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MLB preps for interleague play in 2013

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Major League Baseball

Plans are coming into place for Major League Baseball to feature permanent interleague play when the Houston Astros join the American League, leaving MLB with a 15-15 split in the two leagues.

Scheduling is the biggest change when it comes to interleague play, and not every fan is going to like the changes, as it drops the home and away series between two traditional rivals in favor of a two- or three-game series that may or not be split between the rival ballparks. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Drew Davison:

Under the new format, teams will play six interleague series a season for 18 to 20 interleague games, similar to this season. An AL division will be matched up with a corresponding NL division each season, which will account for five series. The sixth series will match teams against a "traditional rival," such as Yankees-Mets, White Sox-Cubs, Angels-Dodgers, etc.

The traditional rivals will play a single three-game series, or home-and-home two-game series. The standard three-game home-and-home series are gone.

This is viewed as a positive because it evens the playing field more. The Mets, for example, were the only team in the NL who had to play the Yankees six times a year, while other teams in the league or division didn't face traditionally strong teams as often.

Interleague series will be avoided during the last month of the season (but not eliminated: that's impossible), and you may see some other twists on the traditional rules, like NL rules being used in an AL ballpark (i.e., no designated hitter) and vice versa.

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