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It might be fun, but baseball doesn't "need" a Yankees-Dodgers World Series

Oct 12, 2009, 10:55 AM EDT

William Rhoden in the New York Times:

Still, what Major League Baseball needs is a great World Series, a
Series for the ages. And with all due respect to those two other
potential matchups, it’s a Yankees-Dodgers World Series that could take
the game back to its roots at a time when baseball desperately needs to
recover a portion of the trust, if not the innocence, that it has lost
in the steroid era.

There would be a number of interesting story lines in a
Yankees-Dodger World Series, not the least of which would be the return
of Dodgers Manager Joe Torre to New York to face the team that he
unhappily parted with after the 2007 season.. But the greatest
attraction has to do with the history and traditions that the Yankees
and the Dodgers represent.

Two venerable franchises competing in a World Series would recall an
era in baseball when things seemed simpler and the game was more pure.

Please.  For starters, the best modern World Series — one that truly was “for the ages” — involved two teams from less-than traditionally stellar baseball markets, each of which had just finished in last place the season before.  It was the Twins and Braves in 1991, and apart from Kirby Puckett, the game was loaded with young hungry and relatively unknown talent at the time.  A Yankees-Dodgers World Series might be interesting, but that kind of star power is not needed to make a great World Series.  Great baseball is needed, and there is no reason whatsoever to think that the Angels, Phillies, and maybe the Rockies couldn’t provide it too.

But the bigger problem with this article is the time-worn and always ridiculous reference to “purity.”  Someone please point me to a single time in the game’s history where it truly was “pure,” as Rhoden seems to think it was.  Was it in the 70s and 80s when players were doing cocaine and teams generally let drunk fans ruin the experience for casual fans? The 60s when it was amphetamines? The 1950s when teams like the Athletics whored themselves and their talent out to the Yankees, serving as a defacto farm club and making a mockery of competitive balance? The 20s, 30s, and 40s, when segregation reigned supreme?  Before that when people threw spitballs and twelve home runs could lead the league?

Seriously, Bill, you’re the one citing “purity” here. Tell us when the game was “pure” and why.  And if you can’t, please explain to me how a Yankees-Dodgers World Series can “restore” a state of affairs which never existed in the first place.

A Yankees-Dodgers World Series would certainly be an interesting thing. It would have some bit of nostalgia to it for people who remember the 1970s or the 1950s. It may actually turn out to showcase the two best teams — though the Angels certainly will have something to say about that.  It would no doubt be a great thing for the fans of those teams. It would give writers like Rhoden and me some easy storylines.  I certainly have no problem if such a thing comes to pass.

But don’t for a minute suggest that baseball “needs” it, especially for reasons involving some imagined “purity.”

  1. lardin - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    If its Yankees vs. Dodgers, Its not Torre us Yankee fans want to see, mark my words when they announce the starting lineups before the game, Don Mattingly will get a louder ovation then anyone standing on the field including the Yankees players.

  2. Kendall - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    Personally, find it interesting that a World Series featuring this season’s two most prominent steroid users would “recover a portion of the trust, if not the innocence, that it has lost in the steroid era.”

  3. Grant - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    An excellent point.

  4. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    Seriously, Bill, you’re the one citing “purity” here. Tell us when the game was “pure” and why. And if you can’t, please explain to me how a Yankees-Dodgers World Series can “restore” a state of affairs which never existed in the first place.

    I think I love you

  5. $100 million juicer teams - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    William Rhoden is nuts. How is watching a game between convicted steroid users Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez going to bring purity and “innocence” back to the game? No fan from a small market team would tune in for a minute of that series. No one wants to see Goliath vs Goliath. Boring.

