Today, Major League Baseball released the 2013 schedule for baseball, featuring the all new year round interleague schedule being worked in,. With the Houston Astros shifting over to the American League West and the decision to have interleague games being played throughout the season, fans were ready to see baseball enter an entirely new world for them, though the look is a very old story for fans of the other three major sports. However, the new schedule is not that much different than the old one, except that the games are now spread over six months instead of just one or two. Now, things could have been made a lot more interesting if the new rules and regulations in the new contracts did not limit the number of interleague games per team to the vastly low number of 20.
In 2013, the Chicago Cubs will be playing games against the American League West. They will travel to the west coast and fans will see them playing three game sets against the Texas Rangers and for the first time the Oakland Athletics, as well as a pair two game series against the Anaheim Angels and Chicago White Sox. Coming to Chicago for a three game set will be the Astros (they didn’t even give us a chance to miss them) and Seattle Mariners. The Cubs will also host the Angels and White Sox for a pair of two game series.
If there is one good that comes out of the new interleague schedule and rules, limiting the number of games the Cubs and White Sox play makes the changes worth while. I have no problem with the White Sox, but every time the two Chicago clubs face each other and the two fan bases come together, the collective IQ of both fan sets drops by at least 50 points. I do not like the circus at all, and would have rather of seen them limit things to one three game set a year. That would never happen though, as neither the Cubs or White Sox would give up that extra revenue every other year.
What I would have liked to see baseball do, is first and foremost, eliminate the ridiculous 20 game limit on interleague play.. Eliminating that rule would allow every team in baseball to play at least one series against every other team in baseball, not just against one division in the other league. You would not even lose that much in terms of inter division play. You play one series against every team in the opposing league, totaling 45 games. If 45 games is too many, then limit each series to two games against each team in the opposing league. You still have 30 games against the other division. Then continue course as tradition dictates by sticking with the two series against every team in your own league’s opposing divisions. That leaves between 57 and 72 games (depending which version of my plan were to be put into play) that would be played within your own division. Whichever version you chose, there are still more than enough games in your own division to get a good feel as to which team deserves to win the division crown.
Think of the increased revenue your team would get every other year (alternating which team hosts the series) when the most popular teams in baseball come into town. The Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers would bring a lot of extra revenue to whichever teams host them.
A greater reason, would be the World Series Champion each year can say with even more authority that they are the greatest team because they played everyone in baseball, as well as every team who made the playoffs. Granted, in reality that does not matter because all that matters is who is the last team standing, but I personally think that there is a certain nostalgia in knowing that you played all the best teams baseball had to offer, and you still came out on top.
In my opinion, baseball turned their back on a golden opportunity to have true year round excitement against teams you only see every three years and basically left things as they were. Sure, the Cubs will be playing the Rangers in April instead of June, but other than that, there are no real changes to get all riled up about. Unless, of course, you are going to miss those two games against the South Siders that were taken away each year.
Welcome to the future of baseball, which looks oddly enough like the past.