Sunday, June 13, 2010

This Is Why Interleague Games Drive Me Crazy

By

Image courtesy of The Sports Hernia
They call it the Senior Circuit. Yes, the National League may be the world's oldest professional sports league, but that doesn't necessarily mean those National League rules are the be all and end all of baseball.

A lot of folks shared the same sentiment on Twitter last night: that these Interleague Games and specifically the ones in National League ballparks are overrated.

First of all, I don't like them because they automatically put the American League teams at a disadvantage. For most American League pitchers, it's a fish out of water situation that almost always leads to an easy out.

In American League games, all the National League teams have to do is sub in a player from their bench as the DH. No extra skills required ... in fact the designated hitter doesn't even need to take the field, it's not like they have to go out there and take the mound.

My second pet peeve about these National League rules games is twofold regarding the strategy around using the pitcher in the lineup.

We've already seen this happen a few  times in the Jays/Rockies series, but the situation arises when a rally begins near the bottom of the lineup with two out and the opposing team intentionally walks the number eight hitter to get to the pitcher.

I understand the logic of why National League managers make that move, but at the same time it seems like a cheap way to get the third out of the inning

The second part of that pet peeve once again surrounds the pitcher. We saw this particular situation happen with Ricky Romero in the six inning of Friday's game against the Rockies. The Blue Jays are behind by a run and the Blue Jays have runners on second and third with two out.

Aside from the torrential downpour, Romero has the game relatively under control but Cito Gaston opts to pinch hit for him in hopes of keeping the two-out rally going. Yet I wondered, how does Romero feel about being taken out of a game when he was still pitching pretty well?

The point I'm trying to make here is: in close or tied games that are at about the midway point, National League starters really don't have as long a leash as their American League counterparts. That probably not only reduces their innings pitched, but evidently their chance at more wins and losses as well.

The baseball purists may say that the true game of baseball involves the pitcher stepping up to the plate, but personally I just think it's part of the game that could be done away with.

Taking the path of least resistance doesn't capture the essence of baseball to me, and that's why I prefer my American League game.

4 comments:

  1. Making pitchers hit made sense when they actually hit. Having a spot in the line-up reserved for sacrifice bunts and strikeouts seems like a waste of time. If you're going to have Babe Ruth pitch and bat, that's a whole other story.

    My biggest interleague pet peeve is that they make it seem like an exhibition weekend. In the NBA there isn't "inter-conference" play. They just play the other conference sometimes when it fits in the schedule. Why can't the Blue Jays just play the Cubs when they're in Chicago playing the White Sox?

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  2. Thanks for the comment! You're right - I think it was much more illustrious to have pitchers hitting back in the day because they were actually conditioned to hit.

    I don't have a problem with a couple of Interleague series here and there, but this year the Blue Jays have 18 Interleague games. That's 11 percent of the entire schedule versus National League teams.

    And even when teams from different leagues/conferences in the NBA and NHL play each other, there is absolutely no difference from regular interconference/interleague games. Only in baseball is it vastly different.

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  3. The pitcher hitting is compounded by Cito's ineptness.

    His lack of in-game management skill is on display whenever he's in an NL park. Tracy out managed Cito all series long.

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  4. Matthias, you can definitely tell Cito was in over his head against the Rockies.

    He's already a "sit on your hands" kind of manager as is, and that strategy does not bode well for the National League game that requires the manager to be so active in the game.

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