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.