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None of this is to say that interleague should be removed. What it does say is don’t use those past numbers as propaganda to say how much more popular interleague is since it came into place in 1997. As the numbers now show, it’s pretty much a wash. Enjoy it for what it is, not some monumental popularity shift added to the regular season.
The only change I would make is that beginning in 2016, after the current three-year interleague divisional scheduling cycle ends, I would make games played by the visiting league's rules. For 10 games a year, let fans at Rangers Ballpark see pitchers hit; let those at Nationals Park see the DH. That would add a new dimension to interleague play.
Obviously what you want is to get more games into the 'rivalries' and 'games people really care about' categories.
I hate that we're at this point, but given that we are at this point, we really might as well go ahead and do total regional realignment. Mets-Red Sox wouldn't be Mets-Yankees, but there'd still be a lot more interest than Mets-Royals.
I'm surprised that this apparently wasn't the point all along to everything Selig has been doing. Of course, he might assume he has 20 more years left so he still has time.
Hey if you have four 8 team leagues and you keep the AL/NL names you need to have the traditional 8 in the American and National leagues! Tradition!
AL - Yanks, Tigers, Red Sox, Athletics, Orioles, Twins, Indians, White Sox
NL - Phils, Braves, Pirates, Cubs, Cards, Dodgers, Giants, Reds
Mets, Marlins, Nationals, DBacks, Rockies, Padres, Brewers
Mariners, Angels, Rangers, Rays, Blue Jays, Astros, Royals
So if you want geography
Mets, Marlins, Nats, Blue Jays, Rays, Royals, Brewers, Eastern/Midwestern expansion for EL
DBacks, Rockies, Padres, Angels, Astros, Rangers, Mariners, Western expansion for WL
And for most if not all of that time, 3 of the 5 series were weekend series. Then the comparison made in the media (no doubt quoting MLB press releases) would be to games up to that point in the season (i.e. April/May when it was cold, rainy and school wasn't out yet).
4 of 6 series, at least for AL teams. I never bothered to look into what the NL teams had for interleague series; was it just a few teams that only had 5 series? Also, any two team city is going to have a natural boost to attendance for the rivalry games due to two fanbases being interested in going.
Also I do think Selig has been working to diminish league distinctions and move toward his original "radical realignment" plan step by step.
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