Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with the fact that some teams get punished every year for playing a tougher interleague schedule than others. When home field advantage for the postseason hinges on best record, that can be a big deal. Yet, no system is perfect so I’ll just deal with it.
What made the last three days in Cincinnati so special was the newness of visiting a National League park and city and of the course the fact that the Tigers won two of three. All three games seemed to carry a playoff feel. You can’t quite get that when you play a divisional opponent this early in the year. It also helps that the Reds are a first place team.
Saturday’s two-out rally in the eighth inning started by a Brennan Boesch double and Sunday’s unlikely comeback from four runs down, were two of the gutsier wins by the Tigers this year. The atmosphere was tremendous because of the thousands of Tigers fans who made the trek to Cincinnati to support their team.
While I’m warming to the fact that interleague play has its merits, the addition of the Houston Astros to the AL next year will have an impact on scheduling. Beginning next season, both leagues will have 15 teams and baseball is moving toward season-long interleague play. With the DH in the AL, scheduling could be a nightmare under the season-long plan. In other words, if an American League team in playoff contention ended the season in a National League park and had to sit its DH, that would not be good.
While baseball continues to mull over the future structure of interleague play, the Tigers take their act to Wrigley Field beginning Tuesday night. They last appeared there in 2006. If that series was any indication of things to come, the Tigers might just be ready to roll.