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It started with a Tweet: The story behind the Bay Bridge Series trophy


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It started with a Tweet: The story behind the Bay Bridge Series trophy

April 9, 2018 - 17:35 PM

Some baseball purists still cringe at the notion of inter-league play during Major League Baseball’s regular season, but one indisputable benefit of the practice is the advent of cross-town series in markets with two teams. This gives us Mets-Yankees, Cubs-White […]

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On 4/9/2018 at 1:40 PM, SportsLogos.Net News said:

Some baseball purists still cringe at the notion of inter-league play during Major League Baseball’s regular season, but one indisputable benefit of the practice is the advent of cross-town series in markets with two teams.

 

That is not a benefit, because it applies only to a handful of teams.  For every Yankee-Met game or Cubs-Sox game or A's-Giants game you get plenty of Pirates-Twins games and Mariners-Braves games and other matchups that no one thinks are special.

Furthermore, the fact that a few teams play a particular interleague opponent every year undercuts the integrity of the schedule. It's bad enough that teams in different divisions, who therefore have radically different schedules, are ranked against each other for a wild card spot. But, because the A's are going to play the Giants even in years that the AL West is not matched against the NL West, this means that even teams within the same division do not play the same schedule. 

On top of that, interleague play solved a "problem" that did not exist. Mike Schmidt never played in an American League park. Don Mattingly never played in a National League park.  So what?  Both Major Leagues have always had plenty of great players; fans were never in any sense deprived by not seeing the stars of the other league.  These fans can now see every team in the opposite league once every three years (unless they're in one of those special cities -- eesh!), but at the cost of robbing the All-Star Game and even the World Series of some of their specialness.

Finally, interleague play has led to essentially throwing out half of the record book.  We used to know the individual leagues' career and single-season record holders. When Willie Mays passed Mel Ott for the National League career home run record in 1965, this was a big deal. When Ron Guidry struck out 18 hitters in a 1978 game, the fact that he had set the American League record for a left-hander was extremely important. 

 

Pete Rose was a free agent after the 1978 season, well before it became apparent that he would catch Ty Cobb. At that time, his goal was to catch the N.L. career hit leader Stan Musial. So he announced that he would negotiate only with National League teams, thereby becoming the only free agent of his calibre to tell the Yankees that it didn't matter what they offered, because he wasn't going to consider it.  If Pete Rose was willing to leave mutiple millions of dollars on the table because he was a National League player, this tells us how much league identity meant. 

 

Now nobody cares about this, which is a cultural tragedy. Interleague play has come at a great cost. It ain't worth it.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

That is not a benefit, because it applies only to a handful of teams.  For every Yankee-Met game or Cubs-Sox game or A's-Giants game you get plenty of Pirates-Twins games and Mariners-Braves games and other matchups that no one thinks are special.

 

tl;dr

 

Such is life. There are comparatively insignificant matchups within the leagues, too. But I would be fine with cutting out rotating interleague games and restricting each team to one interleague counterpart each year, six games interleague and that's it. I came up with a list one time that I'm sure others came up with:

 

METRO

Mets-Yankees

Dodgers-Angels

Cubs-Sox

Giants-A's

Nats-Orioles

 

STATE

Astros-Rangers

Reds-Indians

Marlins-Rays

Cardinals-Royals

Brewers-Twins (state-ish)

 

POINT AT WHICH THE SYSTEM BREAKS DOWN

Phillies-Blue Jays

Pirates-Tigers

Braves-Red Sox

Padres-Mariners

 

POINT AT WHICH THE SYSTEM CRUMBLES AND CATCHES FIRE

Rockies-an AL expansion team

DBacks-an AL expansion team

 

And have trophies and gewgaws for as many of them as possible and play them around the summer holidays so they feel special.

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1 minute ago, Old School Fool said:

Baseball is the only sport where teams facing other teams is somehow seen as a negative thing.

 

I don’t think that’s really true.  Plenty of people complain about the unbalanced NFL schedule, playing some teams more than others.

 

But other than that, should it surprise us that different sports develop different traditions over time?  You might as well say “it’s strange that basketball teams don’t have gray road uniforms.”

 

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2 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

I don’t think that’s really true.  Plenty of people complain about the unbalanced NFL schedule, playing some teams more than others.

 

But other than that, should it surprise us that different sports develop different traditions over time?  You might as well say “it’s strange that basketball teams don’t have gray road uniforms.”

 

 

You do raise a fair point. The NFL schedules are definitely weird.

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15 hours ago, the admiral said:
16 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

That is not a benefit, because it applies only to a handful of teams.  For every Yankee-Met game or Cubs-Sox game or A's-Giants game you get plenty of Pirates-Twins games and Mariners-Braves games and other matchups that no one thinks are special.

