Pennant Race Gazette–June 20, 2011: A “Gone Fishin’ ” Edition

PENNANT RACE BASEBALL VS. INTERLEAGUE PLAY

Today I’m going to take a brief look at the comparision between what Interleague Play does to MLB’s season long schedule and what Pennant Race Baseball might have to offer.

MLB says that the current season is too long and by giving the fans a taste of some local AL/NL rivalries they are giving its fans a better product.  A closer examination of this idea will help us to see if it’s true.  I’ve looked at the teams that make up MLB’s AL and NL and come up with 8 rivalries that qualify as “local” rivalries.  These contests would not be on the schedule if Interleague Play did not exist.  They are:  STL/KC;  WAS/BAL;  TB/FLA;  OAK/SF;  CHW/CHC;  NYY/NYM;  TEX/HOU;  LAA/LAD.  That’s 16 teams out of 30.  Not bad.  But with their 6 meetings,  these teams play each other 48 times. 

The Interleague portion of MLB’S yearly season lasts 3 weeks. That’s 18 days of baseball; 14 games each day equals 252 games.  48 games is only 19 % of the Interleague games played each year.  The rest of the Interleague schedule has little competitive value.  Remember, if you’re looking at the impact that Interleague games have on the standing, they are the weakest of three types: a game between division rivals changes that division’s standings by 1 game (the winning team goes  1/2 game up; and the losing team  1/2 game down);  a wild card game affects the standings  1/2 game in two divisions in one league; an interleague contest affects two divisions  1/2 game in TWO DIFFERENT LEAGUES.

Here’s something else to consider.  If there were Pennant Race Baseball, and MLB consisted of 4/8 team divisions instead of the current 3 divisions, several teams would be playing each other more.  Traditional and new regional rivalries would develope from the heat of yearly pennant races.  Some of these teams include:  PHI/PIT;  STL/LAD;  SF/CHC;  DET/TOR;  CIN/NYM;  LAA/MIN;  TEX/KC;  FLA/TB (TB switches from AL East to NL East);  BAL/WAS (WAS switches from NL East to AL East; and is again “the Washington Senators”);  BOS/MON (Montreal would be an expansion team in the NL East);  CLE/NYY;  COL/HOU.

MLB’s refusal to consider season-long Pennant Race Baseball  makes their season  meaningless and boring.  It is for this reason that they need the gimmick of “local” rivalries, that amount to nothing more than exhibition games, to increase fan interest.  Fans never complained about baseball’s rhythmic (beginning, middle, and end) 162 game season when Pennant Race Baseball was the basis of each and every game.  Rivalries that form from exciting pennant race action will quickly result in fans forgetting Interleague Play.

American League

AL East                                  W        L         GB

  1. Cleveland                28      18       —
  2. Boston                      28      19          1/2
  3. New York                30      21          1/2
  4. Tampa Bay             22       20       4
  5. Detroit                     23       22       4  1/2
  6. Toronto                  27       28       5  1/2
  7. Baltimore               23       26       6  1/2
  8. Kansas City            19       22       6  1/2

AL West                                  W        L          GB

  1. Texas                          20     22         —
  2. Los Angeles              20    22         —
  3. Minnesota                 17    19          —
  4. Seattle                         21    27         -2
  5. Oakland                      20    26         -2
  6. Chicago                       17    24         -2  1/2

National League

NL East                                   W        L          GB

  1. Philadelphia            35      17        —
  2. Atlanta                      32      23        4  1/2
  3. Florida                      26       23       7  1/2
  4. Pittsburgh                23      21        8
  5. New York                 30      30       9
  6. Cincinnati                 20     21        9  1/2
  7. Washington              20     26      12
  8. Houston                     13     31      18

NL West                                   W        L         GB

  1. Philadelphia             35      17       —
  2. Atlanta                        32      23      4  1/2
  3. Florida                        26      23      7  1/2
  4. Pittsburgh                 23       21      8
  5. New York                  30       30     9
  6. Cincinnati                 20       26      9
  7. Washington              13       31     12
  8. Houston                     13       31     18

NL West                                   W        L         GB

  1. Milwaukee                24       16       —
  2. San Francisco         29       23       1
  3. St. Louis                    23       22       3  1/2
  4. Colorado                   30      32       5
  5. Chicago                      20      22       5
  6. Arizona                      21       27      7
  7. Los Angeles              25       33      8
  8. San Diego                  21        30      8  1/2

Yesterday’s National League Results

  • LAD        1        HOU        0               (Not Tier)

Yesterday’s Phantom Results

  • CLE        5        PIT        2 (11)               (Exhibition)
  • LAA      7        NYM     3                        (Exihibition)
  • BAL      7         WAS      4                        (Exihibition)
  • BOS     12        MIL        3                        (Exhibition)
  • TB          2        FLA        1                         (Exhibition)
  • MIN      5        SD           4                         (Exhibition)
  • DET       9        COL        1                         (Exhibition)
  • OAK      2        SF           1                          (Exhibition)
  • CHW     8        ARI        2                          (Exhibition)
  • SEA       2       PHI         0                          (Exhibition)
  • NYY    10     CHC         4                           (Exhibition)
  • CIN        2      TOR         1                           (Exhibition)
  • ATL       4      TEX          2                          (Exhibition)
  • STL        5      KC            4                           (Exhibition)

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