NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets aren’t going to miss Derek Jeter. Not on the field, anyway.
Jeter was in just his second full season when interleague play began in 1997. Now the Yankees captain is heading into his final Subway Series, looking to tack on to his gaudy numbers against the Amazin’s — .368 average with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs in 84 games.
The Mets and Bombers renew their rivalry on Monday at Yankee Stadium for four straight games — two in the Bronx, two in Queens — that will determine bragging rights in New York City until they do it again next year.
“It’s a fun atmosphere,” said Jeter, who will retire after this season. “The fans get into it, therefore it’s exciting for us as players. So we look forward to it. It’s a good time.”
The Yankees are 54–40 against the Mets in the regular season, but lost all four games to their National League counterparts in 2013. It was bad for the Bombers, but nowhere near what they went through in ’97.
“You felt as though you had to win the series, like it was the World Series,” Jeter said of the first regular-season Subway Series. “It was all anyone was talking about. We lost the first game, and it was almost the end of the world.”
Interest has dipped a bit, though it remains one of the highlights of a long baseball season in New York.
“When you get in the ballpark, it’s pretty intense,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think any time you do something for the first time, there’s a little more excitement than the second, third, 17th, 18th. But I still think it’s great for the city.”
The Yankees are sending veteran Hiroki Kuroda (2-3, 4.43 ERA) to the hill Monday night, while the Mets will counter with 40-year-old Bartolo Colon (2-5, 5.36).
Jeter is 15-for-39 against Colon.
This year’s series has a little more juice thanks to former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who said during his introductory press conference in Flushing, “A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans.” Granderson, hitting .185 with three home runs, signed a four-year deal with the Mets this offseason.
Then there was the ill-received letter from the Mets to their fans, asking “True New Yorkers” to pledge their support to the franchise.
In the end it comes down to baseball. And both the Mets (17-19) and the Yankees (19-17) could use a winning streak at the other team’s expense.
“I think it will be a fun four days coming up,” said Mets manager Terry Collins.
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