Another season of baseball’s cross-league mixer has come to an end and I thought it would be interesting to discuss the results from both a statistical and a financial point-of-view.
First, a little background. For roughly a century, the American League and the National League played their regular season games oblivious of each other. The only time teams from the two leagues would see each other in a meaningful game would be during the World Series. But five years ago, baseball decided to add a handful of Interleague games to the schedule each season to help sell tickets.
Purists screamed and argued that the integrity of the game was at stake but I think the numerous work stoppages and outrageous salaries have taken care of that. I agree that interesting geographical World Series match-ups such as St Louis-Kansas City (“I-70 Series” in 1985), Oakland-San Francisco (“Bay Bridge Series” in 1989), or Yankees-Mets (“Subway Series” in 2000) lose some significance because the teams have met but I feel that this pales in comparison to the fact that a fan in Seattle would otherwise never gets to see great players like Bonds or Maddux and the fan in Atlanta wouldn’t get to see A-Rod or Clemens. Another good result is that the World Series should be slightly more competitive as the visiting teams will have a little more practice playing by the other league’s rules come October.
The schedule is still a mess as there are more NL teams, the divisions are different sizes and the league wants to promote geographic rivals every year. However, the concept is good and lots of tickets are being sold so it isn’t going away anytime soon. These games represent roughly 10% of the schedule so as a bettor it is worth your …