Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dodgers-Yankees rivalry
The notion of picking all-time teams, especially in baseball, is always a dicey undertaking as was evident this week in a story in the L.A. Times that matched the best players of the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers against the all-time greats of the New York Yankees.
The story preceded the start of this weekend's three-game interleague series between the two teams at Dodger Stadium, a pairing that has been the focal point of the Dodgers' season, especially in promoting ticket sales.
The story's selection of players basically matches both teams' historic strengths--the hitting power of the Yankees versus the Hall of Fame pitchers of the Dodgers. As is usually the case with picking these kinds of lineups, it's a subjective work which means that some deserving players get left off the list.
On the Dodgers' side, the catcher was Roy Campanella, who played all of his days with Brooklyn and he could be considered more of a sentimental choice. A strong case can me made for four other catchers: Mike Piazza, Mike Scioscia, Steve Yeager and John Roseboro. Piazza, who is sure to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, would get my vote, with Scioscia a close second.
For the Yankees, the story mentioned that their starting pitching was the team's weak spot, yet Roger Clemens was not on the team. Was this an oversight or was he ignored because of his alleged use of steroids?
Also, the story doesn't pick the all-time managers, which could have provided the most fun and debate. For the Yankees, a good argument could be made for Joe Torre, the current Dodgers manager, as the best Yankee skipper. He trails only Joe McCarthy in wins and guided the team to 12 consecutive post-season appearances including six World Series and four world championships.
The story also speculates on head-to-head confrontations, such as Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax pitching to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. For me, pitting players against each other from different eras is interesting to a point, but generally becomes a waste of time. To play along, though, I would pick Koufax to strike out Gehrig, but I would go with the Babe against Drysdale, especially at Yankee Stadium.

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