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Jim Leyland blasts interleague play

May 18, 2011, 9:13 AM EDT

jim leyland

Jim Leyland’s Tigers begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday, and he’s not at all happy about it or interleague play in general:

The appeal of interleague play, Leyland said, “has worn off for me. It was a brilliant idea to start with, but it has run its course.” He knows that higher-ups, such as his good friend Commissioner Bud Selig, won’t want to hear it, but Leyland spoke his mind all the same. “I’ll probably get chewed out for (saying) it,” he said, “but I think a lot of people feel the same way … I’m on the (Commissioner’s) committee, and I’ll probably get a phone call,” said Leyland, “but I don’t really care. That’s totally ridiculous.”

This is shocking. Not Leyland’s feelings, but that he’s on one of Bud’s committees and has a dissenting view.  To hear Selig tell it, every committee he has ever formed was unanimous in its agreement with whatever proposals he had. Who knew that wasn’t the case?

As for Leyland: his beef is that interleague play is unfair.  Particularly for the Tigers who, between Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila have three great bats and only two positions in which to put them when playing in an NL park. Which does kind of stink, but there is some evening out of that when NL teams visit AL parks and have to use a bat that normally isn’t worthy of being in the lineup as their DH.

The more fundamental unfairness of interleague play in my mind is that it leads to teams in the same division playing different schedules.  If your “designated rivalry” team is really good, you’re getting a tougher draw than another team in your division who plays more games against also-rans.  Combine this with the fact that the unbalanced schedule means that wild card competitors often face varying degrees of scheduling difficulty and the unfairness of it all is exacerbated.

One game often makes the difference in a pennant race. And baseball has intentionally pursued a scheduling strategy that slants the toughness of the competition by more than a game.  Which is absolutely maddening even if the financial incentives behind interleague play are obvious.

So spout off all you want, Jim.  You’re not alone in thinking that interleague’s novelty has worn off and the benefits at this point are outweighed by the problems.

  1. kellyb9 - May 18, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    I agree with Leyland. I think its an unnecessary novelty. I would prefer to see these players only play each other twice a year, All Star Game and the World Series.

  2. banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Or just have the NL adopt the DH rule. No one wants to see Tim Lincecum hit.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 18, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      Oh god, now you’ve done it!

      /ducks

    • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 9:39 AM

      Or the AL could drop the DH rule…

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM

        Yeah, you’re right. I’d much rather watch Ubaldo Jimenez wave blindly at a pitch than David Ortiz look like he knows what he is doing.

      • Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        Maybe you’d like to see Derek Jeter pitch, then?

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        #sarcasm

      • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        Why not eliminate the whole “baseball” portion of baseball, and just watch Big Papi take batting practice. Much more exciting that way – which is, you know, the only thing that matters.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Yeah, by having a compentent hitter swing for a relatively bad one its completely changing the game. We should just give hitters aluminum bats and pitchers catchers gear and hope for the best too right? While we are going to extremes we should juice the balls and see what happens. You know, since having a DH is completely taking the baseball out of baseball and all.

      • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        It’s not completely changing the game, but it is endorsing a philosophy that can be reduced to the absurd without much difficulty. That was my point.

        One of the interesting things about baseball is that hitting strategies have to be adjusted to account for the really bad hitters, while still keeping them in the game to take advantage of their defensive contributions. An obvious solution to that problem would be to rewrite the rules to remove the bad hitters from the lineup, but it’s foolish to pretend as though in that transaction you aren’t losing something or changing something fairly basic about the game.

        But hey, if what you’re really concerned with is proving that the DH rule is not the baseball apocalypse, you’re right. The DH rule is not the baseball apocalypse.

    • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      I want to see Timmy hit. There have been 13 pitchers to homer in world series history, and one of them was hit by Joe Blanton, which was one of the more exciting games of Phillies history. I wouldn’t want to trade that up. It was beautiful and shocking all at the same time. In the World series. I’ll never forget that hit. That overrules any “logic” you want to bring with the DH argument.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        Well played, Mauer.

