Tonight's game exposes the good and bad of NL/AL intermingling.
The good: We get to see how the Phillies stack up against a premier team from the American League. The bad: We get to see how the Phillies stack up against a premier team from the American League in a framework that isn’t reserved for the Fall Classic. After all, it’s Monday, June 16, a day that might have been set aside for a date with the Pirates in the dog days of yore. Instead, the Phils open three against Matt Damon and the world champion Red Sox when two-thirds of baseball has the night off.
While the results of this six-game homestand against Boston and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will go a long way in proving the Phillies’ mettle, this series does little else to excite me beyond the typical series. In fact, the artificiality is off-putting. It's nothing personal; Boston isn’t a team I follow because they’re not in the same league as the Phillies, and that's it. I haven’t watched a Boston game since they swept Colorado. I do not believe their fans are the "scourge of the country." Lymphoma survivor Jon Lester’s no-hitter provided a tremendous amount of inspiration, but as a team and a “nation,” the Sawx exist outside my sphere of consciousness. They exist for other people: readers of Bill Simmons; listeners of XM radio; wearers of Under Armour althletic attire. I don't follow Dice-K, I don't care about Big Papi, and there's something a little disingenuous about writing those knicknames here on my own blog.
I’ll watch this series regardless of whether PTI says I should.