Interleague play may not have chased the clouds from baseball's future, but it has undoubtedly brightened the game's image for fans and the media. After the first week of mixed-league play, attendance was showing a 38 percent upward blip.
Does it all portend a new lease on life for the "national pastime"? For a sport that feeds on nostalgia, there are nothing but positives in rekindling cross-town and regional rivalries. The Mets versus the Yankees threw New York into a baseball-happy tizzy. The first Cubs-White Sox game drew 36,213 boisterous Chicago-area fans, on a weekday afternoon, no less. Then there's the cross-bay Giants against the A's in the west, and Toronto against Montreal up north.
Baseball's a little slow in getting around to this heightened competition - the other pro sports have long played across league lines. And some traditionalists wonder if it'll water down the All-Star confrontation (which used to be the test of National or American League dominance), to say nothing of the World Series.
Not to worry. The interesting new match-ups should help fans forget not only strikeouts, but strikes.