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Blog Entry

Interleague attendance is (no surprise) higher

Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 3:09 pm
 
Bud Selig loves interleague play. Baseball as a business loves interleague play (even if those who play and manage the games often don't).

And for anyone who thinks there's any chance interleague play is going away, I'll present the press release that Major League Baseball sent out Tuesday.

"Interleague average attendance up 18.2 percent over intraleague," it reads.

So the fans love interleague play, too? This proves it, doesn't it?

Well, not exactly.

The 18.2 percent figure is accurate, but it's also misleading, because it compares the average attendance for interleague games this year to the average attendance for intraleague games this year.

And why is that not fair?

-- It includes all those bad-weather nights in April and early May, when there were plenty of intraleague games but zero interleague games.

-- Even in years when weather isn't a big factor, baseball attendance always goes up once school is out. And when are the bulk of interleague games played? Immediately after school is out, and just when the weather improves. Except for one weekend series in mid-May, all interleague games this year were played between June 17 and July 3. Attendance always goes up this time of year, and in fact baseball announced Tuesday that July 4 (all intraleague games) was the second-highest attendance day of the season, behind June 19 (which featured interleague games).

-- Of the six interleague series that most teams play (some NL teams play only five), four of them are scheduled for weekends, and only two are midweek. So two-thirds of interleague games are one weekends, vs. a little less than half of intraleague games.

But even if the comparisons are faulty, the press release is plenty meaningful. Baseball as a business loves interleague play, and baseball as a business wants us to believe that interleague play is a huge, huge success.

Interleague play is not going away.

*****

Complaints about the fairness of interleague play aren't going away, either. The main complaints are that teams in the same divisions don't play the same schedule, and also about inequities caused by the use of the designated hitter in one league and not the other.

The Indians, who have a full-time DH in Travis Hafner (he hasn't played an inning in the field since 2007), had to play nine straight games without him in the lineup each of the last two years.

Asked what he can do about it, manager Manny Acta said, "Continue to whine and complain. If it was up to me, we'd use the DH every game. What's the downfall, not having the pitcher hit? I understand about being a purist, which I am, too, but I think we [American League teams] are the only ones that don't get anything out of it."

Category: MLB
Comments

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Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 5, 2011 11:58 pm
 

Interleague attendance is (no surprise) higher

The exclusivity of baseball's "leagues" is silly, if it weren't there would be at least one other major American sport that does it. All of that will end eventually and interleague play will be no different than interconference play in any other league.


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