Monday, June 11, 2007

Interleague play and the Arizona commentators

There is allot of debate about the virtues or otherwise of interleague play. Some people think it is a great idea and adds to the entertainment level of Major League Baseball, others think it is the single greatest evil since the birth of Lindsay Lohan.

Taking a step back, interleague play is the term used to describe regular season Major League Baseball games played between teams in the American League and the National League. Prior to 1997, when interleague play was introduced, AL and NL teams only met in the World Series or in exhibition games.

As with everything in life, there are those who support the interleague games, and those who don't. Those against it are generally traditionalists who are against big changes to the way the game of baseball is played and they one of their biggest arguments against it is that The World Series and All-Star game are robbed of some of their mystique that used to result from the two leagues playing completely exclusive schedules during the regular season. Other arguments are few and far between, bar 'It just shouldn't be that way!'

While watching the Arizona Diamondbacks coverage of last night's Boston v Arizona game, the D-Backs colour analyst, the great Mark Grace, professed to not liking the idea. I found just watching the game with their commentary to be one of the many arguments for interleague play. I have to say I haven't enjoyed commentary like that in some time. I found Grace and the main analyst, Daron Sutton, to be interesting, informative and entertaining.

They were rooting for the Diamondbacks, but very respectful of the Red Sox. They had plenty of insightful, interesting comments to make and were also pretty funny. They clearly cared for the D-Backs. For me, as a baseball fan, what is great about interleague play is finding out about these teams and players that you normally would not be exposed to.

Okay, last night's game was a bit of a let down in that Boston lost, but it was a real spectacle, with an energized, full-house-crowd cheering their talented young team on. It was a spectacle baseball fans would be denied without interleague play, and at the end of the day MLB is an entertainment industry.

On a week in which I caught games on the irritably bad YES network (the Yankee commentators are absolutely brutal) and the laughably comical White Sox station (the White Sox commentators are absolutely horrendous), Daron Sutton and Mark Grace were a refreshing and entertaining change. Next time I am looking for a good game to watch and spot an interesting pitching matchup in Arizona, I won't hesitate to tune in.

Check Sutton and Grace out some time, thoroughly enjoyable commentary team.

8 comments:

Dave said...

I love interleague play. I've been able to see teams like the Cardinals and Mets, who'd I never see otherwise (unless I scored WS tickets).

The YES guys are horrendous. Even Orsillo and Remy get on the Sox if they screw up. Jeter could kill a puppy and eat its liver on the field and the YES guys would say he's a saint for doing it.

Cormac said...

You hit the nail right on the head, the YES guys are so biased it isn't even funny. They aren't as bad as the White Sox guys though, and that's saying something. Good lord, those guys are bad.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I am of the group that wants interleague play gone. It creates inequitable schedules and makes many teams take odd road trips. I'd rather see games played against teams inside my league that mean something so much more. Matchups like the Mets vs. Yankees has lost its allure because they play 6 times a year (6 guaranteed sellouts, of course)...

Cormac said...

Whilst taking your comments on board I respectfully disagree. The schedule is never going to be 100% perfect, you can't satisfy everybody's wishes.

I can't see how watching Boston v Kansas would be more entertaining to me, a Boston fan, than watching Boston v Arizona, which was really very enjoyable.

Dave said...

I think they've tried to address the inequity issue by having the teams in one division play interleague games against the same teams in the NL, plus the "rival" team. And for the Sox and Yanks, the Braves and Mets are pretty even as far as that goes.

It does create weird schedules, such as the Sox not playing Tampa Bay until July 3 or the Yanks playing Detroit and the Angels for 11 days in a row. But I don't think that is as much a negative as some say it is.

blacksoxfan said...

I despise interleague play. I think it messes things up and takes away from the World Series. It's less big of a mystery of the winner if the two teams have already played.


As for the commentary, I have always loved Gracey. Sutton I am less of fan of, maybe because he replaced Thom Brennamen who broadcasted for the D'Backs since the beginning. Sutton isn't too bad except when he yells out "Lets get some runs" really loud and makes the mike pop. Other than that, not to bad. Even the D'Backs backups aren't bad. Joe Garagiola is one the more interesting people to listen to as a color anylist with his stories of growing up with Yogi Berra and playing with Bob Gibson. It's great.

blacksoxfan said...

it is an insult to the state of Arizona to compare the Royals to AZ.

Cormac said...

''it is an insult to the state of Arizona to compare the Royals to AZ.''

That's kind of my point. I was saying I would RATHER watch Boston play an interesting interleague game against Arizona than a league game against someone LIKE Kansas, sorry Rich Meade and the other seven Kansas fans out there.

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