By Jason Keidel
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To a man – rather, to a fan – the Subway Series has been about more than baseball for over a decade. The games become a referendum on your humanity, as your allegiance to one “NY” cap renders you vulnerable to attack should your club get clubbed. Your ancestry and intelligence are questioned, among many unprintable things.
That’s how it used to be. I sat in the muck at Yankee Stadium, shivering against the cold, wet breeze as the place had a more laconic than lustful bent. A few Mets fans gleefully chirped for six innings, only to be muted by Mike Pelfrey’s meltdown in the seventh. Until then, I’d heard more noise at a poker game, so incongruous given the gravitas this series once commanded.
It can only cut one way for the Yankees – badly. Should they win they reinforce the notion and their role as big brother to the hapless Metropolitans, the $200 million behemoth who spanks the poor cross-town team shaving payroll in the Year of Madoff. The Yankees are expected to conquer. And no one seemed to care.
Maybe the mood was mandated by the weather. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that June looms, as it was a raw, wet day at Yankee Stadium, cold mist seeping through any clothing.
The only feel-good moment I experienced was on the D Train, watching a family wrapped in Gary Carter jerseys – a nod to “The Kid,” who was recently diagnosed with brain tumors.
Surely, there’s more of a wine-and-cheese crowd at Yankee Stadium, the J-Crew rowing teams littered with tall, affluent white males who deign to watch after munching a few olives at the martini bar. They don’t mind spending ten bucks on a beer. It’s all part of the “experience” at the new park, a decidedly corporate flag draped over our pastime. Since they (allegedly) got over 48,000 fannies in the seats, my lament comes from the minority.
Or maybe there’s little sizzle to the Subway Series these days. Indeed, few can doubt that the Subway Series has been saturated, the rivalry trivialized by six games per season. My solution is to make them play every other year, adding heft to the times they play. The Subway Series should be an event as much as a baseball game, must-see on your couch or at your park of choice.
You’ve often heard Sweeny Murti (who knows the Yankees far more intimately than I do) say that the players, while loving large crowds, loathe the inordinate importance given these games, which are games like other games. Perhaps you’d get an emotional bump from the players if they knew they’d play each other less.
Other pundits can drown you in scores and stats, how the Yanks almost never lose these rubber matches or how the Mets always seem to yank defeat from the grip of victory.
Some of us just wish these games mattered again.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
Has the Subway Series lost its luster? Let Keidel know in the comments below…