Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As we embark on the 11th season of interleague play, I am starting to wonder whether or not it is still a good idea. I have to admit I was all for it when it first came about back in 1997, but now I am starting to think that it has run its course.
I grew up in New York as a Yankees fan, and of course I was thrilled when they finally got a chance to play the Mets. But I have seen it over and over again at this point, including a World Series matchup which I have to think could have been so much more exciting without having already seen them play countless times in interleague play.
The bottom line is the appeal of the Subway Series has lost its luster. I can't speak for people around the country, but I have to think the same can be said in cities with real rivalries like Chicago, San Francisco/Oakland and Los Angeles.
Don't get me wrong, I am not one of these baseball purists spouting off on a soapbox here. I like the designated hitter and am all for the wild card, but it is time for interleague play to go.
Maybe not eliminate it entirely, because attendance no doubt rises on these weekends, but maybe tweak it a little bit. When interleague play first started in 1997, the AL East played the NL East, the AL Central played the NL Central and so on and so forth. Each year they would switch divisions, but in 2002 it was all changed to accommodate "natural rivalries".
Bud Selig needs to do something about interleague play.
Do the Yankees have to play the Mets every year? Maybe that series would be a little more interesting if it was played every three years or so. Same thing goes for the White Sox-Cubs. Good luck taking six guaranteed sellouts away from those owners, though.
Plus, eliminating the rivalry contests would even the division schedules out a bit and then we wouldn't have to hear Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves cry about how hard their schedule is.
"I don't think there's any question it's not fair, but I don't think Major League Baseball is concerned with fair," Jones said. "Any time you play interleague play and you play the top four teams in the American League and everybody else doesn't, it's pretty unfair."
The Mets pretty much play the same schedule as Atlanta, with the difference being that their natural rival is the Yankees while the Braves' rivals are considered the Red Sox. And of course, Boston is off to a better start than the Yankees, which good old Chipper was quick to point out.
"Well, for the first two months of the season, the Yankees haven't exactly been the Red Sox," Jones said.
Unfortunately, he has a point. The other NL East teams - Philadelphia, Florida and Washington - play neither the Red Sox or the Yankees and get to feast on the likes of Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore.
I guess it is too late in the game to get rid of interleague play entirely, but Bud Selig needs to do something about it. The games had a special feeling 10 years ago. They just don't anymore.
BASHING TORRE IS CRAZY
Nothing like kicking someone when they are down.
I have read a few articles this week, specifically one on this website, pretty much bashing Yankees manager Joe Torre. To say that Torre needs to be fired is one thing, but to say the Yankees won those four rings in spite of him, which was written by the man that writes my checks, is absolutely ludicrous.
So the Yankees' World Series title in 1996 had nothing to do with Torre? Are you kidding me? Every move he made in the playoffs that year paid off. Whether it was benching Tino Martinez in favor of Cecil Fielder or playing Charlie Hayes instead of Wade Boggs, it all worked out. Let's not forget Game 4 against the Braves of that season's Fall Classic, when he put on an absolute clinic late in that contest.
I, though, am of the opinion that Torre probably should be fired at this point, simply for the reason that it is just time to go in another direction. A change should have been made after last year's ALDS loss to the Tigers. But to discredit what he has done in his time with the Yankees is crazy.
Torre is not the one who brought in the likes of Carl Pavano, Kyle Farnsworth, Kei Igawa, etc. I am pretty sure he wasn't the one that offered Roger Clemens $28 million, but he will no doubt be the scapegoat if that decision fails.
He can only manage what he has. Torre's even-mannered demeanor was just what the clubhouse needed when they were winning those rings. As anyone who watches the club on a regular basis knows, that team is long gone, though.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"It's not normal," said Minnesota outfielder Torii Hunter of Cleveland's Fausto Carmona's sinker. "He's not even human. It was so scary, I thought I was hung over."
Carmona tossed a four-hit shutout on Thursday to outduel two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana for the second time this season. He is 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his last five starts.