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.”