Those are the two glaring disadvantages for American League teams playing in National League parks. What happens when NL teams travel to AL parks? They gain a hitter!
That’s right, when the Nationals travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles every season, they get to add a hitter to their lineup. Even though their pitchers are better hitters than the O’s pitchers, they still are not generally good hitters. So if Matt Stairs is the first hitter off the bench for the Nats, he gets to be the designated hitter instead of the pitcher batting in AL parks.
It can be argued, and it’s true, that NL teams have a slight disadvantage with the DH because they do not usually have a starting caliber player on the bench. The Nats don’t have a Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz, or Jim Thome to pencil into the DH spot.
But that small disadvantage is nothing compared to the obstacles that AL teams face in NL parks.
Not to mention, what is with the random scheduling of interleague games? The Red Sox and Yankees both get to play the Cubs, one of the worst teams in baseball. On the other hand, the Orioles play three series’ against the NL Central, and all three of the teams that they will play currently have winning records.
So on top of the payroll discrepancies and the unbalanced league schedule, the Orioles and numerous other teams also get screwed with interleague scheduling.
Really, at this point, is interleague play really necessary? It is really fair? Honestly, is interleague play still good for the sport?
Personally, I think interleague play has run its course. It was cool at first, but now the downfalls and criticisms seem to be carrying more weight and gaining more attention than the uniqueness and freshness that defined the concept a decade ago.
Let’s get back to playing all league games throughout the course of a season. I like how it used to be when the only time an American League team squared off against a National League team was in the World Series.
It’s time to get back to that.