Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Segregation Now!

MLB is patting itself on the back for what they perceive as the success of this past weekend's interleague play. Their official release and supporting story brag about the attendance in the series pitting New York vs. New York, the Angels vs. Dodgers, the A's vs. Giants, and the Cubs vs. White Sox. They also noted that Fenway Park was sold out for the Red Sox series with the Braves.

First, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are always sold out. Second, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you play a game between two teams in close proximity in a huge market, you'll draw fans of both teams. New York, Chicago, LA and the Bay Area are among the biggest metropolitan areas in the country.

Baseball's "natural rivals" are really artificial rivals -- they're manufactured, because a gullible public allows it. Real rivalries develop over time and circumstances: Red Sox / Yankees, Cubs / Cardinals, Giants / Dodgers.

Baseball was much more interesting when the leagues were separate: Separate league presidents (those positions no longer exist), separate umpiring crews, and no interleague play. As a purist, I appreciate the historical precedence of no cross-pollination. As a romantic, I appreciate the mystique created when the leagues only intermingled at the All-Star Game and the World Series.

MLB is fond of crowing that "the fans love it." Well, I'm a fan, and I loathe it. As I'm fond of crowing, just because something is popular doesn't mean it's good. McDonalds is the most successful restaurant concept in the history of the world, but the food is crappy, and it's not good for you, either. I boycotted interleague play for the first several years until my friend Greg insisted on treating me to a Phillies game in Fenway Park. I haven't eaten at McDonalds in over 10 years.

The most frequent justification from "fans" for interleague play is, "I like seeing Team X come to town." If you really want to see a team, put the remote down, get off your fat ass, and go somewhere. From Denver, the AL is as close as 600 miles -- a one-day drive. Only Seattle is farther away from an MLB city in the opposite league.

I'm hardly affluent, yet I've traveled to 44 MLB parks. If I can do it, you can too.

© 2005 Douglas T. Dinsmoor


At March 6, 2007 at 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another "attendance boost" is that the interleague games are played mostly in June when the weather is good and school is out. Try interleague in cold April or in September when most teams are out of the race, and see what the difference is.

Thu May 26, 11:11:00 PM MDT

At June 6, 2011 at 8:04 PM, Blogger Dean said...

This just in from the Department of Redundancy Department, which is ensconced in a glass house: "close proximity."


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