You won’t hear negative feedback from baseball fans on the new proposed interleague scheduling plan that shortens ‘natural rivalry’ series from its current six-game format to four-games in most seasons.
What baseball fans want most in season scheduling is fairness, which is exactly the aim of the proposal to begin in time for the 2013 season.
I’ve never bought into the ‘natural rivalries’ anyway. The Cubs & White Sox are hardly rivals. Same can be said for the Mets & Yankees, Reds & Indians, Dodgers & Angels and so on…
Baseball fans have never confused these series as true sports rivalries, which can only be born from great competition among two teams on the playing field–not in the marketing department of MLB.
Rivalries develop over time, beginning most often during the regular season and then further progressing during playoffs series.
What they’re not is ‘natural’.
WHAT GOOD ARE REGIONAL RIVALRIES?
Although close proximity of fan bases often enhances the competitive juices among spectators, it’s more a coincidence than it is an ingredient of a true rivalry.
‘Natural Rivalry’, mind you, is merely a term coined by MLB to fatten the wallets of team owners. Three games against cross-town or cross-state teams usually means three games with increased gate numbers–basically, more money.
But good for business doesn’t necessarily translate to good for the game or good for the fans, even if baseball itself claims otherwise.
I’d be remised, of course, not to mention tremendous competition has, at times, developed during these ‘regional rivalry’ series. But sacrificing a few enjoyable moments for a more fair and dramatic pennant race is a no-brainer.
WHAT GOOD BASEBALL FAN WOULDN’T AGREE?
I couldn’t care less if the Cubs vs. White Sox series is reduced to four-games, or none for that matter. What’s wrong with sticking to the rotation that pairs each interleague division against each other every three years? Seems fair enough.
The last thing baseball needs are fake rivalries. There are plenty of good ones to begin with: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Yankees vs. Red Sox (before MLB & ESPN killed it on Sunday Night Baseball), Giants vs. Dodgers, among others.
The current scheduling imbalance in baseball is both ridiculous and embarrassing. Properly fixing the interleague schedule is a good first step towards leveling an unbalanced playing field and setting the stage for closer division races in September.
I’m certain, however, baseball can do even better, such as implementing instant replay, eliminating the stupidity of the All Star Game and lifting the television blackouts in out of area markets…but I’ll leave that discussion for another post at another time.
For the time being, let me be the first to say, thank you baseball, may we have another?