I’m torn on interleague play.
In some instances I think it’s great. I love seeing the Mets vs. Yankees, Cubs vs. White Sox, Reds vs. Indians, Dodgers vs. Angels, and Nationals vs. Orioles. These are all great series for baseball to have each regular season.
On the other hand, I’d make some changes to interleague play such as reducing it to eight games every season, with each team playing a home-and-home four-game series with their geographical rival. But that’s neither here nor there.
Aside from the debates surrounding the topic of interleague play in the real sport, I'm looking to ask a different question: does interleague play affect sports gaming?
The most legitimate criticism of interleague play in the real game is inequalities in strength of schedule. This is at least partially the result of uneven leagues (NL has 16 teams, AL has 14 teams), which Major League Baseball hopes to fix with Houston moving to the AL West next season. But with the “natural rivals” concept in place, two teams in the same division will have a drastically different strength of schedule depending on the strength of their rival in any given year. As much as I love the “natural rivals” concept, maybe it’s time to ditch it?
Now let’s take the same concepts to gaming, do they translate?
In my opinion, these disparities really don’t matter in gaming. With the human elements of player skill and things like sliders, I don’t see that interleague play is a big deal at all. I recognize that it creates the same strength of schedule issues as the real game, but the importance of these inequalities just isn’t as important. I actually enjoy being able to play interleague games in my baseball video game. In video game form I think it retains much of the uniqueness that made it an appealing idea to the powers that be in baseball, oh so many years ago.
I wouldn't like to see interleague play go in video game form, but I am in favor of reducing it in the real game. It's sort of how I feel about the DH. I hate the DH rule in real baseball, but I think it can be a fun idea in a video game. That said, I don't think interleague play has any major affect on baseball gaming when you come down to it.
Sound off OS! Does interleague play affect you or your virtual squad?