It’s been fifteen years since Major League Baseball instituted Interleague Play and the game has been better for it. Midseason attendance spikes. It drives revenue and frankly, especially in the case of regional rivalries, a little healthy competition between family members is never bad.
In Chicago, it’s the “Crosstown Classic”. In northern California, it’s the “Bay Bridge Series”. However, the most famous of these regional rivals would easily have to be New York’s very own “Subway Series.”
Before Interleague Play was a gleam in Bud Selig’s eye, the “Subway Series” was pretty common in New York. After all, two New York teams have faced each other in the World Series fourteen times dating back to 1921. (Technically two New York teams played each other in the “World Championship Series” in 1889, but being that the Subway didn’t make its debut until 1904, that series could probably best be described as a “Trolley Series.”) The most of the regional rivals by far.
Beyond the postseason, the Yankees and Giants used to play exhibition series against each other from time to time. These match-ups were known as the “City Series.” Sometimes they were even played in October, on the rare occasion that either team wasn’t in the World Series. After 1940, this became difficult because the Yankees routinely appeared in the World Series. In the seventeen-year span between 1941 and 1957 (when the Giants and Dodgers left for California), the Yankees appeared in the World Series twelve times. They only failed to reach the Series in 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1954.
Prior to the abandonment of New York by the city’s two National League teams, the Yankees and Dodgers began to play an annual midseason exhibition game called the Mayor’s Trophy Game. It benefited sandlot baseball in New York City. The proceeds raised by the Yankees went to leagues in Manhattan and the Bronx while the proceeds raised by the Dodgers went to leagues on Long Island and Staten Island.
Interest in the annual charity event was revived in 1963 with the expansion New York Mets. With it, bragging rights to the city were back on the line. The Yankees were no longer the only team in town and at some points they weren’t even the best team in town. (For those of you born after 1996, this seems like an impossible idea, I know.)
Most of the time, these games weren’t very competitive. If one team was great, the other was usually very bad. After dwindling interest as well as public bickering between the owners of both teams, the Mayor’s Trophy Game was discontinued following the 1983 season.
It was revived again as a pre-Opening Day series titled the “Mayor’s Challenge” and hosted many recent Yankees’ and Mets’ Greats like Doc Gooden, David Cone, Al Leiter and Don Mattingly. However, as the Major League schedule evolved and the game became harder to schedule, it was eventually discontinued for good in 1992.
the Yankees battling injuries and the Mets battling…themselves? This week I
turn my attention to the AL Central.
It’s May 7th and the Cleveland Indians are in first.
right. This is a team once voted the most
disliked team in all of Major League Baseball (even over the Yankees)! A team picked to place dead this year is actually in
we’re only entering the second week of May but according to the “experts”,
shouldn’t the Cleveland Indians be a hundred games out of first by now?
it’s just me, but have you noticed how this year’s Cleveland Indians are
looking more and more like the Tribe from the movie, Major League? It’s true and this is not a thinly veiled reference to Charlie Sheen ranting like “Captain Crazy Pants” in a Chief Wahoo
hat. Think about it…
Left for dead, they have become the team to beat in the AL Central. And just like the Yankees in the movie, the Boston Red Sox couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn when they faced Cleveland.
Just like the movie, the Indians have a big bopper with questionable immigration status as well (i.e. Pedro Cerrano). I’m looking at you, Shin-Soo Choo! If he didn’t carry his team to a Gold Medal
in the Pan-Asian games, he was looking at mandatory military service… in South
They also have a crafty veteran looking for that elusive championship. However, I’ll say it now. Grady Sizemore sports a far cuter hairdo than
have you checked out Closer Chris Perez?
This left-of-center (or in his case, right-of-center)
hurler is making the 2011 Cleveland Indians a relevant contender through out
the league, even if his look screams NHL 1994.
I bet he would be far funnier in front of a microphone than Charlie Sheen ever
could. But, that’s not that hard.
Manager of the New York Yankees…
Nice job if you can get it…
And if you get it…would you want it?
Yankees fans might be staring at the walls, but believe it or not, there’s actually still a World Series to be played.
Yes…on occasion, they play one without us.
If it makes you feel better, we aren’t the only fans with ridiculous bravado. A friend from Philly actually said, “The Rangers and the Giants are in the World Series. Who’s gonna watch that?”
