It's that time of the year again. Interleague play is back. And this weekend sees many of what they call "the natural rivalries" being played. So here it is the Mets vs. the Yankees in "The Subway Series," "The Battle For New York," or whatever you want to call it. The hype in the New York tabloids has reached sickening levels, as it does every time these teams meet.
We have to have a breakdown at every position and which team has the advantage. And of course every sportswriter has to give their prediction how this three-game death battle will turn out. You'd think both teams were replaying the 2000 World Series.
I'm of the position that interleague play has run its course, and that these games are just more games outside of your division that takes away from the pennant race. For the Mets, games against the Phillies (who they play on Monday) and Braves are much more important, as for the Yankees the games against the Red Sox (new series starts Monday also) and Blue Jays are as well. Interleague also plays havoc with teams' schedule (as well as the travel schedule), and many players have wanted to get rid of it for that reason.
But of course you hear all the reasons why it has to stay, like because the fans are so into it. But the real reason is that in places like New York and Chicago, they are guaranteed sellouts. (And do they HAVE to play each other six times? Isn't one series a year enough?) I maybe in the minority on this, but I think the games played inside their own league mean more than the overhyped interleague games.
Good news for the Red Sox. Coco Crisp (pictured) will be returning soon. His agent says he has begun swinging a bat, and his rehab assignment may begin next week. Coco has so far missed 33 games with the broken bone in his hand, and then he had a tough case of kidney stones. The Red Sox are still optimistic that he will be back in a Red Sox uniform by the end of the month.
This weekend in Philadelphia, the Red Sox will be playing David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell on a rotating basis, as there will be no DH because the series is in an NL city. Papi will play first base twice, while Lowell will play third twice and Youkilis will play third one game and first the other. Terry Francona will decide who plays which day.
Yet another reason to get rid of interleague play.