Interleague play seems to fuel nearly the same talk every season. There is a lot of stories about location-based rivalries and seeing stars from other cities you don't often get to see play. There are jokes made about pitchers hitting and the Pirates being forced to find another hitter to DH. And, usually, with each match-up, a link or thread is found, no matter how vague or thin, to drum up anticipation for the possibility of nostalgic glory or budding baseball kinship. Except, perhaps, when the Texas Rangers play the New York Mets.
Even from the worst Interleague games a story is mined from the most picked-clean depths of baseball narrative. So, with that in mind, it got me thinking about, with the Rangers welcoming the Mets to town, how little these two teams mean to each other. There's nothing here. There's no history. There's no recent substantial transactions. There's no intertwined rosters. There's honestly no reason for these teams to play each other other than MLB told them that they have to. It's truly remarkably that these two teams even play the same sport.
This isn't an attempt to be cynical or snide at the expense of the Mets. I'm actually fascinated that there's practically nothing about these two teams playing a game that would interest anyone if it didn't mean anything already in the context of the season and standings. I mean, with the American League, it's easy. There's a reason for the Rangers to play every American League team. There's a built-in motive with every one of those teams. With the National League, it's harder to find those threads that weave a good yarn. And yet, for practically every other team, I could do that.
- The Marlins? Burkett for Helling and Helling for Vosberg, Michael Young #rangershitking, Ogando's debut, Treanor's triple.
- The Pirates? Michael Young's PNC Park All-Star Game triple, "This streak goes to 11!", Clint Hurdle.
- The Giants? :'(
But the Mets? I guess JD liked 'em as a kid and Nolan Ryan won a World Series there. That Ron Darling trade really blew. Endy Chavez made that awesome catch for the Mets in the NLCS that one time. Hmm, R.A. Dickey? Um, Bobby Valentine? Uh, the Shea Stadium Slip-n-slide? That's all I've got unless I plumb the depths of Joaquin Arias.
Congratulations, MLB. You did it. You made the perfect Interleague series. A series no one would have thought to schedule otherwise.
Friday, June 24 7:05: RHP Mike Pelfrey vs. LHP Matt Harrison
Saturday, June 25 3:10: LHP Jonathon Niese vs. RHP Alexi Ogando
Sunday, June 26 2:05: RHP Dillon Gee vs. LHP Derek Holland
Maybe the Rangers and Mets need a trophy to fight over. The battle for the Golden Horse Apple.
New York Mets (37-38, 4th Place NL East)
Rangers' 2011 Record vs. Mets: Does not exist
New York's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win against the Oakland Athletics
New York's Road Record: 19-18
Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 120/109 - wOBA: 103/106
SB Nation Mets Blog: Amazin' Avenue
|Match-up: (as of 6/24)||Rangers||Mets||Advantage|
|Overall RAR + UZR||60.4||25.3||Rangers!|
Questions to Answer:
- Even though he is currently hurt, can you guess the number of players that have been better than David Wright for the Mets judging by WAR this season? (If you guessed eight, you're a wizard.)
- Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in home runs in this series? (I'll say Josh Hamilton.)
- Over/Under: 2.5 400+ ft. home runs hit in this series by the Rangers?
- Did you know that former Ranger farmhand Mike Nickeas (0.2 WAR) has contributed more to the Mets this season than Jason Bay (0.1 WAR)?
- Best team song?