The Yankees’ and Mets’ collective success this year has placed an even brighter spotlight on the Big Apple, and for the next two days, that will increase even more as the two teams play each other and make the city the center of the baseball universe.
This series marks the first time ever that the Yankees and Mets play each other with both sides holding sole possession of first place in their respective divisions. Media and fan attendance have skyrocketed and the players are feeling it, too.
“It’s going to be super fun, especially because we have two really good ball clubs,” Pete Alonso said before Tuesday’s game. “It’s going to be a great test for us. I’m really pumped up about it.”
The managers wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re “pumped”, but the significance of these games has certainly burrowed its way into both guys’ brains.
“It should be important to us, and rightfully so,” Mets’ manager Buck Showalter expressed. “If we’re fortunate enough to get into the playoffs, this is a good experience for our players, being in this environment.”
While this is Showalter’s first taste of the Subway Series (interleague play did not exist when he managed the Yankees in the early and mid-90s), the man in the other dugout is an old veteran at this point.
“I always love — this is my fifth year here now — I’ve enjoyed coming over here, them coming to us,” Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone relayed. “This year obviously seems even bigger with both teams doing well. I’m excited about it. I think our guys look forward to playing in this kind of environment.”
The environment is something that every person involved with the Yankees and Mets always takes note of, no matter who the opponent is. With the Yankees mired in a brief nosedive — they’ve gone 5-8 in their last 13 games — Boone is intrigued by the idea of this series coming when it did.
“These are series that give guys a little shot in the arm, a little life.” Boone said. “I think most guys would agree that they like playing on this kind of stage.”
Showalter, by all accounts, has fallen in love with all things Mets during his first year driving the boat. Winning of course helps draw enormous crowds, which Showalter feels he and the boys are responsible for.
“The place has been electric,” Showalter remarked. “But it’s up to us. We control that. I hope everybody has a good time, parking isn’t an issue, the food is hot and the beer is cold.”