May 26, 2013
By Marc Lawrence
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We've already had a new taste of Interleague games on the MLB front this season. That occurred when Houston switched league affiliations, jumping over the American League from the National League.
In order to equally balance newly realigned 15-team leagues it became necessary to implement at least one Interleague series at all times.
Major League Baseball purists likely find it just as revolting as the adoption of full Interleague scheduling which began in 1997. But the bottom line is more and more natural geographical rivalries are forming.
Twist This Up
Aside form the mandatory need of scheduling Interleague games on a weekly basis this season, beginning this week MLB is serving up a new schedule format to enhance the "tradition of rivalries".
This year teams will play their natural rivals four times and the four games will be played consecutively, two games in one ballpark and two more in the other ballpark, starting this Monday-Thursday.
Balancing The Books
This year's schedule finds an increase of 20 Interleague games for every team.
For the first time ever the schedule is more equal with all teams in a division playing the identical Interleague opponents, with the exception of "natural rivals".
In years past the 14-team American League played 18 Interleague games while the 16-team National League played an imbalanced amount of games, either 15 or 18.
Entering the modified portion of Interleague games beginning this season the Junior Circuit, or the American League has held the upper hand in these contests, going 2,081-1,883 overall versus the Senior Circuit, or the National League.
In fact, in only three of the 16 seasons of Interleague play has the American League lost more Interleague games than the National League.
With the return to more Interleague rivalry games this week, here is a look at some of the more noteworthy results of series rivalries from the past.
Angels-Dodgers: Halos 13-5 last eighteen games; 10-3 last thirteen at Dodger Stadium; 14-6 last 20 at Anaheim Stadium.
Cardinals-Royals: Red Birds 12-6 last 18 games; 11-3 last fourteen at Kauffman Stadium.
Cubs-White Sox: Pale Hose 14-6 last twenty games; 10-5 last fifteen home and 8-2 last ten at Wrigley Field.
Giants-Athletics: Frisco 10-5 last fifteen games and 11-1 last twelve as a host; A's 7-2 last nine as host.
Indians-Reds: Tribe 9-4 last thirteen games; 4-11 last fifteen games when visiting the Queen City; 7-0 last seven host the Reds.
Marlins-Rays: Fish 1-9 last ten games; 4-11 last fifteen games in Tampa; 5-12 last seventeen games in Miami.
Orioles-Nationals: Birds 11-4 last fifteen as a host.
Yankees-Mets: Bronx Bombers 11-3 last fourteen games; 11-5 last sixteen as a visitor and 7-1 last eight at home.