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Rays vs. Rockies? An age old rivalry that dates back to the… Late 1990s.
Well folks, it begins again: as teams head towards the half-way mark in the season, the not-so-traditional rivalries of interleague play begin anew in 2010. Along with the thrilling matchups of Marlins-White Sox, Rockies-Royals, and Cardinals-Angels, we also get the marquee games such as Yankees-Mets, Phillies-Red Sox, and the Giants-A’s, all coming soon to a FOX Saturday broadcast near you.
What do these games all mean? Nothing, really. For the Phillies, it typically allows the entire division to creep back into contention as the Phils struggle to get three wins in a week against the Yanks, Twins and Sox. For struggling teams like the Brewers and Mets, it means that they have a chance to be embarrassed by the high-octane lineups of the Yankees and Twins instead of the everyday divisional rival.
For a fan however, it does mean more. The entirety of Philadelphia, including myself, get to use this time to see how well the Phillies do size up to both American league contenders and basement teams.
For a team that is not so fortunate to be leading (or contending for) a division, however, there are some good qualities to interleague play. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Phillies fans like myself were just praying for an above-.500 season. It’s a wonderful reason to take a trip down to the ballpark and see some players that you don’t normally see. For instance, my family went down to Citizens Bank Park in 2005 to see David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez after the Red Sox had won the World Series. On top of that, it’s always fun to watch when your team makes a trip to new stadiums. Seeing the Phillies play at Fenway Park and (at that point) Jacobs Field was a new and exciting experience, even when you knew there was a good chance that your team would be swept.
The lesson to be learned from all this? Interleague play is a gimmick, there’s no way around it. While it is just a cash-flow brainchild Bud Selig, however, you can always find something to enjoy about it, even if it’s simply admiring the scenery of a different stadium during a 12-0 rout.
-Tom Hagan ’11