Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Good and Bad of Interleague Play

Interleague play began yesterday. I am not one of those people who hate interleague play. I actually quite enjoy it. I do however see some flaws in the interleague system like the unbalanced schedule (that really should be changed, one division should all play the same interleague team. It’s unfair for some teams to have to play the Pirates and others to play the Phillies.) And I understand why people may dislike interleague. But there are some good things about interleague play; here is why I like it
Pitchers Batting
I love watching AL pitchers batters hit it’s so enjoyable to see. It looks like they just have no idea how to hit (some probably don’t) and I love it. There is such innocence to pitchers when they bat.  You see them look so confident and intimidating on the mound but when they arrive at the plate with a bat they lose that confidence. In most cases pitchers are automatic outs, AL pitchers hit just .105/.134/.120 in 2010. Despite that terrible line you can’t help but root for the AL pitcher to get a hit. When in the rare cases when they do get a hit it’s so exciting to see.
The stars of the opposing league
As a Jays fan living in Canada it’s very rare to see a team outside of the Jays on TV. When there is another game it is usually an AL team like the Yankees or Red Sox. It’s great to see the stars of the NL playing against my favourite team. Last season the Jays played the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, San Fran Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jay’s fans got to see some of the best NL stars like: Troy Tulowitzki, Tim Lincecum, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Howard to name a few. Those NL teams also got to see Jose Bautista in the midst of his historic 54 homerun season. Its god for fans to see the other leagues stars, it’s great to see players that you don’t normally get to see. More fans may come to the ball park and watch games when they can see guys like Pujols or Tulo. More fans in the park is always a good thing for the team and MLB.  
And what I dislike about Interleague
Managers not letting pitchers hit
This really is taking what I like about interleague play and throwing out of the park. I understand late in a game you go to the pinch hitter. Especially with AL teams when they have (most of the time) their DH sitting on the bench. I also get sac bunting with the pitcher when guys are on base that’s perfectly fine with me but I hate when with nobody on base and the pitcher up the manager just tells him to stand there and take pitches until you’re out that’s just stupid. I mean pitchers batting is what I love about interleague, and I don’t like to see it get taken away by a dumb manager. Let the guy swing the bat give him a chance. These pitchers are all competitors and want to do well. You can’t tell me that a guy likes going up there and not swinging. No he wants to do his best and try to get a hit. I hate the reasons managers give for doing that too, the “he’s going get hurt if he swings,” and this leads me to my next hate of interleague.
The pitching injuries suffered by AL pitchers
This just drives me nuts. I already don’t like pitchers not hitting so when they do get a chance and they blow it by getting hurt it kills me to see. I mean these pitchers are professional athletes they should be able to run 90 feet and not get hurt. Pitchers I feel like pitchers are some of the most athletic to players on the field. They should not be getting hurt running the bases. Pitchers run all the time how do you think they get their stamina from. It’s from running sprints and jogging. Pitchers know how to run they should be fine to run the bases. That is why I hate seeing them get hurt, I’m like really how?  The best example of this is probably Chien-Ming Wang in 2008 with the Yankees. He tore a muscle in his right foot and caused him to miss the rest of the season. He hasn’t really been the same pitcher since: pre- injury he had back to back 19 win seasons in 2006 and 07 and post injury he has gone 1-6 and is still trying to come back from the foot problems. That’s why I dislike interleague play.
Overall I enjoy interleague the positives of it outweigh the negatives in my opinion. I will definitely be paying attention to the games tonight when the Jays take on the Houston Astros, yes the Astros are not a good team they provide a different team to watch, a team I don’t normally see, a team I probably won’t see after this series and really that’s OK with me.
Comments are appreciated; let me know how I’m doing and how I can improve.       

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