  6. fanamine - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    The point is not excellent but biased. There is not a single team that is not touched by the steroids issue. We have barely seen the tip of the iceberg on who has used over the years. Just because some lowlife violated decency and published the names of the two you indicate, does not invalidate the attempt to clean up the image. The league and many other players who did not cheat deserve a chance to move in a positive direction. Only time will tell. As for the two you indicate, neither played for their current teams when they were using. Those current teams and their fans are not responsible. You do know the 2003 testing was anonymous and using was not subject to disciplinary action at the time. You would never believe their rights were violated by some jerk releasing their names. I do agree they cheated and it was wrong. Let us hope the game will become better because of it.

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:38 PM

    William Rhoden is nuts. How is watching a game between convicted steroid users Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez going to bring purity and “innocence” back to the game?

    Who was “convicted” in this case? Where’s there some secret trial that the rest of us are unaware of? Get off your high horse and enjoy the games.

    No fan from a small market team would tune in for a minute of that series. No one wants to see Goliath vs Goliath. Boring.

    Oh nevermind, you won’t actually be watching. Shame as you might miss some great baseball.

  8. fanamine - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    You are right, they cannot bring back purity to something that has never been pure before. If the two people you mentioned are ‘convicted,’ then why are they still playing or not in jail? Since it is obvious you are speaking from hatred instead of reason, it makes you look foolish. I can assure you there are many who would enjoy the meeting of the goliaths. Just because you think it would be boring does not mean you are right. I can easily say that you are boring all of us with your whiny posts. Isn’t it easy to just speak without concern for others opinions?
    Calcaterra is a phoney and a hippocrite. He continuosly gives his opinions and his take on baseball topics, then cuts someone to shreds for giving a differing opinion. He is better suited to something like TMZ, especially after inferring Jeter is a liar. Innuendo is his source of topics.

  9. The Common Man - Oct 12, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Um…in what way is Craig a hippocrite? If nothing else, I’ve found him to be largely intellectually consistent.
    “He continuosly gives his opinions and his take on baseball topics, then cuts someone to shreds for giving a differing opinion.”
    That’s called “argument,” and it’s ridiculous to think that just because you like to express your opinion, you shouldn’t criticize others. In fact, I know for a fact that Craig welcomes reasoned and intelligent criticism. And I also know how much he enjoys the hyperbole and silliness of posts like yours. He’s in his underground lair now, chuckling at you fanamine.

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 12, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    fanamine: When I suggest something, I imply. When you think about someone else’s suggestion, you infer. It’s not that hard.
    But let’s get down to brass tacks: is it really your position that everyone’s opinion should be honored and should go uncriticized? Even if that opinion — in this case Rhoden’s — is based on a big fat lie, that being the “purity” of baseball of yesteryear. It would be one thing if he said “I’d like to see the Yankees-Dodgers, because I think it would be neat.” It’s another thing altogether to say “Baseball needs the Yankees Dodgers because it needs to restore purity, and only they can do it.” The former is not an opinion I would ever go after. The latter? Sorry, someone has to call B.S. on that.
    Just as you’re welcome to call B.S. on mine. If you do it though, take the opinion on on the merits. I think you’ll find that reasoned criticism is most welcome around here.

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 12, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    You are right, they cannot bring back purity to something that has never been pure before. If the two people you mentioned are ‘convicted,’ then why are they still playing or not in jail?

    Umm, Craig never said this, $100M Juicer Teams did. It’s one thing to misquote someone, it’s an entirely other, and more irresponsible, to wrongly quote someone and then use that wrong quote to bash a person.
    As TCM mentioned, CC enjoys a good argument, when one is made. Rhoden isn’t making one, nor are you.

  12. Jeff P. - Oct 12, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    Craig’s being too nice to you. I immediately disregard any commenter who doesn’t know how to spehl.
    And for my money, Angels vs. Dodgers is more in line with what the country needs. Or at least that economically nose-diving state.

  13. bh0673 - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    This Yankee fan would rather see Phillies – Yankees. The media will refuse to let the Torre story die it will occupy every news story every interview and to be honest I want to read about baseball not the Torre story. Secondly I have enjoyed no Manny in the American League I have no desire to see him and his antics in New York.

