other alternatives, “Being exposed to the loud crowds, bright lights, and reverberations of a baseball stadium would be stressful and maddening for any large animals held captive in tanks that, to them, are like bathtubs,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman wrote in a letter sent to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

Loria assured PETA that there will not be any crowds at Marlins games.

7. The Billy-Ball-Curse

I had a piece up yesterday on the NYTimes.com entitled Nine to Know: All About No in 2010.

The piece had items like:

The Philadelphia Phillies have attempted to steal third base seven times and so far no one has been thrown out.

And:

The St. Louis Cardinals have been successful in 24 of 30 sacrifice bunt attempts and have 576 hits, but have no bunt hits.

However I also wrote:

The Red Sox’ Kevin Youkilis has played 61 games at first and the Mariners’ Casey Kotchman has played 50 games at first, and they have committed no errors.

Youk made an error last night.

8. Goal Setting

I have two goals, one short term and one long term. The long-term goal is to become a regular contributor to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio which I think is the best show on the air for any time slot, andy station, local, national or satellite.

My short-term is equally simple: make some money. I am looking for any writing work, baseball or otherwise. P/T, freelance, short-term, long-term, one time, multiple-times, web content, research, papers, blogs, ghost-writing, Tweets, it does not matter, it just needs to pay fairly.

Contact me if you can help me achieve either my short- or long-term goals.

FYI: I will not be joining the Big 12

9. World Cup-tinnitus

I try to be a good sports fan. I try to engage in respecting other sports. I rooted for a Game 7 and I’m happy for the NBA that their Finals will have an ultimate game. I had nothing to do with the USC violations and I remain fascinated as universities follow the money to go from conference to conference.

I hung fly paper during World Cup games because I thought I had buzzing flies

However, I really find the World Cup a physical anathema. I mean it has gotten to the point whenever I attempt to watch even a few minutes of action, I hear a horribly annoying buzzing sound. I was going to make an appointment with an ear doctor, but the noise stops when I change the channel. I really must be burnt out on soccer.