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For many years, the Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets has been a series that I have circled on the proverbial calendar. No matter the relative fortunes of the two teams, it has always been fun to watch the teams meet to determine intra-city supremacy. Some of the more memorable moments of the 2009 season came against the Mets, with the dropped pop-up by Luis Castillo and Mariano Rivera’s first career RBI being particularly notable. Throw in the World Series from 2000, and this rivalry has produced plenty of indelible moments.
However, the players and managers of the Yankees have often lamented the fact that the series is usually a no-win situation for the Yankees, as they are expected to take each series against the typically lesser Mets and only a sweep will suffice in the minds of some fans. