During Sunday’s New York Mets game against the Mariners, Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez began talking about Julio Rodriguez, which led to a conversation about how the Mets will see him every season starting next year because MLB is implementing more balanced schedules.
Based on what Gary, Keith, and radio-broadcaster Howie Rose have said about the balanced schedules, they’re completely missing the point.
Gary and Keith were saying that they don’t like the new schedules for two reasons. The first was that you play less games against your division. The second was that the two leagues would be “blending together.”
The obvious response to that is this: the leagues should’ve never been as separated as they have been. It’s absurd that the AL got the DH in 1973 and the NL is just getting it now, almost 50 years later (this was another point of contention for Gary, Keith, and many older fans). It’s also crazy that you only play teams in the other league every three years (with the exception of the Yankees).
Baseball is one game. The two leagues merged into one entity in 2000, so there’s no reason for the divided schedules between the two leagues. Sure, the leagues used to be run by different people, umpired by different crews, and played by different rules. But that's not how it is anymore, and people need to stop treating it like it is. It should be played by the same rules and all teams should play each other.
I just don’t understand why this is controversial and why people still think dividing the leagues is good for the game. "Because it's always been done that way" is not a valid reason to stop progress in any situation.
The point of having separate leagues is simply to determine standings and playoff spots. Could the divisions change in the future, especially if the league expands like they seem very interested in? Sure. But that’s not a bad thing, it increases competition. And it needs to be said that Howie’s tweet is also extremely misleading, because the Mets will still play the Dodgers, Cubs, and Cardinals. Everyone will play everyone over the course of 162 games.
The reason the league is implementing the balanced schedule is to grow the game. When my buddies and I wanted to see Mike Trout play at Citi Field when we were in high school, we had to wait three years. THREE YEARS!! It’s nuts that anybody thought that way of scheduling was a good idea to begin with. It’s no wonder that MLB has trouble marketing its players when the opposite league only sees those teams and players once every three years.
The balanced schedule works great in football. It works great in basketball. But as usual, baseball lags behind in making common sense changes. It’s finally here, and I’m really looking forward to being able to watch the stars of the American League every single year. Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Luis Robert, Julio Rodriguez, Vladdy Jr., Shane Bieber, and so many other extremely talented players will make their way to Citi Field every year, and I can't wait.