Intergreed play begins tonight

Following a number of two-game series, tonight we continue with the disruptive part of the schedule known as “interleague play.” I like to think to think of this gimmick as really intergreed play as the marketing arm of MLB works its butt off to create the illusion that the games being played are meaningful and enticing.

Perhaps at one time there might have been appeal to these games, but those Harmon Killebrew-era games are long passed. These days there is easy and frequent access to see every team, from every market, from each league play almost as frequently as you see your home team play.

Long gone, are the days of the limited Saturday game of the week. Between games on Fox, ESPN, TBS and MLB Network there is a neutral baseball game on practically every night of the week. Beyond that, I am here to tell you that there is no better investment for your computer than the purchase of MLB.TV. It is magnificent. Sharp pictures, choice of every game and loaded with extras that make watching players from every team a joy.

We can now see every player and every team from the best seats in our own house, yet as the MLB PR machine writes, “For 14 years, Interleague Play has made the turnstiles spin.” And really isn’t that all that matters?

  • Should the Boston fans get to see three home games with the Tigers, with whom they may be battling for a postseason berth or the Chicago Cubs?
  • Should the Brewers have to play nine games against the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees, while the Reds have those teams for six and the Orioles and Jays for six more?
  • Should we wait to see which AL pitcher is injured at the plate or running the bases while the DH sits?

The answer is clearly a resounding “yes” to the owners when you take into a account last season’s 252 Interleague games did 11.7 percent better at the gate. But intergreed play is nothing but a gimmick to boost attendance. Fans in Philly, Boston, San Francisco, and Minnesota will sell out their ballpark no matter who plays there. And if there is good baseball, good baseball fans show up. Just in case you didn’t notice there were 33,774 fans last Friday night in Cleveland as they faced the Mariners. And on Saturday May 7, when they Pirates were 16-17, they drew 32,299 to face the Astros. The Astros! Even the Astros drew 100,000 against the Mets last weekend.

Baseball doesn’t need interleague play, it needs good teams and I believe this season there are more good teams than any year in recent memory. The fact that there are so many teams hovering around the .500 mark is not a reflection of mediocrity but an indication of how even the teams are and how much they are beating up on each other.

Take a look at the match-ups this weekend and tell me how they don’t simply water down postseason play:

Quite a weekend, don’t you think?

Baseball doesn’t need this gimmick. Baseball is better than this. But while there are those of us who love to here the crack of the bat against the ball, the powers that be only treasure one sound, “Ka-ching.”