(Umm…I don’t know. How about the two biggest states in the Union?)
So, Yankees fans now look to the future as the team locks up Skipper Girardi for a three year contract. No one should be shocked about this. If you are, you are way too emotional and it’s starting to cloud your better baseball judgment. Sure, this year was a bust by Yankees standards. However, by normal team standards, Girardi would have been given a ticker-tape parade.
(Please, if this was Chicago, the man would have been given a statue next to Harry Caray.)
In the past three years, Girardi has taken the team to the playoffs twice and won a World Series. The man deserves a vote of confidence.
By reuping for three more years in the Bronx, Joe Girardi also has the unenviable task of guiding the aging Core Four through the twilight of their careers. Imagine the unpopular duty of eventually benching (or Gasp! Not benching quick enough) Captain Derek Jeter when his range becomes a detriment to the team. That day is coming soon. Regardless of what Girardi does, he’ll be damned if he does and will be damned if he doesn’t.
Did you watch the All-Star Futures game yesterday? The U.S. walloped the World, 9 to 1, nabbing its first win since 2006. I always love this game, because such incredible players have passed through its rosters – A. Rod and Barry Zito come to mind when naming a few. So, what can we attribute last night’s trouncing and the end of a four year drought to? Easy! The United States dominance in everything it sets out to do. USA! USA! USA!
Or maybe it was that Mets prospect that the World wouldn’t get off the mound toward the end of the game, but who’s keeping score?
Looking forward to the Home Run Derby, I’m declaring this to be the most intriguing cast of characters in years. Five newbies are stepping to the plate as well as no previous winners or holdovers from last year. The odds-on- favorite is Miguel Cabrera, but I’m putting my money on Swish. He’s just crazy enough to pull out a David Wright-like performance from a couple of years back…and he has great hair.
I’ll lob a ball down the middle to him any day. Hi-o! (Wait a minute, there was nothing innuendo about that statement. I’ll keep quiet now.)
On a sad note, long-time Yankees Public Address Announcer Bob Sheppard passed away yesterday. He was 99 years old and the sole reason why I wanted to study at NYU. (I was wait-listed, thank you very much.)
Sheppard began his tenure on April 17, 1951. Do you know what he saw his first day of work? How about the Opening Day of Joe DiMaggio’s final season and Mickey Mantle’s Major League debut? Not bad for a day at the office.
Sheppard worked approximately 4,500 baseball games with the Yankees. That includes an incredible 121 consecutive postseason contests (1951-2006). And if you’re keeping score, that includes 62 games in 22 World Series alone.
Sheppard will live on every time Derek Jeter steps to the plate in Pinstripes. Since Sheppard’s retirement in 2007, Jeter requested that a recording of Sheppard saying his name be played as he comes to the plate. And frankly…who can ever forget his presence in *61?
I would like to think if there is a heaven, I really hope that St. Peter or whoever does meet you at the gates sounds a bit more like Bob Sheppard.
Enjoy my predicted AL-thrashing of the NL tomorrow. I’ll be at the bar watching the game. Don’t forget to say hi!
Crazy Story of the Week:
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago White Sox are the seventh most hated team in Major League Baseball. Want to guess who the most hated team in Major League Baseball is? You guessed it… the Cleveland Indians. (Whaaaaa?)
Woah! What fans were used in this study? According to an Internet algorithm using various keywords to measure reactions (positive, negative or otherwise), the Nielsen Company used this study to judge how people felt about certain teams. The Yankees scored a 1.8 on “the sentiment scale,” placing them a mere fifth on the list. Ok, understandable. I’m shocked they didn’t score worse. The Mets were ninth. Eh, they haven’t had a winning season since 2008, but I guess if you’re hating on all things New York, why not? But, the White Sox?! And even worse… the Indians?! How did the Cubs not make this list?! Were “flip-flops as formal footwear” a prerequisite to participate in this study? Was this pool of fans comprised solely of guys who hang on the corner of Clark and Addison?
Sentimental Story of the Week:
I downloaded Bernie Williams’ acoustic recording of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Call me a sentimental softy, but isn’t that a great song? And frankly, Bernie gives you a great recording. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74U9ps86pRo