Work in Sports
Subway Series, interleague play kindles flame
By Desmond M. Wallace, CNNSI.com
As the rest of the nation turns its attention to the presidential race, in New York, the reality of the first Subway Series since the Eisenhower administration means that for, perhaps, as many as seven more nights in October, the campaign for a new Chief Executive of the Free World will just have to wait.
Having dispatched of their respective League Championship foes in relatively tidy fashion, the Yankees and Mets will meet not only to determine the 2000 World Series champion, but also to decide intracity bragging rights -- and not necessarily in that order.
While the Yankees-Mets rivalry was reborn with the introduction of interleague play in 1997, the bitterness between the two clubs heightened on July 9th of this year when Roger Clemens beaned Mets' catcher Mike Piazza with a fastball to the noggin. The Yanks won four of the six games played against the Mets this season, to up their interleague record to 11-7 alltime against their Queens cousins.
The Yankees-Mets intracity postseason showdown marks the 14th in Gotham City history and the eighth since the term "Subway Series" was first coined, in 1941. Until 1958 when both the Dodgers and Giants bolted for the West Coast, New York City not only was home to three Major-League teams, but was also a routine host to postseason Subway Series. In fact, nine of the Yankees' first 17 world championships came at the expense of either the old Dodgers or Giants. In addition, when Brooklyn’s seemingly eternal title drought finally ended, in 1955, it was the hated Yanks whom Dem Bums defeated for their lone championship in the burough.
Astute baseball observers will note that New York is not the only city to have hosted an intracity World Series. In Chicago in 1906, the southside White Sox handed Three Finger Brown two of the northside Cubs' four losses in their six-game Series.
In St. Louis in 1944, the Cardinals limited the old Browns to just two runs in the Series' final three games en route to their title. Of course, any future possibilities of intracity World Series in St. Louis and Chicago were permanently dashed when the Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season (and changed their name to the Orioles) and the Cubs and White Sox … Well, let’s just say that while the Cubs and White Sox still call Chi-town home, neither has since been mistaken for a postseason posterchild.
But in New York, rivalries divide friendships and families like no other place on Planet Earth. Residents there will willingly reveal their open hatred for one or the other team as easily as they will profess their love for their own side. While hatred and bitterness have long been associated with New York politics, for the first time in decades, such civil war hostilities will find their way to October baseball games.
And what self-respecting New Yorker wouldn’t vote for that?