Once or (sometimes) twice a year, New Yorkers eagerly gather around their televisions with a mix of excitement and, occasionally, disappointment as the highly anticipated, Subway Series, begins.
This series holds immense significance for many Americans, as it showcases the fierce rivalry between the iconic New York Yankees and the relatively younger team, the New York Mets. The Subway Series has the power to divide families and friends in New York as passionate fans engage in friendly (or not-so-friendly) debates over which team reigns supreme. The spirited discussions and heated rivalries may often be observed throughout the city during this time.
A Long History
The Subway Series boasts a long and storied history. Interestingly, the rivalry initially began between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants before the Giants relocated to the west coast. The Mets didn't enter the interleague play picture until 1997, adding to the rivalry but not the extensive history.
For starters, the subway system was a remarkable leap forward in urban transportation, and with it, the obvious association with any New York rivalry team. Fans had to rely on the subway to reach the stadiums that both the Giants and the Yankees called home. This connection led to the light-hearted term, “Nickel Series,” since a subway ride in the early 20th century cost only five cents.
The establishment of the Mets occurred at a significantly later time than the subway system, which had already become New York's most popular mode of transportation. Once the Mets began to play interleague games against the Yankees, the name, “Subway Series” stuck. While other cities, like Chicago, attempted to create their own rivalries and adopt similar terms, they lack the same historical depth found in the Mets-Yankees Subway Series.
The term, “Subway Series” has become uniquely tied to the intense rivalry between these two New York baseball teams.
The Yankees are no strangers to rivalries. Their enduring feud with the Boston Red Sox has spanned over 100 years. In 1997, Major League Baseball made the decision to institute interleague play, where a team from the American League played a team from the National League. It did not take long for New Yorkers to get excited.
This new phenomenon further solidified a rivalry that was already deeply felt by nearly every New Yorker. Met fans traveled to the Bronx, donning their blue and orange clothes and jerseys. Yankee fans traveled to Queens, proudly wearing their traditional pinstripes. No one cared about the ballpark. The fans were “home” in either park.
Clemens vs. Piazza
One of the most memorable moments from this rivalry occurred when the Mets catcher, Mike Piazza's bat broke during a swing, and the Yankee pitcher, Roger Clemens, threw the broken piece in Piazza's direction as he ran to first base. This incident served to intensify the existing fire within the rivalry, leaving a lasting impression on fans while becoming a significant part of the history.
Met fans can’t help but bring up the incident today. The Mets-Yankees rivalry holds a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers, with this particular event serving as a notable highlight among the many dramatic moments that have unfolded over the years. When an announcer says, “There is no love lost between these two teams,” they are really talking about the teams’ fans.
This year's Subway Series coincided with Flag Day, a day when Americans honor and celebrate their country. The tie of these two events further heightens the excitement and patriotic fervor surrounding the series, as fans were able to unite in their love for their respective teams and their pride in their country. Ask any New Yorker and they will surely have an opinion about these battles on the baseball field.
Although ticket prices continue to spike for the Subway Series games, New Yorkers are fine catching their team at either stadium.
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