The Subway Series regained its luster in late July of this season after many years of not stirring as much buzz as it used to.
The players themselves said it wasn’t really a big deal, and the Mets were not in contention often enough to make the crosstown clashes more compelling.
But this year’s two-game-set at Citi Field recaptured the electricity of past Subway Series showdowns that had captivated the city. In the beginning, Mets fans were thrilled to see them win the first-ever regular-season game against the Yankees in the midst of their dynasty at Yankee Stadium in 1997. Then we witnessed the first Subway World Series in 44 years in 2000 when the Yankees won their fourth title in five years, and Roger Clemens threw the bat at Mike Piazza.
As both teams continue to fire up throughout this season as the 2022 world series top contenders, the Subway Series becomes once again the rightfully anticipated matches to enjoy and wager on for both fans and bettors.
Yankees-Mets Matchups Are Back In The Spotlight
Mets Have Rejoined The Battle For Local Bragging Rights
This year’s Subway Series in Queens conjured up memories of the 2006 season when both teams won their respective divisions, and the Yankees-Mets matchups generated a significant local excitement. It also recaptured the volume and sheer magnitude of Citi Field’s most memorable moments, which included their run to a World Series appearance in 2015 and Johan Santana’s first no-hitter in franchise history in 2012.
Sure, the Yankees have the best record in the American League this season and the most illustrious history of any franchise in pro sports. Their two-game loss in this edition of the Subway Series may be remembered as just a bump in the road by October, but there was no doubt this was a meaningful pair of games to the Yankees as well.
The team from the Bronx was taking this matchup very seriously because the Mets have established themselves as a true contender this year. The fact that this series was going to have much higher fanfare and media coverage than usual only added to the heat of the spotlight around the team, and we were all interested to see how they would respond.
Buck Showalter’s statement after the second game of the series added a most refreshing take on the city showdown, as it was not one that we have heard often or in a long time from someone on the team or its staff. He said this series was important to the team because it was also important to their fans.
Travis Jankowski reflected similar sentiments prior to the second game in the dugout when he noted how much a series win would mean to the fans. He spent time with many of them at a recent fundraiser for the “Amazin’ Mets Foundation” and got a sense of how deeply attached many New Yorkers are to the team and their history in a town that is shared with the Yankees.
Two Teams In A Pennant Race And A Fight For City Supremacy
The Yankees’ history of accomplishments as a franchise cannot be matched, but the Mets will always be a threat to tip the balance of local favoritism to their side at any time. New York has clearly been a Yankees town since the mid-1990s, but the Mets did have their time as a more popular draw in the 1960s, the early 70s, and most of the 1980s.
In reality, both clubs have large followings of loyal aficionados. The more casual fans will shift the overall perception of who is more popular and relevant at any time. But as Mets broadcaster, Ron Darling pointed out, seeing fans of both teams gather around the Tom Seaver statue outside Citi Field was a heartwarming New York baseball sight. The Subway Series had indeed ignited great enthusiasm from both sides again.
For the Mets, this two-game sweep sent another strong message to their fan base that the franchise has truly arrived as a bonafide contender. A long-scarred and large contingent of team followers has a “doom and gloom” mentality that seemingly kicks in whenever the Mets lose a few games. But this team, which also recently took two of three from Atlanta, is under new leadership from Steve Cohen and Buck Showalter, and it’s a new era in Flushing. Even if the Mets don’t win a World Series this season, the organization seems to have a very good chance of winning one soon.
The Yankees may have failed a two-game test against another top team, but they immediately made a move to bolster their outlook going forward. After the second loss to the Mets, the Yankees reacted by announcing a trade for All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who should provide a boost with Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles) sidelined. The Yankees do need Stanton to truly make a push for their first championship in 13 years, however, which seems like an eternity to the average Yankees fan.
Both the Mets and Yankees could still be on a path to meet again in October. Each one is expected to add to their roster to improve their chances of reaching the World Series.
These teams will clash again in late August, which should be another highly compelling staredown in what has become an invigorating revival of the Subway Series.
Featured Image: Bronx Pinstripes