Daily Archives: March 4, 2013
On June 12, 1997 the Texas Rangers hosted the San Francisco Giants in the first regular season interleague game in the history of MLB. Introduced as a gimmick in response to lower attendance and television ratings after the players strike of 1994-1995, interleague is still a topic that is debated every season.
The most popular argument by proponents of interleague play is often that fans get to see teams and players that may not otherwise see. That argument is very weak in the year 2013, with many games being televised nationally by TBS and ESPN as well as the many packages available from cable providers that make watching virtually any game on either television or the internet possible.
Critics of interleague play most often point to one glaring negative of interleague play, the strength of schedule disparity that it creates not only among teams in the same league but also within a division. With teams battling for wild card playoff spots as well as battling with division rivals for the division title, it has always struck me as incredibly unfair that two teams in the same league can have a battle between them decided by 18-21 games unbalanced schedule against teams in another league.
The Yankees have gone 144-102(.585) in interleague play, a MLB best winning percentage since interleague’s inception. Despite that record, the Yankees have plenty of reason to be unhappy about their interleague schedule in 2013, a schedule that may cost them dearly.
The Yankees have the following interleague games on the 2013 schedule:
April 16-18 vs the Diamondbacks
May 7-9 at the Rockies
May 27-28 “at” Mets followed by May 29-30 vs the Mets
June 18-19 vs the Dodgers
July 30-31 at the Dodgers
August 2-4 at the Padres
September 20-22 vs the Giants
MLB, in its “infinite wisdom” decided that in 2013 that the Yankees should play the NL West in addition to their “rival” New York Mets in interleague play. That means that the Yankees must play three games vs the reigning champion Giants as well as four games vs the Dodgers, who are favored to win the NL in 2013 by many. Playing a couple of really tough teams isn’t the biggest issue at stake in the 2013 interleague schedule, the travel is.
Whether it is the change in time zones or the effect of the long travel, the words “West Coast Trip” have long struck fear in the heart of players and fans of East Coast teams. Thanks to their 2013 interleague schedule, the Yankees will have two West Coast trips this season for interleague play. In May the Yankees will have to fly to Colorado for three games with the Rockies and then fly to Kansas City for three games with the Royals without an off day in between. In late July the Yankees must fly to the West Coast to play two games with the Dodgers and then three games with the Padres before flying to Chicago to play the White Sox with no off day for travel to Chicago.
The Yankees’ 2013 interleague schedule also had a negative effect on their regular schedule. Because of the two trips to the West Coast to play NL rivals in 2013, MLB scheduled the Yankees a brutal marathon West Coast trip in June to play their AL West Coast rivals. This was done to keep the number of West Coast trips the Yankees take in 2013 to three but it was done at the expense of the Yankees having to play ten games in eleven days against the Mariners(four games), Athletics(three games) and Angels(three games) in the heart of the season.
The Yankees interleague schedule is just one more reason for concern in 2013.