Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Rematch"? No, It's Just Interleague Play!

Just wanted to get something off my chest.

I have no problem with interleague play in Major League Baseball, although I still think interest would be even greater if the teams played NL rules in AL parks and vice-versa, to better give fans a taste of how the grass is on the other side of the fence. And I have no problems with geographical rivalries emerging: Cubs-White Sox, Yankees-Mets, Angels-Dodgers, etc. But what is it with the incessant references to "rematches"?

The Yankees are playing the Pirates, which is being billed as a "rematch of the 1960 World Series." The Reds-Orioles series is a "rematch of the 1970 World Series." The Tigers-Padres tilt this week is, of course, a "rematch of the 1984 World Series."


The only true "rematch" this year of interleague play was when the Red Sox visited the Cardinals. Those two teams met just last October, and there was a nice little subplot with Boston infielder Edgar Renteria coming back to St. Louis, where he made the final out in last year's series as a member of the Cardinals. Both teams have largely the same cast and characters as 2004, so that is an honest-to-goodness rematch. But Yankees-Pirates is no such thing, unless Bill Mazeroski, Dick Stuart and Vern Law suddenly decide to suit up for Pittsburgh, and Tony Kubek and Yogie Berra and Whitey Ford pull the pinstripes on again. It's merely a meeting of two franchises who, 45 years ago, happened to have played each other in a World Series. Nothing more than that. Call it anything else. Say "this is the first time these two franchises have payed each other since the 1960 World Series." That would be okay. Say "a lot has changed since the Yankees and Pirates faced each other 45 years ago in the Fall Classic." That would be fine, too. But please, PLEASE don't call it a "rematch."

Webster's defines "rematch" as "a second contest between the same opponents."

Tell me, what is the same about the 1960 Yankees and the 2005 Yankees, besides the pinstripes and the hatred most of America has for them?

I know it's not a big deal, and this sort of thing is bound to happen when interleague matchups occur, but it still bothers me because it's wrong.

Closer to home, the Tigers-Padres series this week at Comerica Park is no more a rematch of the 1984 World Series than if my 2005 waist size battled my 1984 waist size. They're both just opponents in name only.

By the way, my 2005 waist size would kick my 1984 waist size's ass.

See what can happen in 21 years?

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