Mets, Yankees Best Interleague Series

Frank Doyle | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Yankees_Derek_Jeter

Frank Doyle looks at how interleague baseball has become just another part of summer. Almost.

It’s a measure of how highly baseball values history and tradition that interleague play is still widely regarded as something dangerously new-fangled, even though interleague play has been around for thirteen years. Thirteen years is a long time in the real world, but in baseball’s eternal summer it’s the blink of an eye.

Baseball is the most conservative sport there is. The designated hitter has been in the American League since 1973 and people still have their backs up about that, thirty-seven years on and counting. So even though interleague play is here to stay, we can safely assume that in twenty years time people will be still be complaining about it.

No matter what happened in the series between the Rays and the Yankees, the Yankees’ trip to Queens to take on the Mets was always going to be the highlight of this weekend. For many, the Subway World Series of 2000 defines the rivalry, and particularly the broken bat spat between Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza.

But that’s ten years ago now, and while the Yankees have successfully got over their mid-decade struggles, the Mets have been eclipsed in the East by the Phillies and, this year, by everybody else. The Mets are dead last in the NL East currently. Not the idea place to be in when you’re getting ready to face the Yankees. The Mets could be in a long and depressing weekend.

The subway series is the most natural rivalry of this first interleague weekend – you’d be hard pressed to make a case for a rivalry between the Rays and Astros or Cubs and Rangers – but there is another interesting series in California, when the Giants cross the San Francisco Bay to take on Oakland in the Coliseum.

The Giants’ real rivals are the Dodgers of course, but San Francisco and Oakland always seem to have a Springfield/Shelbyville thing going on. The Athletics’ batting has been weak this year, while the Giants’ pitching has been strong. The MLB betting will favour the road team in this one, even the Giants have cooled a little from their earlier hot start. Baseball is a pitchers’ game, after all.

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