Two years ago, the first article I published on this blog dealt with interleague play and how I thought it had lost its luster. I still feel that way and last night’s crowd at Yankee Stadium supports my theory. I was one of the announced 47,874 fans in attendance, meaning the first Subway Series game of 2011 was not a sellout.
I realize the weather forecast was not great and the pitching matchup—Freddy Garcia vs. R.A. Dickey—didn’t excite the average fan. But it’s still Yankees-Mets on a Friday night. The crowd was late to arrive and didn’t make much noise once they got there. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who played in the first Subway Series in 1997, called the atmosphere “subdued,” though he admitted that may have been party due to the lack of offense (the Mets won 2-1; the Yanks had four hits).
As I noted in my previous interleague play article, the Subway Series has been just another set of games for the past few years. That first Yanks-Mets matchup (which I also attended) had a playoff feel to it. The thing is, three years into interleague play, in 2000, the New York teams did meet in the real playoffs—the World Series—and all games since have seemed less meaningful because of it.
Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson suggested to reporters after last night’s game that the Subway Series be limited to one three-game set per season, alternating every year between Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, and I hope MLB listens.
|My Yankee fan friend who invited me wouldn’t let me wear Mets gear, but he couldn’t stop me from taking a photo of Carlos Beltran.|
On top of the lack of interest (which ticket sales confirm), interleague play is also not fair from a competitive standpoint. The Yankees have been extremely good since the start of interleague play and, given their payroll, stand to be good for the foreseeable future. Yet the Mets have to play them six times a season. The Subway Series and interleague play as a whole have shown there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so for the second time in three years I’m making my case for a reduction, alteration, or outright elimination of interleague play.