Interleague play starts this weekend, as does the puffery regarding its attendance impact

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Just got the press release from MLB announcing the beginning of interleague play this weekend. As usual, the league touts the attendance boost it brings:

Interleague Play drew 8,468,620 fans in 2011, averaging 33,606 fans per game.  The average 2011 Interleague attendance was 12.1 percent higher than the season’s final intraleague average of 29,985.  Since its inception in 1997, Interleague Play has drawn an average of 33,285 fans per game, which is 11.8 percent higher than the intraleague average of 29,774 during the same span.

They always leave out the fact that interlegaue play is disproportionately centered (a) on weekends; and (b) in warm weather months.  I’d like to see how a Mariners-Rockies series would draw on a Wednesday in April, but I guess we won’t know how that works until next season.

Oh well. We’re way past complaining about this.  Matchups this upcoming weekend that seem fun, with the home team listed second:  White Sox-Cubs, Orioles-Nationals, Red Sox-Phillies and the Braves-Rays.  Actually, a series I’m most looking forward to this weekend is an intraleague thing: Cardinals-Dodgers.

Play ball.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.