Monday, June 28, 2010

Torre vs. Yankees

I honestly have grown weary of interleague play. The first few years, the novelty carried it. Things peaked for me in 2003, when the Yankees made their first trip to Wrigley. During that series, I watched Roger Clemens battle Kerry Wood in an attempt to win his 300th game. Both pitchers were dealing, and the Cubs ultimately won the game on a late rally. Of course, that just cemented my belief that I am a jinx -- as I very rarely saw the Cubs win up to that point, and now saw them play like a good team against my favorite team. The years have tarnished that game somewhat. Of course, that was the same season of the infamous "Bartman" game, and then the Yankees won in extra innings of ALCS game 7, only to come up short against a Marlins team that probably shouldn't have made it to the World Series, and I'd have been rooting for had it not ruined the post season for everyone in my household (my wife is a HUGE Cubs fan).

Since 2003, the matchups seem less and less magic. Since I don't live in NYC, or even NY state, I don't get overly excited for Yankees/Mets. I don't live in Missouri, so I don't have much reason to care about Cards/Royals. I do enjoy the Sox/Cubs rivalry, but not having a rooting interest just makes it a diversion. But the geographic rivalries have been a bit watered down by 6 games every season, just like the unbalanced schedule has taken some of the magic away from great divisional rivalries like Yankees/Red Sox, Cubs/Cardinals and Giants/Dodgers. There have been seasons where the number of games have added to the tension, but more often, it just allows the hype machine to annoy us to the point of not caring. I mean, the first Cubs/Sox series here in Chicago featured two teams that didn't look to be going anywhere. So unless you're born and bred in the city with the geographic rivalry, I don't think you really feel the excitement of these games more than any other series.

Of course, there are exceptions, and we just finished one for this year -- Joe Torre's first series managing against the Yankees. So many subplots -- most of which don't really deserve space in print -- but there's no denying that Torre will go down in history as one of the great Yankee managers of all time. Maybe the greatest, because he did his thing in an era where you can't so much as belch without it becoming news. Torre's become synonymous with the cool and collected demeanor -- the steady calm that always seems to rise above the fray. But, during last night's rubber game in the series, you could see the agony on his face as the poor man's Rivera that he's got in LA failed to nail down the win. It was a thrilling win for Yankees fans, and a heartbreaking loss for Torre and Dodger nation. Torre in LA has never seemed that weird, until I saw photos of Torre greeting Jeter, Posada, Pettitte and Rivera. Other members of the current Yankees obviously played for Joe, but these 4 guys were such a big part of Torre's run. It was strange, and one of the first times I've really felt bad for the losing team while watching a Yankee win.

1 comment:

  1. I felt no whit of pity for Torre. If he wanted me to feel sympathy, he could have kept his yap shut and not written a book.