The Royals will open the season at home, against Detroit. The Mariners, meanwhile, will start their season in Oakland. As usual, both the men directly involved and the fans of these two teams, will have one eye on the out of town scoreboard, wondering how those blackguards from Seattle or Kansas City are doing. From the plains to the sprucy Cascades, baseball fans will resume the perpetual partisanship that is the Battle for Grass Creek.
On Sunday night, we'll get one game: Yankees-Red Sox, and it just doesn't feel right. Royals-Mariners feels right. But hey, if ESPN wants to minimize their television audience, I guess that's their right.
No, the soul of baseball is a Royals-Mariners matchup on a perfect summer night at Safeco. The joys of Heaven, Robert Creeley once wrote, could only be an approximation of those found in the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium after a Royal victory over the hated men in teal. No other matchup quite stirs the blood like this one. If you thought there was rancour in Washington, tell a taxidermist in Tacoma that Willie Bloomquist is a 100% true blue Royal now days.
Sure, in recent years the rivalry has lost some of her old pizazz. There's less distinction between the two teams these days, now that the Royals have become mini-Mariners, building their brilliant core with traitors from the Northwest. In a way however, that makes this matchup all the more compelling. And yes, the rivalry dearly misses the presence of Bill Bavasi. Watching Bavasi and Dayton Moore match one another move after move, year after year, reminded Chuck Klosterman of how indie band A and indie band B kept pushing one another to be more awesome in the 1990s.
So, Mr. Selig, if this is the schedule you want, you can have it. I guess you don't appreciate what an absolutely mammoth market share in Wyoming can mean.