    • kellyb9 - May 18, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      Maybe he’d be able to hit if some of the minor league systems didn’t also adopt the DH rule.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        Its hard enough to put people in a minor league park, let alone trying to do so while letting pitchers take hacks.

      • Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        Drop the price of hot dogs back to $1.00 and stop charging extra for the relish. They will come.

        And if I’m not mistaken, the minor leagues have been undergoing something of a renaissance the last decade or so. Imagine how the fans would pay to come watch verité blooper real extenuating before them if the current designatedhitterball teams had to dump all their no-run, no-field Sons of Kong back into the minors to make room for some more pitching and defense?

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

        I’m just stating the facts. The majority of people would rather watch a regular hitter swing it rather than a pitcher. No matter how bad you long for the “good old days” before the DH, the game is ran on the premise that people in the seats means the game is sucessful. You have a valid point as well, but the solvency of the game will always be directly tied to the asses in the seats.

      • kellyb9 - May 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        I’d like to watch baseball… not the home run derby.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        Considering runs/game are at something like a 15 year low this year, I would say its safe to assume that you’re not watching a home run derby.

      • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        “I’m just stating the facts.”

        Not so much, look at your thumbs on your original post. If anything, it splits and leans toward leaving the NL as it is.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM

        It was obviously sarcasm when I said the NL should adopt the DH. The fact that I am stating is that the majority of baseball fans (and I’m counting people like yourselves as something more than just the common fan who shows up to games from time to time) would rather see offense.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      banksy… here, here! OUTSTANDING POST! You are 100% SPOT ON!!!

      TWO THUMBS UP!!!!

      At a minimum, ALL interleague games should be played using the DH rule; that would be a step in the right direction. For all of you so called “traditionalist” honks out there, Leland is 100% right when he (in essence), says that AL teams are unfairly handicapped in these games because by losing the DH for half of them, you’re forcing most managers to lose their #3 or #4 hitter.

      How would National League fans feel about being forced to sit their #3 or #4 hitters? (answer: they’d howl like a scalded dog!).

      I don’t think that interleague play should go away, but I do think that there are too many games. It needs to be cut to two three game home and home series with (in most cases), the designated geographic rival, and two three game series (one series at home and one on the road), that rotate over time from division to division in the opposing league.

    • Glenn - May 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      I believe that the National League is the only league anywhere (professional or amateur) that DOESN’T have the DH. Like it or not, the NL is the outlier here.

      • bigbbfan - May 18, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        You are absolutely correct….but in their dimwitted veiw the rest of the baseball universe is wrong and they are right .

  3. dwishinsky - May 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Interleague play is awful. For all those “cool” rivalries A’s-Giants, Dodgers-Angels, Mets-Yankees, you have a ton of real clunkers. I know I’ll be rushing out to see the Marlins-A’s this year… or who hasn’t waited to see Astros and Rays restart their opposite ends of Gulf of Mexico rivalry? Virtually any interleague game involving Seattle, Colorado or Arizona is pointless as well.

    • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the celebrated return of the storied Giants/Twins rivalry in June.

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        No, no… THE best rivalry in baseball during rivalry weekend, bar none, has to be the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks!!!

      • Matt - May 18, 2011 at 5:07 PM

        Purdue – The Blue Jays/Diamondbacks rivalry has a whole new source of intrigue now that the AZ police will be asking everyone in a blue jays uniform to prove their citizenship or face deportation!

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

        matt: LOL! Anyone who’s ever had to go through customs at the Toronto airport knows that the Canucks up there think that all Americans are felons and terrorists. Turnabout is fair play!

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      What makes interleague play awful is the NL not allowing the use of the DH in games played in NL parks. That’s a lot like playing poker with a rule that disallows your opponent to play any Kings.

