This weekend, the American League’s Tampa Bay Rays will host the National League’s San Diego Padres. This series is exactly why baseball is now on a road to finally adopting the designated hitter in both leagues.
Until this year, interleague games were a novelty. It was something to perk fan interest in the middle of the season. Because it was a novelty, it was OK if the two leagues used different rules based on the home team’s league.
But when the Houston Astros moved to the AL this season, creating an odd number of teams (15) in each league, there must now be at least one interleague series going on at all times.
Interleague games are now just part of the norm and are no longer a stand-alone oddity that that fans can point to and say, “hey, look at that.”
And yet teams playing on the road in interleague play are still forced to play by a set of rules for which their team was not constructed. At some point, the leagues will have to move to a uniform set of rules. And the only thing stopping it now is money.
While fans like to wax poetic about how much better the NL game is, the main reason NL owners don’t want the DH is because those players would make a lot more money than the minimum salaried players they would replace.
But for the same reason, there is no way the players’ union will allow the AL to drop the DH and replace them with low-pay bench players.
Eventually, one side has to cave. And considering only half the owners are in this battle, my money is on the players.
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