What Would Have Been: Close MLB interleague play, Wimbledon
There would have been a lot of close MLB rivalry games this week if not for the coronavirus pandemic, with five interleague series matching teams from the same city or state. All of those rivals will still get to play this year. The Associated Press looks at some of the sporting events that had been scheduled the week of July 6-12:
MLB: Five interleague instate series were set on the original 162-game schedule. The Mets and Yankees would have played for the first time this season in New York, while the Cubs and White Sox had two games scheduled in Chicago. The Oakland A’s would have made the short trip across the Bay Bridge to take on the San Francisco Giants, but the Cleveland Indians would have traveled a bit farther to play the Cincinnati Reds since their Ohio stadiums are about 250 miles apart. The two Los Angeles teams — the Dodgers and Angels — were set for a three-game weekend series in Anaheim.
All of those instate rivals will get to play this year even with baseball’s reduced 60-game schedule set to begin July 23-24. The revised schedule will have each team playing 10 games against its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league — AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central, and AL West vs. NL West.
TRIVIA BREAK: In what year did MLB introduce interleague games during the regular season, and what teams played in the first such game? (answers below).
TENNIS: After the traditional middle Sunday off, Wimbledon would have resumed with what some consider the most exciting day of tennis: The second Monday, when all 16 men’s and women’s singles matches in the fourth round are scheduled. Of the 19 times Serena Williams has entered Wimbledon, she reached Week 2 of the fortnight on 16 occasions; that includes seven of her 23 Grand Slam singles trophies and another four runner-up finishes, including in 2018 and 2019. Instead, she and the rest of the tennis world will wait for the next major tournament: the U.S. Open, scheduled to begin Aug. 31.
PGA TOUR: The John Deere Classic was supposed to be played for the 50th time this week, but instead will mark its 50th anniversary in 2021. The inaugural tournament in 1971 was won by Deane Beman, who won again in 1972, two years before he became the PGA Tour commissioner. Filling the gap this week is an extra tournament at Muirfield Village, a week before the rescheduled Memorial there.
TOUR DE FRANCE: The middle week of the three-week cycling race, which would have had its first rest day Monday after nine consecutive days of racing. The 21-stage race over 23 days will now start Aug. 29 and finish Sept. 20.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The San Francisco Giants won 4-3 at the Texas Rangers on June 12, 1997. The game took only 2 hours, 23 minutes to play, ending soon after three other interleague games started on the West Coast that night.
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