For many years, my seasons half been on a different timeline than most of the rest of the world. While others break the year up with firm divisions based on planting seasons, school schedules or celestial positioning, my schedule coincides with America’s pastime. The first day of Spring is the day pitchers and catchers report. Summer begins on opening day and lasts until the end of the last regular season game, at which point we inter fall. After the last out of the last game of the World Series, it is officially winter.
Clearly, I take baseball quite seriously, which is why I hate interleague play.
By the time interleague play entered the lexicon of American baseball fans, I was into my teen years and had been playing Little League longer than the average Major League career. I wasn’t sure about the concept in the beginning, but I’ve come to despise the weeks of summer when my home team plays the other league.
I grew up in the Deep South, a place where there is only one baseball team: the Atlanta Braves. Consequently, I have no desire to which “regional rivalries” like Kansas City vs. St. Louis, the Angels and the Dodgers or the Subway Series in New York. I don’t particularly care about the only two other teams below the Mason-Dixon, which didn’t exist until after I had been a Braves fan for over a decade. Neither do I have any desire to watch other National League teams wasting their time against the American League. I have no interest in that league till the tail end of fail. Right now, I’m more concerned with my team’s route to the Fall Classic.
But the the biggest reason I despise interleague play is that fact, yes fact, that American League Baseball is not real baseball. That’s bound to start some fights here.
I’m what many refer to as a baseball purist, but one doesn’t have to be a purist to understand that the American League doesn’t play by the rules. All you must do is refer to Rule 1.01, the very first rule of baseball:
Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each, under direction of a manager, played on an enclosed field in accordance with these rules, under jurisdiction of one or more umpires.
An American League line-up, with the exception of games in which those teams are lucky enough to set foot on National League grass, consists of 10 players.
The designated hitter rule is an abomination. It’s poker with a fifth ace. It’s subbing a linebacker for the punter after the punt. It’s replacing Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting skills with Marlon Brando’s, but keeping the pretty face.
As long as interleague play exists, I will grudgingly watch my home team each game. I’ll watch as a bench warmer goes in at first or in left so the every day guy can DH. I’ll watch it, but I won’t be happy about it.
What am I talking about? No matter how much I hate the DH or despise interleague play, I’ll be ecstatic just to watch the greatest game on the planet– even if it’s the silly fake American League version.