Reporting Eric Thomas
By: Eric Thomas
There seems to be several “givens” in life. You have to accumulate debt. You have to pick the restaurant and she is going to complain about it anyway. You have to hate the French. In baseball the brand spanking new one is that you have to hate interleague play.
If you dislike interleague play, you are as common as a fruit fly in a dumpster behind a produce stand. People take to their blogs and Facebooks to render their displeasure in typed English. They all act as though someone has thrown a gauntlet down and stepped away. I stifle a yawn. It takes its place on a shelf among the arguments that I am just bored having anymore.
I never set out to do it, but I seemed to have amassed a library of “Quit Whining” blogs on this website. I never intended to be the Ticket’s version of the cane shaking old man. But here I am. I remember when there wasn’t interleague play and everyone bitched about it. Now we have it and everyone hates it.
Baseball media long featured a tabernacle choir of whining. People complain about Pete Rose and the Hall. They complain about the DH rule. They complain about the salaries. They complain about the scouting and how inaccurate it is except for Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Even Bill James Baseball Abstract was nothing more than a Martin Luther list of allocated grievances. Whether or not these people are all right on merit has really nothing to do with it. There is a lot of crying in baseball.
For years (YEARS!) people whined and caterwauled about the lack of interleague play. They cried about how football had it, and hockey had it and blah blah blabberty blah. It was always two things: The lack of interleague play and the All Star game is meaningless.
Then after years and years of constant whining and complaining. Major League Baseball listened (to sagging attendance) and actually complied with the wishes of their fans. In 1997, many fans saw what they wanted: The Cubs play the White Sox and the Yankees played the Mets. All was right with the world.
Then we hated it. I sympathize with Major League Baseball. They of course want us to shut our mouths. We whine and stamp our feet, and then when we get what we want, we go back to whining. Because baseball fans know the truth deep down, all we really want is the whining in the first place, right?
The ironic thing is, interleague play is working out for the Tigers. Back when the Tigers played only AL teams they were getting crushed. Let’s remember this was a team that actually got SWEPT by the Twins right? At home, remember that? This whole ‘winning’ thing was absent in May. We sat at our TVs with our eyes welled in tears and our laps filled with uneaten Ruffles, wondering why the team that we were pinky swore promised stunk oh so bad this year.
The Tigers have worked out on teams the same way that a boxer works out on a tomato can fight before the big bout in Vegas. The Tigers have gotten their groove back in a year where started to look like they never would.
Still, people whine about that interleague play. Isn’t it more fun to curb stomp hapless teams than get skinned by the Twins in your home ballpark? By the way, the Tigers are also getting healthy right now. They had injury concerns during interleague play and still won. So there’s that.
But… it has nothing to do with interleague play. It’s the whining we have come here to do.