Today the 2012 MLB schedules for all of the teams were released and with it always comes a lot excitement and criticism. Excitement to plan road trips (more on that in another post) and criticism for the interleague match-ups. Interleague play began with the 1997 season for reasons that can be read on Wikipedia.
In 2012, aside from two Yankees series, the Mets will play at Toronto, at Tampa Bay and at home vs. Baltimore in interleague play. Baltimore, really?? Didn’t we just play them like last year? All of this got me thinking about a list of Mets interleague games since interleague play began. I wanted to see if there was any rhyme or reason to the opponents and to see how many times they have played each AL team.
For the Mets, the first five years of interleague play was always NL East vs. AL East:
1997: vs. Boston, @ NYY, @ Detroit, @ Baltimore vs. Toronto (All AL East. Detroit was in the East before baseball expansion/realignment.)
1998: @ Boston, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore, vs. NYY, @ Toronto (All AL East)
1999: @NYY, vs. Toronto, vs. Boston, vs. NYY, @ Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore (All AL East)
2000: vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Baltimore, at NYY, vs. NYY, @ Boston, @ Toronto (All AL East)
2001: @ Tampa Bay, @ Baltimore, vs. NYY, @ NYY, vs. Boston, vs. Toronto (All AL East)
Aside from the Yankees series being a mainstay, from 2002 – 2006, things got a little more mixed. For the most part play alternated between the AL Central and AL West, probably since there were just 5 straight seasons of playing the AL East.
2002: @ Cleveland, @ White Sox, vs. NYY, vs. Minnesota, vs. Kansas City, @ NYY (4 AL Central, 2 Yankees)
2003: vs. Seattle, @ Texas, @ Angels, vs. NYY, @ NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)
2004: @ Minnesota, @ Kansas City, @ Cleveland, @ Detroit, @ NYY, vs. NYY (3 AL Central, 2 Yankees)
2005: vs. NYY, vs. Angels, @ Oakland, @ Seattle, @ NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)
2006 brought interleague play back to full-on AL East:
2006: vs. NYY, vs. Baltimore, @ Toronto, @ Boston, @ NYY (5 AL East)
And now we’re back to no rhyme or reason in 2007:
2007: vs. NYY, @ Detroit, @ NYY, vs. Minnesota, vs. Oakland (2 AL Central, 1 AL West, 2 Yankees)
2008*: @ NYY, vs. Texas, @ Angels, vs. Seattle, vs. NYY (3 AL West, 2 Yankees)
*Civil Rights Game vs. White Sox in Memphis. I initially forgot about this game, but I don’t count the game same since it was only one game, in a neutral site.
Oh look, AL East. Again:
2009: @ Boston, @ NYY, @ Baltimore, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. NYY (5 AL East)
What’s interesting in 2010 are the games against a few Central teams and Baltimore. Really? Mix it up!
2010: vs. NYY, @ Baltimore, @ Cleveland, @ NYY, vs. Detroit, vs. Minnesota (3 AL Central, 3 AL East, incl. 2 Yankees)
A little AL West and 1 AL Central opponent for this season:
2011: @ NYY, vs. Angels, vs. Oakland, @ Texas, @ Detroit, vs. NYY (3 AL West, 1 AL Central, 2 Yankees)
So here we are at next year’s interleague opponents:
2012: @ Toronto, @ NYY, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Baltimore, vs. NYY (5 AL East, incl. 2 Yankees)
I accept Toronto since they haven’t met since 2006. But Tampa Bay in 2009 and again in 2012? And the Mets will now be playing Baltimore in 3 of the last 4 seasons. c’mon! I get it, the cities are close and fans will travel.
As it appears, interleague series do get varied, but on the surface it seems the Mets always play the same few AL teams more often than other AL teams. I’m sure there’s a lot that goes into the scheduling of these games. But, instead of back to back Detroit series, how about a White Sox series? Instead of the constant Baltimore games, how about one more against Cleveland?
Lastly, here is a straight up list of how many times the Mets have played each AL team. I’m discounting the first 5 years of interleague play since it was a constant AL East matchup. Also not included are the games against the Yankees or the White Sox Civil Rights Game.
Baltimore – 5 times
Boston – 2 times
Tampa Bay – 2 times
Toronto – 2 times
Again, not counting the first 5 years of interleague or any Yankees series
Cleveland – 3 times
Chicago – 1 time
Detroit – 4 times
Kansas City – 2 times
Minnesota – 4 times
LA Angela – 4 times
Oakland – 3 times
Seattle – 3 times
Texas – 3 times
What do you think? Does it make sense? What would you like to see stay the same or change?