      The beauty though of baseball is that it’s an imperfect game; with 162 game season there’s room on the schedule for interleague play, but to your point there ARE too many of them scheduled. Per my earlier post, I’d like to see it dropped down to 12 games (two three game home and away series, one of which of course with your closet opposing league rival).

  4. Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Problems < Profits That's the MLB motto, so while you, a diehard fan feel it is outweighed in one direction. A conglomerate of businessmen who own teams, and run the MLB will always feel the exact opposite and overrule you every single time. They measure the success of MLB by profits, this is why many financial experts like to chime in on how to fix baseball. Because if it weren't for the money being made, baseball would be a complete failure. The business end of things always has ideas for making more money, and when they do, it usually sticks. This entire country measures success by profits, and baseball is no different. It may "suck" but I don't see it changing because of the financial side of things. This has more leverage up top than the replay "issue" I'd bet on that.

  5. sdelmonte - May 18, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    I’m with Jim on this, too. I have lost any interest in most of the matchups, and actively dread the two weekends of “Subway Series” hype. I would rather see my team play the Phils or Marlins, and I suspect many Yankees fans were more engaged by the last five days of games against real rivals than they will be this weekend.

    • kellyb9 - May 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      Interleague play against Boston always leads to a Phillies slump… I’m hoping this year it has the opposite effect… I’m not sure what a slump with Valdez, Orr, and Francisco playing the field would actually look like… It wouldn’t be pretty.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      Interleague play has been terrific for the White Sox for a reason unrelated to baseball. US Cellular, the home of the White Sox, is on Chicago’s near south side directly across the street from the former site of old Comisky Park.

      For decades the park was right across the freeway from the dreaded poor black high rises overflowing with gang bangers and welfare Mother’s on public assistance. In order to get to the park via the subway (or “L” as it’s called in Chicago), you had to walk right by one of these blighted buildings.

      Due to the White Sox ALWAYS having a very strong and visible show of police and security between the park and the subway stations (there are two adjacent lines that go there), people from downtown and further north up the lakeshore were scared to death to venture into the neighborhood.

      Over the past decade though, Mayor Daley finally got all of the public assistance housing bulldozed, and rumor has it gave all of the former residents a one way bus ticket to Detroit along with an egg salad sandwich to move out prior to the recking ball taking down the blighted slum structures.

      Since then the adjacent college campus has really grown and redevelopment has slowly occurred. Thanks to interleague play, Cub fans who would have otherwise NEVER gone to a game at US Cellular Field now of course do and they have created enormous positive buzz in the city about how safe the area surrounding the park now is and what a good baseball park the Cell is since its’ redesign several years ago.

      I now live in the LA Area and there really isn’t much of a rivalry between the Angels and Dodgers though; the two teams might as well play on different planets.

  6. Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    I enjoy interleague play immensely, except when the Feesh have to play designatedhitterball teams in their home park and the strategy-depleted tedium of designatedhitterball runs its turgid course for three hours. I understand the frustration of designatedhitterball managers who don’t get the chance to trot their musclebound gimps and clods who can’t run much or catch and throw a ball for pity’s sake up to the plate to show the fans what they learned in mammoth-hunting practice, but on the other hand, it’s great fun to watch designatedhitterball league pitchers come to the plate at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium with that deer-in-the-headlights corneal lamination and then dink a double down the line to shock and delight the local contingent of designatedhitterball team fans, especially Borg fans, who usually spend their time belching incessant platitudes about how boring it is when a pitcher bats.

    I think Jim Leyland is showing the effects of encroaching senile dementia accelerated by nicotine poisoning.

    • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 9:50 AM

      I wish I could give you 10 thumbs up.

      • Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        You can. First, log in frome each computer in your household with a separate IP address and give me a thumbs up, Then, go over to the local Fed Ex-Kinko’s and segue from computer to computer and give me another thumbs up from each one. Then, go over to the local CompUSA or TigerDirect store and ask to “try” a few machines to check out their speed, and give me the rest. I’ve just given myself one thumbs up, cutting your obligation down to 9, and given you a bonus thumbs up for caring. Do this, and I will personally treat you to a horsemeat and velveeta sandwich next time you’re in Macondo – subject to your signature on a waiver of cardiac liability form,

      • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

        I would take you up on that but remembered Cheese steaks are terrible in Fla. I’d probably opt for some red snapper and linguine with a cream sauce on the side if down there. Hey, “while in Rome”.

      • Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        Howsabout red snapper or Chilean sea bass with the unique and delicious “tallarine,” or Peruvian green linguine, with a creamy ajillo sauce? But you can have it your way.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        OK, Gator, now that you’ve got me thrown out of Staples……….

      • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        I’ll try pretty much any food , and like most of what I try. Besides raw fish meat or “innard” meats anyway. Sounds good though.

    • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Now now Gator, some of those interleague matchups are pretty dire to watch, so Leyland has a point. The more salient point is what J5 said; as long as its profitable it will continue to happen. Personally, since the Expos are no more (sniff) the whole thing has lost any appeal for me. There will be no Jays-Expos matchups, alas.

      • Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        Aww but let’s face it, how are Mariners-Twins matchups looking this season? How about Pittsburgh-Gnats? You don’t have to cross the existential border between real baseball and designatedhitterball for a dire matchup, the way you’d have to go back to the middle Pleistocene for a dire beaver.

        Anyway, all J5 was doing was paraphrasing Gordon Gekko: greed clarifies. I use it on my butter any time I’m cooking an Indian meal. Ghee whiz.

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

        If the snooze-fest of watching the Angels attempt to play major league ball against the A’s is anything to go by, you win the debate. Even the guys calling the game seemed half asleep last night.

      • wlschneider09 - May 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Dire Beaver?

        I think I saw a movie like that once…

    • kellyb9 - May 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      Greatest comment ever…..

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      oldgator… Thanks primarily to Angel Manager Mike Scoscia, the days of only “musclebound gimps and clods” being used primarily as teams DH’s, that simply is no longer the case. The number of teams who start a DH who rarely (if ever), plays in the field has significantly dwindled.

      The three “pure DH’s” left are Big Papi in Boston (and I don’t see Boston replacing him with another one dimensional player once they are done with Big Papi), Baltimore with Vlad Guerreo (who’s knees are of course shot), and Minnesota with Jim Thome (who now is on the DL but only gets about 2 starts a week now).

      The White Sox start Adam Dunn at DH, but Dunn can still play IB (and will be doing that platooning with Konerko during interleague play this year). The Tigers rotate 3 different guys through the position. The rest of the league uses the DH as a “true position”, rotating several starters in and out in order to be able to give their regulars an occasional day off their feet.

      As Ozzie Guillen points out too, while the now mostly obsolete “La Russa Double Switch” rule from a strategy standpoint has been replaced by the strategy of who AL teams place in the 9 spot in the order. Unlike in the NL where the 9 spot in the order is a virtual automatic out, in the AL the 9 spot if correctly used functions as a second lead-off man.

      What you don’t want in the AL is to have a plodder batting 9th, because that completely handcuffs the top of the order should a plodder get on base. Hence, you primarily see infielders with decent to good speed batting 9th, not the catcher who in the NL is oftentimes batting 8th in the order because he is a plodder and low on base percentage guy.

      If the NL doesn’t want to eventually get out of the 19th Century by adopting the DH rule, then they ought to just eliminate the 9 spot in the lineup and only bring 8 players up in the batting order, as the pitchers spot in the lineup is for the most part about as useful as teats on a bull.

      The DH rule was implemented by the AL over 40 years ago to add offense back in the day before the pitchers mound was lowered and attendance was plummeting because fans didn’t want to see a steady diet of 2-1 mostly offense-less games.

      Now that hitters are no longer roiding up and with the advent of the “specialty reliever” (i.e., designated set up man, closer, one batter lefty, etc.), if anything baseball needs the DH more than ever because like it or not, America loves offense or soccer would be our national pasttime.

      • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        Blah blah blah. DH. Blah Blah Blah. I know it all. Blah blah blah DH.

        Just remember, the AL is the league that changed the rules, not the other way around. So there’s that too.

      • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        ^^^ No one is going to read 8 paragraphs worth of stuff. Hell, I agree that the DH is good for the American League and I still shot a thumbs down at that.

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        banks… I didn’t realize that you are ADD (i.e., not being able to read “8 paragraphs”; geez, you’d think it was asking you to read the unabridged version of “War and Peace”!

        My logic is solid, but NL honks just can’t deal with logic.

  7. pestiesti - May 18, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Particularly for the Tigers who, between Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrea and Alex Avila have three great bats and only two positions in which to put them when playing in an NL park.

    Move Cabrera to third. Problem solved.

    -Tony La Russa

  8. yankeesfanlen - May 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    I have ESPECIALLY hated interleague ball since 6/15/08. Almost got over it on 6/12/09, but relapsed.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      yankees… ya, but I suppose that you prefer using an outhouse to indoor plumbing too, huh?

      • yankeesfanlen - May 18, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        Uh, I was kinda taking your (AL) position here but apparently to little intellectual effect.

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        yankees… my apologies; my reply wasn’t intended as any kind of a “shot” at you (but after re-reading it, I can see how it could come off that way).

        I was just being sarcastic about all those stuck in the mud, self-espoused “traditionalists” who continue to pine to keep baseball back in the 19th century by trying to turn back the clock by wanting to eliminate the DH, interleague play, wild card teams, instant replay (except for ball and strike calls which would be a disaster), etc..

        Interleague play isn’t going away though in our lifetimes for the following reasons:

        1) When true cross-town or cross-state rivals play, not only are all of those games guaranteed sellouts, but they are sell outs now mostly classified as being “premium games” with either much higher ticket prices and/or the requirement to buy a “bundle” of tickets including other (mostly dog), games;

        2) Most of the players want to keep it, because in cases where there are two teams in the same market, it means two more series where they don’t have to travel and can be either at home or their home away from home; and

        3) Fans in one market cities have spoken; they want the opportunity to see players that they otherwise wouldn’t get to see from outside of the league that their home team plays in.

      • jimbo1949 - May 18, 2011 at 4:03 PM

        Yes, a moment of silence for the career of Chien-Ming Wang.

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        jimbo… LOL! I heard a rumor that the Dodgers are also planning on releasing Sum Hung Lo and Mehav Little Dick too!!!!

  9. heyblueyoustink - May 18, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    If Leyland would like, I’m sure Charlie Manuel would be more than happy to take one of those bats for a few of those games just to keep them fresh and junk.

  10. Detroit Michael - May 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Odd that Jim Leyland would complain. During 2006-10 (since the Tigers became good), their interleague record is 63 wins and 27 losses. They also tend to benefit by the unbalanced schedule, playing more games against AL Central opponents than AL East and West opponents.

    In general, more variety is better than less variety in my opinion. Keep interleague games. Some of the match-ups are weak, but the average interleague match-up is no stronger or weaker than the average intraleague match-up, so that argument is unpersuasive.

    • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Something tells me that the teams on the low side of “average” would find the strength-of-matchup argument rather more persuasive than you have. And I think that’s sort of the point – the averages may work out fine on the league (or even division) level, but that’s only because some teams benefit to the same extent that other teams suffer.

      • Detroit Michael - May 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

        I agree that the interleague schedule isn’t implemented optimally.

        When first proposed, the teams in each division were supposed to face roughly the same opponents and it would rotate annually which AL division would face which NL division. Get rid of the whole rivalries thing in my opinion, which ends up creating the permanent uneven level of competition. If the Yankees and Mets (or whichever pair of rivals one wants to discuss) want to face each other frequently, ask Bud to make it happen in the next realignment.

      • rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        You can’t get rid of the rivalries without getting rid of the profitability, and you can’t get rid of the disparities without getting rid of the rivalries. Bah. The only solution to the problems with interleague play is to burn it, with hot, hot fire.

  11. spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Recently I read a quote, “Baseball is only dull to those with a dull mind”, or something similar. To wit, I add, the DH rule is only attractive to the Neanderthal, Knuckledragging, Simpletons too dense to appreciate the value of the well-rounded athlete, the intricate strategy of NL baseball and the inherent unfairness it proffers.

    • spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Oh, Yeah, Leyland is LaRussa’s best bud.

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        “the DH rule is only attractive to the Neanderthal, Knuckledragging, Simpletons too dense to appreciate the value of the well-rounded athlete, the intricate strategy of NL baseball and the inherent unfairness it proffers”
        -Hey! I resemble that remark!

      • spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        …And I always liked you and your Jays Cur.

    • Detroit Michael - May 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      That’s be a fine argument if only pitchers were well-rounded athletes. They aren’t. They play their entire professional careers prior to the NL in leagues with DHs and are promoted to the majors with precise zero consideration given to whether they are capable batters.

      • spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        Some are, some aren’t that is the rub and some clubs prefer pitchers who can hit, run, field their position, you know, real baseball players. I know the Cardinals are forcing their pitchers to hit in Spring Training, at all levels.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      spud… I can make up quotes that I think I may have read somewhere too, but all that would do is discredit me (so I won’t).

      Do you know what the job description of a PITCHER is? It’s to PITCH, not to HIT. The only purpose having the pitcher come up to attempt to hit serves is to give everyone the opportunity to plan their next bio break and/or run to the concession stands.

  12. The Rabbit - May 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Interleague: An experiment whose time has passed for this “all things baseball” fanatic.
    As much as I hate any day without baseball, if there is a God, all regular league games will resume today without weather interruptus with rain cancellations (if they are to be) delayed until interleague begins.
    We live in hope.

  13. freon311 - May 18, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Huge disparity this season for the Brewers, for example, have to play Minnesota, Boston, New York while St. Louis plays Kansas City, Toronto, Baltimore. (They share Tampa Bay as a common opponent.)

    • spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      This looked much like much more of a disadvantage before the season started. While, it can be argued over time it may balance out, this goes to Craig’s point, in any given year uncommon opponents are not a pure indication of rival team’s equal talents.

  14. bigbbfan - May 18, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    I like old gator’s proposal that Jeter pitch… All of the Jeterphiles could vote him a gold glove after he made one play from the mound…a jump and throw to first due to his consideralbe lack of range.

  15. natstowngreg - May 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    On being in the minority on both issues in this thread:

    – One of the worst so-called “strategies” in baseball: having a pitcher bunt with a runner on first and one out. Yeah, that’s really clever.

    – I was traumatized as a youth watching the Saturday Game of the Week and listening to Joe Garagiola call some .150-hitting pitcher a good hitter. If a pitcher is such a good hitter, let him bat for himself, and use him as a pinch-hitter on his days off. Gee, you think there’s a reason that rarely happens? Yes, every once in a while a pitcher actually does something offensively, but I’d rather watch someone who is getting paid to hit.

    – At the same time, I used to enjoy watching managers make moves, thinking that making a lot of “strategy” moves made one a good manager. I’ve learned better.

    On interleague play, put me in the “glass half-full” camp. I enjoy seeing AL teams in person. Even the Orioles (though the phony “Battle of the Beltways” rivalry thing is a bit much).

    • jimbo1949 - May 18, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      Must be tough having double switch Riggleman. He and LaRussa are twin sons of different mothers.

      • natstowngreg - May 19, 2011 at 1:35 PM

        Not really, because being a manager is much more than double-switching and calling the occasional squeeze bunt or hit-and-run.

