The Subway Series Is Missed Already

The coronavirus has taken a lot from us, obviously we have dealt with serious issues, the most serious of all being life and death and the safety of our friends and family. This pandemic has also made us realize that we need to appreciate the little things, the minuscule pleasures in life that we were taking for granted.

I grew up in New York, before becoming a Dodgers fan at the age of fourteen, I was consumed with New York baseball, primarily the New York Yankees. Every summer night as a kid, the Yankees would be on, you would be consumed by the history and nostalgia of the old Yankee Stadium, it was a baseball fans dream stadium. The Joker to the Yankee’s Batman was and always will be their cross-town rival, the New York Mets, the Subway Series was also a highlight of my summer and is still to this day extremely enjoyable to watch and it brings back memories.

The pandemic has once again removed a pleasurable experience from our life, some players on the Mets have tested positive for the virus, therefore this weekends series between the Yankees and Mets has been cancelled. The Subway Series was always the center of New York, especially in the 2000 World Series. The Yankees dynasty was en route to their third straight title but they limped into the playoffs, losing 17 of their last 20 games, somehow, they held on to win the division and defeated the A’s and Mariners for their fourth World Series appearance in five years. On the other side, the Mets, upstart, exciting, led by future Hall of Fame catcher, Mike Piazza. The Yankees would go onto win the series in five games, putting the fourth and final ring on the hand of the 90’s-00’s Yankees dynasty. They would lose in seven to the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series and the team changed, Brosius, O’Neill, Knoblauch, and Martinez would all either leave or retire. What gets lost in the shuffle is that the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets was a phenomenal series, all the games except for game 4 were separated by one or two runs. The series could have gone either way, it was an eerily similar outcome for the Mets in the 2015 World Series when they lost to the Kansas City Royals.

At the time, the 2000 World Series was the least viewed series of all time, but it was a regional must watch. Perhaps the viewership was down because people were sick of seeing the Yankees, the Mets do not have a national audience and as always, in a year of a presidential election, the World Series and NFL ratings always seem to take a hit. I remember being allowed by my parents to stay up for every game, as a seven year old kid that was an amazing treat and an experience that I will never forget. I can vividly remember the final inning of game 5, the base hit by Luis Sojo off of Al Leiter (one of my favorite MLB arms of all time) and then the final matchup of the series, Mariano Rivera vs Piazza and the absolute missile Piazza hit to center field that eventually landed in the glove of Bernie Williams, clinching the three-pear for the hated New York Yankees.

Any other year, I wouldn’t think twice about this matchup between two teams that I don’t root for but for some reason, this pandemic has hit me in the feels in terms of missing things that I took for granted or things that are associated with phenomenal memories of growing up. Sports always has an uncanny way of teaching us about life, about being more than a game, it has a deeper meaning. Nothing was more true when baseball was the first step in a return to normalcy following 9/11, sports seemed to be a welcomed sight for our country in the midst of a pandemic this year. I have always believed that sports transcends but it so much more evident now, it is a time of great change and we need to come together, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to focus on the little things in this messed up life, cherish the moments that put a small smile on your face, like a matchup between the Yankees and Mets on a summer night in New York.