  14. bh0673 - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    Forget the steroid equasion in the purity aspect, the unbalanced schedual throws it all out the window regardless. How can oyu compare a player who playes moist of his games against a weak division against a player who plays in a tought division.

  15. fanamine - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    I can agree you did suggest about Jeter, however, you are disingenuous if you think it was appropriate. You achieved the desired result and we can agree to disagree on your intentions. If I thought an opinion should not go uncriticized, then why did I give you fodder to respond to me? It is good to know you chose yourself to be the judge of what is reasonable, as well as what the definition of purity is supposed to be. I will not disagree with that as you will tell me how unreasonable I am to believe I have a reasonable opinion of my own.

  16. The Common Man - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Fanamine, I love you. Come live at my house and spout crazy nothings all day. It’ll be my own personal, constantly running, Mystery Science Theater reel for me to comment on.
    You continue to not actually make an argument. Indeed, like all of us, Craig has a definition for what he believes is reasonable and pure and funny and stupid and whatever other adjective he comments on. He is allowed to express that opinion and you are allowed to argue with his position. But you’re not doing that. You’re just telling Craig what you think he’s doing. And you’re correct, by the way, Craig is arguing that Rhoden’s apparent vision of purity is B.S. and unreasonable. And that makes you angry. Why? Is Craig wrong?
    (and please feel free to make as little sense as you want in your response)

  17. fanamine - Oct 12, 2009 at 7:04 PM

    To the quite common man
    I am not really angry and was enjoying debating with Craig to get a rise from him, as he did from me. That is not unlike what you attempted with your interjection. Since I responded to Craig it is for him to decide what makes sense or not. We will both agree and disagree again on other topics. That may not make sense to you, but so does a fifth grade reader. I am just kidding, old friend. I apologize for not loving you back. Judging by your comments you seem to be very lonely. I would take up your offer to live at your house, but cardboard boxes have only enough room for one person to fit comfortably. — Just kidding! I do enjoy humor and you were pretty funny in what you said. It did make sense, too.

  18. Tom Horton - Oct 12, 2009 at 9:31 PM

    Clearly! Baseball was it’s most pure between 1988 and 1992! http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=4268999 (Bill Simmons ESPN Mag link)

  19. David in Idaho - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:18 PM

    I have no interest in watching a world series featuring no-names. Bring on the big guns.

  20. Jonathan in Arizona - Oct 13, 2009 at 1:28 AM

    NOT having the Yankees in the World Series would proove once again that money does not buy anything. Besides if the Series was in California, we would not have to worry about snow-outs and rain-outs like the rest of the country.. Thats PURE basesball.. the boys of “Summer” not the boys of “Winter”

  21. terry - Oct 13, 2009 at 2:52 AM

    Last years ratings of the phillies/rays were some of the lowest of all time, dodgers/yankees will have the majority of the country watching

  22. bh0673 - Oct 13, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Jonathan, I hope you realize the chance for snow in New York and Philadelphia this time of the year is just about zero. Rain can happen anywhere even in California.

  23. bh0673 - Oct 13, 2009 at 7:41 AM

    Terry you are correct
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wstv.shtml
    1995
    ABC / NBC
    19.5
    33
    28,970,000
    1996
    FOX
    17.4
    29
    25,220,000
    1997
    NBC
    16.8
    29
    24,790,000
    1998
    FOX
    14.1
    24
    20,340,000
    1999
    NBC
    16.0
    26
    23,731,000
    2000 FOX 12.4
    21 18,081,000
    2001 FOX 15.7
    25 24,528,000
    2002 FOX 11.9
    20 19,261,000
    2003 FOX 13.9
    25
    20,142,000
    2004 FOX 15.8
    25
    25,390,000
    2005 FOX 11.1
    19 17,162,000
    2006 FOX 10.1
    17 15,812,000
    2007 FOX 10.6
    18
    17,123,000
    2008 FOX 8.4
    14 13,635,000

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