By Father Gabe Costa
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Just when you thought that it was safe — that the discussion about the Mets and Yankees and whether New York belonged to the Metropolitans or to the Bronx Bombers was over — the Subway Series came around.
Last week, the Big Apple hosted four intra-city games between Gotham’s crosstown rivals. The first two contests took place at Yankee Stadium, after which Citi Field was the site where teams crossed swords.
Going into the 2014 campaign, the Yankee enjoyed a 54-40 edge in victories (not counting their 2000 World Series triumph) over the Mets. However, the Mets swept the 2013 Subway Series, for one of the few positive accomplishments in an otherwise dismal season for the Amazin’s.
This did not go down well with Yankees fans.
So when Monday, May 12 came around, there was perhaps a certain subliminal sense of revenge present with the Bombers and their followers. In other words, they were out for blood.
And blood they got.
By Tuesday evening, May 13th, the blood had been manifest in terms of a bloodbath. The Mets made mincemeat of the Yankees. In their own home, no less — on the field which is across the street from where the very House That Ruth Built had stood for over eight decades.
Within a period of 27 hours or so, the Yankees gave up 21 runs to a team which, to put it mildly, had not exactly displayed a stellar offense during the first six weeks of the season. And although the Yankees scored 14 runs in these two games, they had nothing to show for it.
During those two games, the Mets took Yankee Stadium away from the Yankees and made it their own park, hitting baseballs as if they were playing on a little-league field.
Former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson came into the series with a batting average straddling .200. During the two games in the Bronx, this lefty-hitting right fielder who wears No. 3 made like a former lefty-hitting right fielder who wore No. 3 for the Yankees. He hit two home runs, drove in five and batted .500.
At this point, the Yankees had not beaten the Mets since 2012, and had dropped six in a row.
Would the Yankees get swept again this year? If one believes in momentum pendulums, the pendulum was increasingly favoring the Mets.
On the evening of Wednesday, May 14, Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka was slated to start. All he did was pitch a complete-game shutout, yielding four hits while striking out eight and walking none. The final score was 4-0.
The next evening, the Yankees squeezed out a 1-0 win, yielding only three hits to the Mets.
Two shutouts while surrendering seven hits in 18 innings. What a difference a ballpark makes!
And because of this, we are left with lots of questions — in two parts.
The first is, given that 35 runs had been scored over two days at Yankee Stadium, why so many? Poor pitching? Great hitting? Positive wind currents? Short distances? Why is it so easy to score runs and especially hit home runs at Yankee Stadium?
This is followed by another inquiry. Why were only five runs scored at Citi Field during the two games last week? Great pitching? Poor hitting? Negative wind factors? Long dimensions? Why is it so difficult to score runs and especially hit home runs at Citi Field?
One city. Two very, very different ballparks.
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