Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rivalries: Real & Imagined

Does anyone get worked up about interleague play any more?  Not only has it become a huge anticlimax, efforts to induce rivalries have fallen flat.  Cubs-White Sox?  Who cares?  O's-Nationals?  Wake me when it's over.  Phillies-Red Sox?  Maybe if Wilt and Russell were in the lineups.

So, last night the Phils beat the Red Sox.  It was the phormerly phutiles sixth straight win and moved them two games above sea level for the first time this year.  Cole Hamels won his sixth game of the season.  Carlos Ruiz got two more hits to boost his numbers into the stratosphere.  If Chooch goes zero for his next 50 he should still be the starting catcher for the NL All Star squad.

Jonathan Papelbon came in to close the game, record his 12th save, and add a little drama (but not much, frankly) in facing his old mates.  By all accounts, he was well-liked in Bean Town.  If he keeps up his good works here, he will be well-liked in Soft Pretzelville, too!

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Meanwhile, across the street the Sixers were rallying big time to top the Celtics and even their playoff series at two games apiece.  Wilt and Russell are not present there, either, but the series is beginning to resemble the rivalries of the past in intensity.  Given we live in a Facebook and Twitter age, the memories of those rivalries seem to stop in the '80's by most accounts, when the Doctor the the Birdman were the keynote speakers for each squad.

The Sixers are mostly young, but not entirely, which explains why despite having no busy beating the Celtics they refuse to quit.  The Celtics are old and appear to need every other game off at some point in the proceedings.  If both teams play according to form, the Celts win game five, the Sixers game six and....the Celtics game seven.

BTW, I find the series intriguing for extra curricular reasons.  Basketball itself bores the hell out of me.