Previewing Interleague: Let's Rank All the Series, Okay?

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Ever since Herr Selig instituted the concept of the AL and the NL actually playing regular season games against one another (shocking, I know!), purists have decried the concept as soiling the pants of the game. Enough of their antediluvian ways, the people want Rockies-Tigers series in late May! Today marks the official start of interleague play and the unofficial start of summer, and the combination of those two events can only mean one thing: it's time for a lazy listicle on a free-for-all Friday!

Let's rank all fourteen (hit the bricks, Cubs and Padres) of the interleague series based on the following criteria: (1) historical importance (2) records of the teams involved and (3) my whims.

  • 1. Angels at Dodgers: It's the best team in baseball playing host to their poorly named little brother from just down Interstate 5. Anaheim has less of a right to stake a claim to L.A. as other suburbs like Placentia, La Puente, or Yorba freakin' Linda. I expect the Dodgers to smack the Los Angeles right off the Angels uniforms.

  • 2. Mets at Red Sox: This one has teeth. Literally, these two second place teams have been sharpening their canines and grinding their molars in preparation for this weekend, despite both teams headed in opposite directions. Watch out for the sweep: the Sox are vicious at home and the Mets...well, they're the Mets.

  • 3. Royals at Cardinals: They play each other every year but rarely does this series involve two second place teams with winning records. But without ace Zack Greinke taking the mound this weekend, Albert Pujols has a clear shot to bust up every single letter in that silly Big Mac Land sign.

  • 4. Phillies at Yankees: I've got a wager on this series with the proprietors at The 700 Level, where I wrote a guest piece today. If the Yanks win, they take me to a game at CBP and if the Phils win, I host them at the Stadium. It's a lose-lose situation for me since tickets in Philly are priced lower than the apples sold at the farmers market inside Yankee Stadium.

  • 5. Indians at Reds: Despite the mediocre records of the teams involved, people in Ohio have nothing better to do with their lives in May so expect a modicum of interest from folks looking for some good drunken fan brawls.

  • 6. Blue Jays at Braves: Pretty much any series where Roy Halladay gets to face people who are not used to seeing him is worth a look. Doc makes his first career start tonight in front of the Chick-Fil-A crowd. I'm thinking he'll notch 15 K's...against Jeff Francouer alone.

  • 7. Giants at Mariners: Randy Johnson faces his old team in an attempt to notch win #299 on his career. Well, nobody on that team save Ken Griffey was there in the nineties, but the fans have been sitting on their hands for the past eight years waiting for something interesting to happen.

  • 8. Rays at Marlins: Luckily for the attendance-starved Marlins, they'll be the beneficiary of over three dozen Rays fans making the trek from St. Petersburg with their ridiculous blue hair and cowbells. That will double the attendance at Land Shark Stadium. The season attendance.

  • 9. Rangers at Astros: Like Ohio, there's nothing else really interesting happening in Texas during the month of May. But despite the Astros stinkeroo ways, the Rangers are actually good! In first place, even! Josh Hamilton should return from injury this weekend because he left his car keys in Houston and really needs them back.

  • 10. Brewers at Twins: It's the last time the Brewers will ever ever ever play in the Metrodome, unless they sign Brett Favre in the offseason and go up against the Vikings this fall.

  • 11. Rockies at Tigers: Back in the day, a Colorado-Detroit series was the cat's pajamas...in hockey.

  • 12. Pirates at White Sox: The Brothers La Roche are foaming at the mouth at the thoughts of putting up a 20-spot on the pitching poor ChiSox.

  • 13. Orioles at Nationals: The Brother Mottram are foaming at the mouth at the thoughts of beltway baseball finally having a shred of meaning.

  • 14. Diamondbacks at Athletics: Wow, a less interesting series than the Orioles and Nationals? Shame on you, general manager Josh Byrnes.

Which of these series interest you the most, WoWies?


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28 Comments

Yeah, the Big Mac Land sign is silly. We can't all have obstructed views in our billion dollar stadiums.

If you guys are the betting type, but some money on the Blue Jays tonight. Not only is Doc starting, but the Braves counter with their worst pitcher, Kawakami.

Phils v Yankees: current WS champs v soon to be 5 months from now WS champs.

/feeling cocky thanks to the 9 game win streak

Given the relative quality of their lineups and the brain-meltingly horrifying pitching staffs involved, Nats-O's is going to be three days of batting practice this weekend. It's going to be like watching a tournament of The BIGS.

@matt_t
The Jays are only at -105, so somebody somewhere likes the Braves better (-115). You're right, it seems like a layup.

Rob, your Yankee fan air of superiority has aged like a fine Riesling. It's complex, layered, and the perfect reminder of why I grew up in North Jersey and still hated the Yankees.

