Kevin Price commentary: Interleague play losing steam, fans

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 22, 2011 

All but two of the 30 Major League Baseball teams began interleague play this weekend.

With two more teams in the National League than the American League, there always has to be a true NL game while the other 28 teams play someone from the other league. This weekend it is Milwaukee and Colorado.

Interleague play was an idea born as a way to increase interest after the 1994 players’ strike and the cancellation of the World Series that year.

When it was first introduced in 1997, it served its purpose. But it is an idea whose time has come and gone.

If you are a fan in New York (Mets and Yankees), Chicago (Cubs and White Sox), San Francisco-Oakland (Giants and A’s) or Los Angeles (Dodgers and Angels), there is great reason to love interleague play for there is the intracity rivalry to settle.

Perhaps, fans of teams in Texas (Astros and Rangers), Missouri (Cardinals and Royals), Ohio (Red and Indians) or Florida (Marlins and Rays) can enjoy a inter-state rivalry.

There is even a geographic rivalry for fans of Washington and Baltimore and Milwaukee and Minnesota, but for the rest the fans of MLB, what is the appeal?

For Braves fans, Atlanta is playing this weekend at the Angels. Later this season, the Braves host the Rangers and the Blue Jays, before visiting the Mariners and the Orioles.

Is it possible to generate any excitement about any of those series?

SEC baseball tournament

The Southeastern Conference baseball tournament begins next week in Hoover, Ala., with what would appear to be three clear-cut favorites in Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Those three teams certainly dominated during the regular season as evidenced by their 22-8 conference records, which was six games better than the next best, Georgia’s 16-14.

But there is an old cliche in baseball that momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.

Clearly the truth in that cliche was in evidence Thursday night when former Glenwood standout Nathan Kilcrease pitched a five-hitter against second-ranked South Carolina.

With Georgia facing Vanderbilt and Auburn facing South Carolina, the odds are the Bulldogs and Tigers will face each other in Thursday’s second round.

Kevin Price,, 706-320-4493

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