Just another series?
But that's what the Boston Red Sox are saying. The Philadelphia Phillies, too.
If you believe them, then there's some swamp land in Florida I can offer you at a great price.
The Sox taking on the Phils is "just another series" like Red Sox-Yankees is "just another series."
And dinner at a 4-star restaurant is just another meal, no different than having meatloaf at the local diner.
"Casablanca" is just another movie.
A date with Scarlett Johansson is just another -- ho-hum -- night out.
New Orleans is just another city, like Keokuk, or South Bend, or Lowell.
A bottle of Dom Perignon is just another sparkling wine.
A Lamborghini is just another car.
Just another series?
Who are these teams trying to kid?
Yes, this three-game series in the City of Brotherly Love (a misnomer, if ever there was one, given that it also happens to be the city where Santa Claus was booed at an Eagles game) counts the same in the standings as a three-game series against, say, the Royals.
But it means much more than that.
Is Federer against Nadal just another tennis match?
Does the Italian soccer team approach a game with Cameroon the same as one with Spain, or Germany, or Brazil?
Celtics-Lakers isn't the same as Celtics-Cavaliers. Bruins-Canadiens is much bigger in Boston than Bruins-Predators.
And playing Augusta National isn't the same as playing your local muni.
So why do these guys say this stuff? What's the point?
You don't think the Patriots get more fired up about playing the Jets than they do the Bills? You don't think Boston College wants to beat Notre Dame more than Wake Forest? You don't think Louisville would rather knock off Kentucky than Seton Hall?
This isn't just another series going on in Philadelphia.
It is, in the opinion of just about everyone not wearing a NY logo, a preview of the World Series.
Ever since last winter, when the Phillies added Cliff Lee to an already awesome rotation that featured Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, and the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford, the feeling has been widespread that Philadelphia and Boston would be playing each other in the late fall.
This series features a couple of classic pitching matchups.
Tuesday night's game pitted Lee, who had hurled back-to-back shutouts (of the Marlins and Cardinals) in his previous two starts, and given up just one run in 33 innings pitched in the month of June, against Boston's Josh Beckett, who had a miniscule ERA of 1.86, but hadn't pitched since a one-hit shutout of Tampa Bay in 13 days because of intestinal issues. Lee didn't disappoint with a 5-0 shutout running his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 32 innings with his ninth career shutout.
After Wednesday night when John Lackey and his 7.36 ERA opposes 23-year-old Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83), ace lefties Jon Lester and Cole Hamels, both boasting 9-4 records, square off Thursday afternoon.
Does that seem like "just another series?"
Which is not to say that whichever team wins this summer series deserves to be favored in the Fall Classic. Nor even that either team will still be playing deep into October.
But the expectation certainly is that they will be, and so this three-game set takes on a special significance.
That's why this is the time to point out that, if not for interleague play, these two powerhouses might not meet at all this season.
There are some who rail against having teams from opposing leagues play each during the regular season, complaining about the inconsistency - and, in some people's opinion, the idiocy -- of playing by different rules (DH / no DH) in different ballparks.
Yet most fans obviously love interleague play.
You need look no further than the attendance figures for the Red Sox' trip to Pittsburgh over the weekend, where their three-game series with the perennially struggling Pirates (the Bucs haven't finished over .500 since 1992) drew the largest, second-largest, and fifth-largest crowds in the history of PNC Park.
That wasn't "just another series" for the Pirates.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that, despite the clichZs the players are spouting, what's going now in Philly isn't "just another series" for either the Phillies or the Red Sox.