First, understand that this has nothing to do with the Mariners. I harbor no ill will against them. This is about the failure that is MLB interleague play. I hate interleague play, seriously, it’s the worst.
Not if you’re from New York, Chicago, L.A., or the bay area, but unless your team is in one of those markets, interleague play is the worst. I hate watching games between teams like the Pirates and Mariners. What’s the draw there?
The draw for the major markets makes sense. Have a regional “rivalry” game, and all the casual fans (probably the ones that start the wave) come out of the woodwork, and watch a game or two. Those fans that watch baseball on a nearly daily basis already? Well, they likely don’t gain much from this.
The supposed “rivalries” that exist between regional teams that only meet for a few games per year? Those aren’t real rivalries. Those are just draws to sell extra tickets over a weekend, and nothing more. They might be considered rivalries between the fans, and that’s fine. If an Oakland A’s fan wants to sit around arguing the relative merits of his team against a San Francisco Giants fan, they’re certainly welcome to do that, and feel as if there’s some sort of rivalry there, but there is no rivalry unless the players feel it.
Players feel rivalries like the Giants and Dodgers, the Red Sox and Yankees, Cardinals and Cubs. They get excited to play in those games. That’s why those games are fun. The energy starts on the field, and feeds up into the stands, where it’s felt by the fans, rather than being produced by TV marketing executives.
Is interleague play fun for the casual fans? Yes. You know what else is fun for casual fans? The wave, or knocking beach balls around the park. I don’t watch baseball for the wave. I don’t watch baseball for any stupid stuff fans sometimes do. I watch baseball because it’s the greatest game on earth. What happens when you have interleague play? The quality of the game drops. I don’t want to see that.
How to fix this problem? Try only having interleague play for the world series and all-star game. Think of how much more exciting that would be.
The all-star game would take on a lot more meaning, even though it’s just an exhibition game. This would be a lot more fun than the current interleague schedule as it stands. Interleague play every week of the season? Not so much, as it loses its luster.