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Detroit Tigers' Jim Leyland: Interleague Play Should Go Away

Detroit Tigers manager and former Pirates manager Jim Leyland, whose new team will begin an interleague series against the Bucs Friday night, says he's sick of interleague play.

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"We play with the DH rules. The American League gets penalized, even though the record's been decent over the years. We get penalized. Their pitchers are hitting and bunting all year, and they get the advantage of letting their pitchers rest and using the DH when they come here, and we gotta use guys six straight days without Victor Martinez or Alex Avila or somebody. That's ridiculous. Totally ridiculous, and they ought to look into it."

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That's some serious narcissism right there. It apparently hasn't occurred to Leyland that National League teams also might suffer when they play in American League parks - sure, they get to use a DH, but their rosters aren't constructed with a DH in mind, which means that they don't have David Ortiz types just lying around. That's a big disadvantage - American League DHs hit .252/.332/.426 last year, while National League DHs hit .218/.284/.365. National League DHs were slightly better than AL DHs in 2009, but American Leaguers were much better in 2008. National League pitchers did hit much better than AL pitchers in each of the last three years, but pitchers accumulate far fewer at bats than DHs do.

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Personally - and I'm probably going to get flack for saying this - I want both leagues to use the DH. I watch sports because I like to see people doing impressive stuff that I can't do, and watching pitchers flail at high fastballs, or curveballs in the dirt, doesn't qualify. And the tactical maneuvering that NL managers have to do to avoid having their pitchers hit isn't particularly interesting.

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Of course, if that's not going to happen, there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Interleague play is a lot of fun, and if the leagues are going to have different rules, interleague games should be played by the rules of the home teams, just like they are now.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.