June means two things: the heart of the blockbuster season in the nation’s movie theaters and interleague play in baseball. The big studios unleash their franchise players on a ravenous public while the American and National Leagues battle for supremacy. But, despite obvious cosmetic differences, the two things are not all that different.
By the time interleague play ends and the All-Star break rolls around, a lot of teams have already fallen out of contention. Does anyone really think that Cleveland is going to make a serious run at the pennant or that the Nationals are suddenly going to put it together and ride Stephen Strasburg into the World Series? Maybe they can play spoiler towards the end of the season but after you’ve passed interleague play, there’s not really much reason to watch them.
It’s kind of like the big blockbuster movies. Transformers II might not have much of a plot. Or a script. Or real acting. But it sure looks good on the big screen. Once it’s time has passed in the local cineplex, though, is there really any point to watching it? It’s not going to hang around for long. It’s there to make some money and get out.
And really that’s where we see the greatest similarity between the two. The money. Interleague play is a huge revenue generator for Major League Baseball. Mets and Yankees. Cubs and White Sox. Kansas City and…..well, maybe not KC. But there’s no doubt that MLB and the clubs are raking in the dough as a result of these matchups.
Just like the movie studios absolutely rake in the dough with their summer blockbusters. Sure, it costs a lot of money to make a new Spiderman movie but when it makes back twice as much as was spent, you can bet your *** they’re going to keep going back to the well on that one.
However, there’s one aspect of this whole thing that gives me some hope. Despite all the focus on the fanfare and hoopla surrounding the big releases and the marquee matchups, there are little things that slip through the cracks but go on to make all the difference. It can be a “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” that maneuvers around between the big boys and not only plays for awhile but also manages to make a lot of money and happily surprise people. Or it can be a so-so series that ends up having a much bigger impact later in the season. Do you really think that if the Yankees were to miss the playoffs by a game or two they won’t look back at that series with the Nationals and wonder what went wrong?
I guess that’s just one more reason why I love both baseball and movies. No matter how cynical I might become or how much I agonize over the state of the game or the state of the industry, there are always the little things that keep me coming back. Especially when it involves the Tigers.