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Selig Gets Lucky

With New Interleague Format

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Images curtsy of MLB.
The Often Disparaged Commissioner Of Baseball Has Produced His Share Of Missteps, So It Seems Only Fitting That An Accidental Occurrence Finally Leads To A Good Move


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By Wayne Schutsky
Special for Modern Times Magazine

June 11, 2013 — While I am not a fan of many of the changes made to Major League Baseball under Commissioner Bud Selig — he is the Darth Sidious of the sports world in my eyes — I have to admit that I enjoy the latest change to game, everyday interleague play.

In the past, interleague play took place during the weeks surrounding the All-Star Game. For a few precious weeks, teams partook in the novelty. American League pitchers took hacks. National League managers scrambled to find designated hitters. Baseball fans in disparate cities relished the chance to see teams that seldom traveled to their neck of the woods.

And then it all came to end.

In order to even out the playing field, Major League Baseball decided to jettison the lowly Houston Astros out of the six-team National League Central and into the four-team American League West.

On paper, it all made sense. By evening out the number of teams in each league, Major League Baseball could theoretically give each team a more fair chance to reach the postseason.

However, this new alignment threw a wrench in interleague play as we knew it. After the Astros made the switch, each league had 15 teams. This odd number necessitates our new reality, interleague play everyday. With one team in each league left without a partner, the new schedule had to include these cross-cultural matchups from April through October.

Initially, I was less than pleased with this new way of life. I saw it as another byproduct of Selig’s unnecessary meddling. Another whacky profit-generating plan by commish that would change, and negatively impact, the game.

Boy was I wrong.

A few months into the season and I am simply smitten with the new Major League Baseball schedule. Interleague play everyday is my new best friend.

And the reason for my change of heart is rather simple.

Basically, I feel the new way of doing things removes the novelty from interleague play and makes it just another game on the schedule. Rather than making interleague part of the circus that is the All-Star game, the new schedule removes the whimsy from A.L./N.L. matchups.

In the past, I always got the feeling that teams did not take interleague seriously. When all the games were crammed into a three-week period, fans and teams could not help but focus on the strangeness of it all. The A.L. pitchers hitting and so on.

Additionally, when those three weeks surround an event like the All-Star Game, it is difficult not to associate it with the spectacle.

That all changed this year when the Astros crossed league lines.

Teams now have to treat every single game like it counts, no matter what league the opponent comes from. With interleague play everyday, those once eccentric and whimsical matchups are now just another game and I could not be happier.

Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at wschutsky@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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