@HI, don't forget about my Yankee fan air of superiority

I don't get it. I love the Phillies and their fans, and have shown them nothing but the utmost of respect!

Sorry, but interleague play is bullshit. I don't care about the tradition or any of that crap. I hate the way it contributes to a lousy schedule. The Tribe should not have as many games against the Reds as they do against the teams in the AL East. Besides, there is absolutely no baseball rivalry between us and Cincy.

How about Peavy getting traded to the Cubbies MID-START, changing jerseys in the dugout, and beaning Tony Gwynn Jr. in the earflap? That would trump everything.

By the way, anybody going to Phillies-Yanks tonight?

UU, you've got the arrogant, blunt, hopelessly optimistic attitude consistent of all NY sports fans. Your thought that the Yankees will win the World Series this year isn't due to a false sense of superiority, rather it can be attributed to a foolish, unrealistic set of expectations that few outside the tri-state area possess.

I am not a fan of it, because of the Wild Card. For Example, Atlanta, Philly and the Mets have to play the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees while the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers get the awful Central. That definitely gives the central teams a leg up in the Wild Card race

INTERLEAGUE IS TEARING US APART

I don't remember hearing you complain, Matt, when Bud granted you 20 games a year against the Nationals.

AGIAN!!!!!

I like the interleague, as I see no reason to isolate the AL and NL from one another until the World Series. Want to make the playoffs? Beat teams from both leagues first. I'm glad that the Phillies get to play quality teams in the AL. There are 162 games in the MLB season, a 4-11 mark in interleague shouldn't prevent anyone from winning it all (it didn't in '09).

Also, matt, do you think the NFL should keep AFC and NFC teams from meeting in the regular season? This year, the NFC East gets to play all four teams in the AFC West, which is far more deirable than having to play all four teams in the AFC North, like the NFC North has to. That will certainly alter the NFC Wildcard standings, but you wouldn't think fo doing it any other way.

What's wrong with the AL Central? Oh never mind, I see.

C'mon up the porch and eat with the big dogs for a few!

The only thing worse than interleague is people complaining about interleague. That being said, it's stupid that (for example) the Phillies have played the Rangers around ~10 times total while the Eagles play Dallas twice a season. The teams should all play each other, at least one series a year. Another stupid, pointless baseball tradition, like cheating and no pepper. Ehm, maybe that last has a point.

On a side note, the comments on your 700 Level piece are kind of embarrassing for everyone. In Philadelphia.

@dmac
You can't really compare the rate at which two teams in different leagues play each other to the rate at which two teams in the same division meet up. There needs to be a certain amount of divisional structure, no?

I wholeheartedly agree with all of those 700 Level people. I mean, who the fu*k is this turd, anyway. Comeoooooon, researcher.

I just don't get it. There are 162 games, and I don't get to see the Phillies play the A's at least one series a year? It seems so stupid. I get the arguments against interleague play due to the imbalance it creates in the schedule, but that's still a creation of the schedule, not something inherent in interleague play. (Replace several terms in the previous sentence and you get an argument I make about drugs occasionally/often.)

And: Nobody wants to see the pitcher hit. Anywhere. Ever.

UGH BEERLEAGUER IS SO NEGATIVE NOWADAYS

And, yes, interleague play is a lot like drug prohibition. With comparisons like this, pretty soon I'll have a column on Yahoo! Sports.

@honeynut -
The NFL is also full of steroid abusers and no one cares. I don't know how thats relevent but it came to mind.

I do like interleague, and I see your point, if you are a good team, beat those teams. And it is fun to see my team play some of the big boys in the other league.

I like dmac's idea of each team playing at least one series with every other team, but then people will say that its not fair because you can't play a home and home.

I hate that the A's have to travel across the Bay Bridge to play the Giants, but the Eagles have to play the Knicks.

Also, A's/AZ is the best series. Byrnes plays his old team!!!

The schedule's always unfair to someone. Guys get hurt, guys get traded, guys are just having an off day. I dunno. Whatever, I get the complaints about interleague, too. Fortunately, it's usually pretty enjoyable, and this Phillies-Yankees series should be a lot of fun.

Comment of the year, Hammer.

dmac's point about the schedule being fair/not fair is solid. Right now, the AL east and NL East are stronger than the Centrals, but 5 years from now that may not be the case. Well, maybe not 5 years, 10 is more like it. OK NEVER.

Either way, the advantages that baseball has over other sports are 1) a really small percentage of teams in the league actually make the playoffs and 2) because of the length of the season, those are generally the best teams of the bunch, with very few flukes thrown in (ahem, 2007 Washington Redskins).

I'll be at angels/dodgers tonight (#1!) hoping the suburbs get destroyed. I seriously thought you made "Placentia" up.

Dmac, Brett Myers and Joe Blanton would like to have a word with you.

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