 

tl;dr

 

 

nle;sr

(not long enough; should read)

 

 

15 hours ago, the admiral said:

Such is life. There are comparatively insignificant matchups within the leagues, too. But I would be fine with cutting out rotating interleague games and restricting each team to one interleague counterpart each year, six games interleague and that's it. I came up with a list one time that I'm sure others came up with:

 

METRO

[five match-ups]

 

STATE
[five more match-ups, one of which is not an in-state match-up, and another of which is not an interleague match-up]

 

POINT AT WHICH THE SYSTEM BREAKS DOWN

 

 [- SNIP -]  

 

POINT AT WHICH THE SYSTEM CRUMBLES AND CATCHES FIRE

 

[- SNIP -]

 

 

Aaand that's the problem. 

 

If each team had a real opposite-league rival, then pairing each of those sets off would probably be tolerable. But that condition applies to only a handful of teams.

 

Instead, in order to get one match-up for a tiny minority of teams, every team (including each of the few that are from two-team towns) is saddled with interleague games that mean less than the league games that have been replaced.

 

14 hours ago, Gothamite said:
14 hours ago, Old School Fool said:

Baseball is the only sport where teams facing other teams is somehow seen as a negative thing.

 

I don’t think that’s really true.  Plenty of people complain about the unbalanced NFL schedule, playing some teams more than others.

 

Right. With so few games in a season, there is no reason to have interconference games at all, especially considering that wild card teams are ranked on record, which becomes inappropriate if the various teams have played entirely different schedules from one another.

 

The NFL is now perfectly set up for an 18-game season, with two games against each divisional rival, and one each against every other conference opponent. But, even the schedule remains at 16 games (because having no preseason at all is kind of insane), each team still could play its 10 non-divisional games within its own conference.

 

What really is unfortunate is that every Super Bowl match-up is between teams that have met recently, sometimes even during the just-completed season. Ideally, a typical Super Bowl match-up should represent the first time the teams in question have ever met. But the league has completely ruined that possibility.

 

(Cue the snarky sarcastic response "Golly, if only the NFL could figure out some way to drum up interest in its little Super Bowl game."  I fully understand that I am speaking ideally here, from the standpoint of the integrity of competition, and that what the NFL is doing now is working for it commercially, so is unlikely to change.)

 

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43 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

Right. With so few games in a season, there is no reason to have interconference games at all, especially considering that wild card teams are ranked on record, which becomes inappropriate if the various teams have played entirely different schedules from one another.

You're projecting traditionalist baseball logic to a different sport. The AFC hasn't been its own "league" in 50 years. In the NFL, you play your division the most, the non-divisional conference teams less (on average), and the other conference the least. It's a fine system.

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4 hours ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

What really is unfortunate is that every Super Bowl match-up is between teams that have met recently, sometimes even during the just-completed season. Ideally, a typical Super Bowl match-up should represent the first time the teams in question have ever met. But the league has completely ruined that possibility.

 

(Cue the snarky sarcastic response "Golly, if only the NFL could figure out some way to drum up interest in its little Super Bowl game."  I fully understand that I am speaking ideally here, from the standpoint of the Integrity of competition, and that what the NFL is doing now is working for it commercially, so is unlikely to change.)

 

 

"Meeting recently" is pretty inconsequential considering the amount of player turnover. The Eagles and Patriots last met in 2015, and the Eagles had a different QB and coach and team philosophy.  

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10 hours ago, WSU151 said:

"Meeting recently" is pretty inconsequential considering the amount of player turnover. 

 

The objection is not about players, it’s about the fans.  Which have a relatively small amount of turnover. 

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5 hours ago, the admiral said:

How many times has the Super Bowl matchup been an in-season rematch? More or less than the 1-in-4 probability?

 

I have no idea. But whether the teams had met that same season, the previous season, or two seasons before, it is the same problem. By contrast, when the Dolphins played the Redskins in the first Super Bowl that I can remember, that was the first time that those teams had ever met.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

I have no idea. But whether the teams had met that same season, the previous season, or two seasons before, it is the same problem. By contrast, when the Dolphins played the Redskins in the first Super Bowl that I can remember, that was the first time that those teams had ever met.

 

The Dolphins had played seven seasons at that point, and there were fewer games in the schedule. Odds of them never playing the Redskins until Jan 1973 were pretty good.

 

I don't think it was a "cultural tragedy" when the Dolphins and Redskins played in SB 17 (Jan '83) even though they'd played each other in October of 1981.

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