SUBWAY SERIES 2006
It was, at once, less epic and more epic than I imagined it would be And I mean “epic” in the traditional definition of the word: Webster puts it as “extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope”. It was David vs. Goliath, it was the underdogs triumphing against evil. The Mets spent the previous week downplaying the entire series which was a colossally right thing to do, because the mindfuck would have otherwise overpowered them to the point where the MFY’s would have triumphed.
You can say it’s just another game, that interleague play is stupid at this point, but in a town like New York, which has a cross-town sports rivalry that DOES NOT EXIST ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY (don’t start. just don’t. because you know i’m right), it’s not just another game. It starts on the streets, on the way to the game, when an elderly Hispanic gentleman wearing Yankee gray tipped his hat and said, “Best wishes to your team in the series.” The gaggle of Polish kids in Yankee colors who avoided my subway car – lone threatening Mets fan that I apparently appear to be. It was the 7 train rounding the corner at Court Square and riding in the front car in the front window, two Mets fans dressed to the nines and flying the colors. It was the way the Mets fans and the Yankees fans angled themselves to be at opposite ends of subway cars.
It would have been dumb in the extreme to drive to this game (not because of the traffic, we drive back roads and I don’t see it much) but I was glad to have taken the subway because it is part and parcel of the entire experience. Not just because some moron chooses to call it “the Subway Series” but because the subway is the lifeline of this city and the 7 train to Shea is pretty much exactly the way John Rocker described it once (without, of course, the gratuitously racial and sexist slurs). Add a game into the mix and you have Joe Yuppie and his buddies, ties stuck in their back pockets, drinking beer out of paper bags, German tourists who just want to see an American baseball game, a guy on a date with a girl who is going to freeze her ass off in her cute little date outfit, sandals, and woefully inadequate raincoat, and all the 7 train regulars who dread big game nights because it means the number of people that are jockeying for seats multiply, while they are just trying to get home quietly.
Watching the Yankees lined up in front of the dugout during the National Anthem induced almost physical pain. The sisters next to me when they arrived during batting practice: “It’s so WRONG to see them on our field!” For all of that — and given the amount of “Yankees Suck!” chants that erupt on any given night that the Yankees aren’t at Shea, the crowd on the mezz was more subdued than I had envisioned. It wasn’t for lack of Yankees fans around, even though this time apparently Mets fans did actually show up and represent for a change (unlike other series where the Yankees fans dominated because it was so easy to get a ticket).
But, then, the games. On our feet, pacing, chanting, wanting to get in the face of the arrogant Yankee fans but wondering if we really do have a leg to stand on, first place in the division or not. The ups, the downs. Randy Johnson, who, once upon a time, back in, oh, say, 1995, I actually quite *liked*. Heilman rescuing Gonzales. And then, back to David vs. Goliath in the real sense, DW faces Mariano Rivera AND shoots a ball over *Johnny Damon*’s head…
and there was much rejoicing. I stood there, watching the dugout erupt, watching David Wright practically skip down the first base line, and understood: no, it’s not just another game.
Sunday night I was by myself in the upper deck, grabbing a ticket off the drop because I really wanted to see Glavine pitch against the Yankees. Ooops. But, still, even surrounded by Yankee fans (who also can get in on a drop the same way I could), it was the same epic battle. The David Wright home run, I saw it bounce into the picnic area and then I lost track, dancing for joy in front of my seat. Duaner Sanchez (who is my boyfriend’s NSMC, non-sexual man crush, a term stolen from the brilliant Bat Girl) coming through in the clinch, and Billy Wagner – who the Yankees fans had been yelling for all night – when he came out, he probably would have gotten booed — except that this action reminded us that he was OUR guy, and instead he got an ovation — Billy Wagner pulled it out. A very Willie move, and he had to come out and face them again. He had to.