Yankees versus Dodgers. It is a historic rivalry. By historic, I mean that it's more a thing that was than a thing that is. Because, let's face it, the historical angle on this matchup has grown stale. The last time these two flagship franchises met in the World Series was 1981. The good news is that you don't need to dwell on the history to get excited about this weekend's showdown at Dodger Stadium, though of course I'll do it anyway.
This will be the fifth time New York and Los Angeles have hooked up in an interleague series, with the previous four matchups amounting to 13 games, with the Dodgers holding a 7-6 edge. Here's the summary:
2004: Los Angeles won two of three at Dodger Stadium.
2010: New York won two of three at Dodger Stadium.
2013: The teams played two games each in both cities, splitting both series.
2016: The Dodgers won two of three at Yankee Stadium.
What do you remember about those series? Me, I have no specific memory of any of them, only that they happened. Nevertheless, it still feels special. I mean, despite how long it's been since the Yankees and Dodgers have met in a Fall Classic, it was once such a frequent pairing that there had to be young children who thought the teams met in October by default. The Yankees and Dodgers met in the Series six times in 10 years from 1947 to 1956. They've hooked up 11 times overall, including four since the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Chavez Ravine. But, again, it hasn't happened since the year Ronald Reagan was sworn in as our 40th president.
It's kind of amazing it hasn't happened in so long. Since 1981, the teams have combined for 10 pennants and six championships, though the Dodgers have accounted for just one of those titles. Eight times since then, both teams have been in the playoffs in the same season, including the past two. Yet the last World Series game between the Yankees and Dodgers was the last game Reggie Jackson played for New York. Jackson is now 73 years old.
While the competition will be fierce, this could be the year the drought ends and we finally "get" that 12th Yankees-Dodgers World Series matchup. (I put "get" in quotes because obviously not everyone is aching for another meeting of the two behemoths.) As things stand, the Yankees have a two-game edge over the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League. The Dodgers have owned the National League's best mark for most of the season and are eight games up on the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees and Dodgers may well enter the playoffs as the top seeds. That guarantees nothing, but it's better to have home field than not.