Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stroing A Wrench

I remember when I first heard talk of baseball going to 15 teams in each league thinking not only that there would have to be at least one interleague series going on at any given time, but also that that would mean a lot more interleague games.

Now that it's true that the Astros will be joining the AL West in 2013, I'm thinking about this again. The first part is true. Interleague, all year long. However, I keep trying to do the math on this, and I keep coming up with the fact that the number of interleague games doesn't necessarily have to increase. Tell me if I have this right:

162 games. Essentially 54 three-game series. That's a little off, though, because you play some fours and some twos. For example, the Red Sox had 52 series last season, all of them being three games long except for 10 four-gamers and 4 two-gamers, accounting for the extra 6 games [(52 x 3) + 6 = 162].

There are 30 teams. Meaning 15 series are going on at any given time. If you make it so there's exactly one interleague series going on at any time, a team would have to play an interleague series once every 15 series. With 52 total series, that's a total of 3-4 interleague series a year for each team, making a total of roughly 9 to 12 games.

So unless I've messed something up, isn't it true that with two 15-team leagues, each team would only have to play a minimum of 9-12 games against a team from the other league for the thing to function? And if that's the case, and Bud still wants his 6 interleague series for each team, couldn't they just keep it at that many? (And to keep the number of intraleague games the same as it's been.) I'm just saying, while it doesn't HAVE to go down, it doesn't have to go up, either.

So they could do something like: A team plays its interleague games every 15 series, plus have two weekends where EVERY team plays interleague (since Bud obviously likes that). Instead of one interleague series in May and five in June, a team would have, for example, one in early April, one in mid-May, one in late June, one in early-August, and one in early-September. Those would be series where only them and their opponent are playing interleague. Then they'd also have a May and a June interleague series, at which point ALL the teams are doing so (maybe those could be the two "fake-ass rivalry" series). And there's your six series each. Only two teams would be in interleague for the opening series in April, and only two would end the season in interleague, and since there seems to be worry over pennant-race interleague, you'd know that you'd only have one September IL series maximum, with about a third of the teams not even having one.

Do I have this right or is there something I'm not thinking of?

Also, I still hate interleague!

I think I read somewhere that they are trying to balance the schedule so each team would play everyone else in baseball, so you would not have teams in the same division playing 17-19 games against each other. A strong team in a weak division like the AL West could not cruise to a playoff spot playing 4 weak teams that many times. Also this would eliminate complaints about one team in a division playing interleague games against weaker teams from National League divisions, ie: Sox vs Cards and Brewers, Yankees vs Astros and Pirates. Everyone would have the same schedule so there would be more interleague play with that type of schedule. You can divide the number of games played against each opponent a few different ways. Play 5 against each NL team and 6 against AL teamsa nd you get 159 games and the playoffs can start a few days earlier for the new Wild Card playoff game.
I can't imagine they'd do it where the number of games against the other league would be anywhere close to the number against your own. Even in the other sports (where they play by the same rules), you play your own division/league more.

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