        The team is within 2 games of .500, exceeding expectations despite injuries and poor offense. IMHO, Riggleman’s even-keel manner and a core of veteran leaders have something to do with it. I think he’s the right kind of manager for where the Nats are now. Whether he will be the right manager once the team becomes a contender, who knows?

        BTW, I always find it funny, when at a Nats-Cards game, to hear the Cards fans rip LaRussa.

  16. onix321 - May 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Do people really think the odd double switch makes the NL have more strategy and more exciting?

    Some people are really easily pleased.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      oxix… PUHL-EASE! The “La Russa Double Switch” is now largely irrelevant due to the advent of the “specialized relief pitcher”. In addition, most pinch hitters used in the double switch are punch and judy utility infielders. You get excited to see Aaron Miles pinch hit and then stay in the game? Oh wow! Now that’s exciting! (NOT!).

      Consider… every team now has a designated set up man to pitch the 8th and a closer to pitch the 9th innings. Most starters usually make it through 6 innings. That means that about the only time now that the double switch is relevant is when the starting pitcher happens to come up in one, and only one, inning in the 7th. Who cares?

      On the other side though, the added strategy in the AL due to the DH of having to pick the right guy to bat 9th in the order (who in essence acts as a second leadoff man more often than not), more than offsets a one inning double switch with a .250 hitting utility infielder. Think about it.

    • banksatdixie - May 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      “Ahhhh, soooo much strategy. Bahhhh, Dusty Baker made a great double switch.”

      Come on, don’t you know…its the most exciting play in baseball.

  17. koufaxmitzvah - May 18, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Oh, yes, the DH is such a step in the right direction.

    After all, last Saturday Jorge Posada was replaced by Andruw Jones in the 9 slot.

    I can hardly contain myself.

    • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      koufax… I’d rather see Andruw Jones (who hit 19 home runs last season as a platooning DH), bat than 99.9% of the pitchers or a punch and judy .250 hitting utility infielder like Aaron Miles come up to pinch hit so that his exciting brand of offense can then be kept in the game. Give me an ‘effing break!

      • koufaxmitzvah - May 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        As a Dodger fan, I saw Andruw Jones not hit .200 for most of his time at Chavez Ravine. And guess what? I’d rather see Kershaw take a hack.

        People are different, Purdue. And I happen to think the DH stinks. BFD.

      • purdueman - May 18, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        koufax… yes, it’s true, we all have our own “bar” in terms of what we consider to be entertainment. Watching Kershaw come up to hit indeed rates right up there… yup, it’s right there with equally entertaining pursuits like watching grass grow, paint dry and a 90 minute 0-0 soccer match!

        Has it ever occurred to you that the vast majority of players who are used in a double switch are lightweight hitting utility infielders? THAT, speaks volumes, when an Aaron Miles hitting .240 pinch hits for the pitcher, because at least he has a prayer at getting the bat on the ball in a meaningful manner.

        Jones years with the Dodgers were indeed a disaster, but you can’t paint the entire topic with one tainted brush, pal.

      • koufaxmitzvah - May 18, 2011 at 4:38 PM

        It’s called playing with what you got. Winning in spite of it all is the sign of a strong team.

  18. rebarratige - May 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Every time we accuse pitchers of being congenitally bad hitters, Rick Ankiel dies a little more inside.

  19. skerney - May 18, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Hey Leland, it’s called having to get creative with a lineup that has nine spots including the pitcher. You used to do it all the time and NL managers do it every day.

  20. danberman4 - May 18, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    I was never in love with interleague play. It always seemed contrived to me. An idea dreamed up by marketers. There are only a few match-ups that fans love and the rest are uninspiring.
    http://pinetarandbrickbats.blogspot.com/2011/05/back-to-interleague-play.html

  21. nocryinginbaseball07 - May 19, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Pitchers like the NL because they all secretly want to be hitters. And the joy on a pitcher’s face when he clubs a hit (not to mention the disgust on the opposing pitcher’s face) is worth the wait.

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