I root for a Subway Series World Series every year. Why? Because I genuinely love both the Yankees and the Mets. Let me tell you why i want a baseball championship where all you have to do is go from the 7 train in Queens to the 4/5 in Manhattan to the Bronx.
In the first game of this past weekend's Subway Series, with all games being held in the Metropolitan's new stadium (which should be called Jackie Robinson Stadium instead CitiField), the Mets committed 3 unforced errors in the 2nd inning in a display of tremendously bad baseball. The Metropolitans, if you recall from history, are the step-franchise of the once great Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Once NYC boasted the most MLB franchises of any city. This was the Capital of Baseball. For long- forgotten political and economic reasons the Giants and the Dodgers skipped town and left the city with its anchor iconic team, the NY Yankees. It was a stroke of genius to create another team, give them a Queens stadium, and combine the colors of the Dodgers and the Giants. The Brooklyn Bumbs live on in the 2009 Mets.... (continue reading)
My understanding of baseball reaches back to 1986. I lived on St. Johns between Washington and Underhill, in Brooklyn – not far from the old Dodgers’ Ebbets Field. That summer, bullets flew around NYC, a town awash in cocaine and crack money. Even my favorite players like Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden were playing on the party side of the fence. That 1986 team knew how to win and how to celebrate. They went on to win the World Series. Because it was such a dangerous town in that era, my brother, sister, and I were not allowed to go anywhere. We stayed in the house all summer watching soap operas and baseball games. And baseball became a soap opera as the Mets were on a historic run. Strawberry and “Doc” Gooden were my favorite players. I wanted that golf-drive uppercut swing like Strawberry and I wanted the lights-out arm of "Dr. K" Gooden. Even though their off-field exploits would become more famous than their play on the field, in 1986, to a nine-year-old, they were pure and could do no wrong.
Now, my Yankees. I love them. The Mets are inconsistent, the Knicks are heartbreakers, the Rangers and Islanders are a mess, and the Jets… don't get me started. The Giants make us proud, but it's the Yankees, with their 26 world championships – the most in any sport in the world – that represent NYC better than anything else. We like winners. I even rooted for Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly when they struggled for the Yankees through the lean years of the 1980’s.
How can I love both NY baseball teams? Because they're interconnected. Strawberry played for all four current or former New York teams: the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants. He's the only player to spend his entire career playing for these teams. And Strawberry and Gooden are the only players to win a World Series championship with both of New York's current teams. Darryl and Doc may have had their problems, but they were winners and life is not about how you manage when things are good, but how you bounce back. They bounced back; they brought honor back to the Bronx! So there you have it. I am 32-years-old, but my inner nine-year-old is still rooting for both teams, no matter what old-timers, Queens’s residents, Yankee-haters, Bronx diehards or anybody else says. I was born here and I can root for both teams. So I want to see a Subway Series every year for the Fall Classic. (What did I do in 2000 when they met in the series? Ha! You have to ask. I defaulted and rooted for the Mets: I figure the Yanks have plenty, why not let the feisty rebels take one from the Evil Empire.)
Cheers to Mariano Rivera for recording his 500th save in last night’s game. The Yankees took all three at Jackie Robinson Stadium. I refuse to call it CitiField. Not just because I hate the name, but because since Citibank is more or less owned by the U.S. government, I figure the government can rename the stadium. What would be more perfect than naming the stadium for the man who broke baseball's color barrier? Don't you agree? Let me know. And tell me what team you rooted for as a child. Have you stuck with them or did they break your heart too many times?