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How Important Is Interleague Play To A Balanced MLB Schedule?

How Important Is Interleague Play To A Balanced MLB Schedule?

Since 1997, there has been much debate amongst baseball purists about the validity of having interleague play. It was 15 years ago, in sports betting 1997, that interleague play, allowed for teams from the National and American Leagues cross over to battle one another during the regular season. Prior to inter league play, you could only handicap league cross overs in spring training, the All Star game and the World Series. Next season, when Houston moves to the American League, the MLB is planning on making interleague a season long concept, rather then sporadically throughout the season. Thus for purists it poses the question, is inter league play the answer to a balanced MLB schedule?

In professional sports, the American League East is the toughest division. Made up of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, the AL East constantly has at least four of its five teams finish the season with a winning record. Conversely, in divisions such as the AL Central, NL West and NL Central, the teams to make up those divisions do not necessarily need a winning record to make the playoffs. In some cases these latter divisions are decided in August, as team’s that have struggled throughout the majority of the year suddenly get hot and make the playoffs.

For this reason specifically, many sportsbooks users including us, believe that interleague play would offer some balance across both leagues. If all 30 teams were to play each other a minimum of three series throughout the regular season, it would offer handicappers a better read on which teams are for real and which are riding a wave of momentum. In theory, teams off to slow starts such as the Detroit Tigers, and Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, would have to step their games up much earlier in the season, if they hoped to make the playoffs.

The other reason regular interleague play would be beneficial is due to the new two wild card system in each league. Essentially, the MLB Administration office offered up the addition of a second wild card in each league to assure that new teams made the playoffs each year. For instance, teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians could make the playoffs on the second wild card, thus breaking long playoff droughts. By having interleague play all year around, we would truly get an idea of which teams are for real and which struggle under pressure, as Toronto has been dreadful in limited interleague play.

In other words, would the argument that Toronto misses the playoffs annually because of the division they are in, really hold true, if they continued to struggle during interleague play? On the other hand, if interleague play year long does in fact happen, the MLB should make sure that the designated hitter rule is instituted for all of the games. As it stands right now, when AL teams travel to NL stadiums their pitchers are forced to pitch. Meanwhile, when the NL comes to the AL the DH is instituted. With this being the case, it offers the NL an unfair advantage, and leads to more injuries amongst AL pitchers, who do not normally bat.

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