You know that scene from The Wrath of Khan where Khan, for no reason other than his own pretension, quotes Moby Dick at a fleeing Kirk, even though Kirk can’t hear him? That’s what it’s like when anyone from Atlanta meets a Torontan.
Torontan? Torontian? Torontonian? Huh. Google tells me that it’s apparently Torontonian. Which makes me think that the native peoples of Toronto are small teddy bear looking characters who plan on using their primitive but adorably effective tools to beat off a massively more powerful, militarily superior, technologically super advanced occupier/invader. It’s like, al Queada Moons of Endor, or AQMoE, if you’re speaking in “intelligence business lingo.” Pronounced ak-MOE. Also purveyors of tasty burritos.
Where was I? Oh. Toronto. Khan. Atlanta. Kirk. Hate’s last breath and all that. That’s a totally distinct sci-fi universe for crimminy’s sake! Actually, I suppose it might be three distinct sci-fi universes. There’s the one universe where aging religious fanatics from the dusty outskirts of civilization wage a war of counter insurgency and terrorism against a massive, technologically advance Empire. There’s the universe where genetically engineered ubermenschen holdovers from a series of global eugenic wars in the 1990s wage violent personal vendettas against the admiralty of a pseudo-militaristic yet post-capitalist-in-the-Marxist-sense federation of planets, all while dressed in chest bearing leather. And then finally, there’s the universe where Toronto and Atlanta are “natural rivals.” All things considered, I think the last one’s the least believable.
Today marks the fourth and final game of our split home and away series with our “natural rivals,” the filthy, stinking Torontonians. They will celebrate this day by starting a guy named “Dickey.” That fact has little to do with anything other than that I chuckle like a half-baked 14 year old every time I say “Dickey.” Go ahead. Say it out loud. “Dickey!” Use your Beavis voice.
Anyway. Rivals! Toronto! No, you’re not the only one to look at this and thing “what the hell?!” As iceberg584…heh. I just referred to a real human being as “iceberg584.” Internets! You so crazy!
As iceberg584 pointed out yesterday, Atlanta’s original “natural rivals” were the Red Sox. If anyone asked, this was hand waved away by citing the Braves’ franchise history and its roots as the Boston Beaneaters. Or Bees. Beaneaters, I think. Regardless, as tenuous as it was, as far as it reached, at least it was an attempt. But then, stupid things happened. And as stupid things tend to do, the stupidity started with Jeff Loria.
See, originally, while the Braves played Boston for history’s sake, the Blue Jays played Montreal. Because, Canada. That made sense. It was a lovely baseball reenactment of the Quebecios’ ruthless drive for independence and throwing off the Anglo-European yoke of their misery. And because, Canada. And all the while, Philadelphia played a nice little geographic rivalry series against the Baltimore Orioles who were less than an hour down I-95 from them. But then, Loria happened. Loria killed the Expos, the Expos became the Nationals, the Orioles then had to be “natural rivals” with the team from Washington, which in due order sent Philly hurtling up the NEC for a “natural rival” in Boston. No one actually believes any of this, by the way. Excepting the Orioles-Nationals bit. Especially not Major League Baseball, because in point of fact, the “natural rivals” for the Atlanta Braves in 2014 will once again be the Boston Red Sox. Next year, the Phillies will line up with the Torontonians. MLB is just admitting it up front, calling it a “split rivalry,” which is Selig-speak for “we’re just making this shit up as we go.” This is also true of the “natural rivalries” between the Texas Rangers and their hated nemeses, the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year the Rangers hate the D’backs and the Astros, who up until last year hated the Rangers, because, Texas, now hate the Rockies. But next year the Rangers will totally hate the Rockies and the Astros will hate the Diamondbacks. All the while, they will continue to secretly continue to hate each other. Because, Texas. If this all begins to feel like a really bad episode of ABC’s Wife Swap mashed up with that horrid remake of Dallas you’re cottoning on to things pretty well.
The fact of the matter is there are only five or six “natural rivalries” that ever made one measly iota of sense, and most of them are split NL/AL cities. Subway Series? Yes. Crosstown Classic? Absolutely. In fact, no NL/AL set can really match up to Chicago vs Chicago. Those guys really do hate each other. Way more than the Mets-Yankees thing, which despite this year’s results to date is really just a case of the older brother holding the younger brother down and farting on his face while everyone else points and laughs.
A’s – Giants makes sense out by the Bay, as does the annual showdown of overpriced free agents on both LA clubs. Glamor! Stars! Carl Crawford! The O’s – Nats series makes sense too, both because it’s a mere 30 miles between the two stadiums and because any excuse to poke Peter Angelos in the eye is welcome. But that’s really about it. Honestly, if there’s less than 50 miles between the teams, it works. Otherwise? I guess STL vs KCR works, because 300 miles of flyover country is like 30 miles of a coast. Mmmmm, cow farms. Hard to wash that out of your nostrils, kids!
Everything else is crap marketing that makes no sense whatsoever. Miami vs Tampa? Is that something like golf, where the team with the fewest fans to show, wins? Anyway. Game thread.