June 15, 1997
The Twain Meets
I was all prepared to hate Interleague play in baseball. Then, the fates conspired to place me in the Bay Area at just the time the Dodgers were getting ready to play their first ever Interleague game against the Oakland Athletics. I was going to be in the area for a wedding, and on my plane trip up, I thought hard about how to convince my family to make the Thursday night trip from San Jose to Oakland for the game (since I was in the area anyway ...). After I got off the plane, I gingerly raised the subject of whether we had any plans for that night. "Yes," said Mom. "We're going to the Dodgers game in Oakland." I have the worldís coolest mother, and we made a family trip out of it.
(A side note -- this is why my family is my family. We think alike, sometimes scarily so.)
So there I was, first hand, witnessing something Iíd sworn to oppose. The Dodgers, epitome of the National League, facing off against the Aís, an American League team for more than 90 years. This wasnít the World Series, October chill in the air providing a climatual reminder that this was a serious clash between serious teams fighting for the world title. This was a warm June night, not even halfway through the regular season. Sure, the red, white, and blue bunting was out, but this game didnít feel special; didnít feel epic.
I loved it.
But of course, I hated it.
I hated myself for loving it.
Itís just the novelty, thatís all. Thatís whatís got people all excited, and attendance up at every ballpark in the majors. The novelty will eventually wear off, the owners will find some way to screw things up (maybe canceling another World Series), and baseball will be right back where it started before it decided to chuck more than a century of legendary and truly mythical tradition out the window.
Bud Selig (who championed this idea) is already going to a special level of Hell for canceling the Series back in í94. The Interleague decision should make things ever so slightly warmer for Bud, as the infernal Master of Hades adds to his punishment.
Then again, I did love watching Hideo Nomo strike out Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco in the second inning. But jeez, couldn't that special moment have waited until baseball's special time of year?
(As for this weekís title Ė itís a Kipling reference! Look it up.)