Subway Series has New York baseball fans dreaming of a Yankees-Mets World Series | Opinion
With the Yankees and Mets in first place, New York fans are hoping these are the two teams left to battle for the World Series. Tuesday's game was an exciting snapshot.
NEW YORK — The calendar read July.
It felt like October.
Tuesday marked the 26th edition of the Subway Series, but it was the first time the New York Yankees and New York Mets were each sitting in first place.
So who can blame the sellout crowd of 42,364 at Citi Field dreaming of what it would be like for a Mets-Yankees World Series?
“I think people would really, really love to see an all-New York World Series,’’ said Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo. “You saw what it was like. There were some big-time moments. Some big-time strikeouts. It felt playoff-like. It was everything we were hoping for.
The atmosphere was electric from the first pitch, and it started with a zany first inning.
Four home runs. Two doubles. Six hits. Six runs.
The Mets led after the first inning 4-2 and wound up with a 6-3 victory.
It was everything the Subway Series was cracked up to be, and on Wednesday, they’ll do it all over again.
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The crowd cheered the Mets and booed the Yankees. They booed the Mets and cheered the Yankees.
They chanted “MVP-MVP-MVP’’ when Yankees All-Star center fielder Aaron Judge stepped to the plate in the first inning and delivered his 38th homer of the season. Judge has the chance to join Babe Ruth and Roger Maris as the only players to hit 40 homers before the month of August.
They chanted “MVP-MVP-MVP’’ when Mets All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso hit a run-scoring double in the first inning, his major league-leading 83rd RBI of the season.
New York Mets great Darryl Strawberry, who won one World Series championship with the Mets and three more with the Yankees, threw out the first pitch.
Former All-Star infielder Todd Frazier, who played two-plus seasons with the Mets and half-season with the Yankees, was in the house and said there was no way he could miss it.
Former Cy Young winner David Cone, who spent seven years with the Mets and six years with the Yankees, was in the Yankees’ broadcast booth.
Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas, who spent last year as manager of the Mets, was booed when shown on the scoreboard.
And there was Mets manager Buck Showalter, a former Yankees manager, trying to make sense of it all, managing in his first Subway Seriesand remembering the old days of the Mayor’s Cup when late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner treated those spring training games like it was the playoffs.
“The atmosphere unbelievable,’’ said Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who hit a first-inning home run. “All of the people. All of the reporters in here. The atmosphere. Everybody was so excited
“It felt like a World Series environment.’’
Considering the Yankees (66-32) have the best record in baseball, and that the Mets (60-37) have the National League’s second-best record, could it be 2000 all over again?
“We know they’re good,’’ Nimmo said. “We know we’re good. This is one of those years where you could see a Subway Series.’’
Well, the Houston Astros may have something to say about that; the Yankees never came to bat with a lead in any of the seven games against them this year. It’s the same with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have the best record in the National League. And, of course, there are the Atlanta Braves, the defending World Series champions. The winner of the Juan Soto sweepstakes could find themselves in the mix, too.
But for now, after hearing and feeling the intensity of the crowd, with fans riveted on each pitch for nearly 3½ hours, why not have New York as the epicenter of the baseball world?
“That would be great if we’re playing against each other in November,’’ Alonso said. “It would be awesome. If that happens, the city would be on fire.’’
While the Yankees have had a winning season every year since the start of interleague play in 1997, winning four World Series titles and six pennants in the process, this is new ground for the Mets. They haven’t been to the postseason since 2016, which lasted just one game. They haven’t won a World Series since 1986. They’ve had only five winning seasons in 13 years.
But here they were Tuesday, kicking sand in the face of the Bronx Bullies, and believing it could be a sign of great things to come this season.
“We’ve played a lot of emotional games here,’’ Showalter said. “It’s a privilege to play in this environment. It’s a good experience for our players to be in this environment.
“Hopefully, we draw something from it, be able to reach back as we go forward, and be able to use it.’’
With Jacob deGrom pitching Wednesday in perhaps his last rehab game, they could have the most feared 1-2 punch in the game with Max Scherzer. Really, all they need to do is get the ball into All-Star closer Edwin Diaz’s hands. He recorded the final four outs Tuesday, and now has 27 strikeouts among his last 36 outs.
“We know when Eddie gets the ball, he’s going to shut the door," Alonso said. "What he’s been able to do, and make the adjustments over time, it’s been really impressive. He’s been stellar for us. We wouldn’t be where we’re at if he didn’t throw the ball like he has. He’s been huge for us.’’
The Yankees, of course, will continue to be the kings of this city until the Mets win another World Series. Maybe then, it won’t even matter. The Yankees have 27 World Series titles. The Mets will never catch them as long as anyone on this earth is still alive.
“They’re an extremely talented bunch,’’ Alonso said. They’re the best team in the American League. So this is really a great team win. Beating a team like that, we’re going to end up where we want to be.’’
The New York dream officially began Tuesday night.
Follow Bob Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale.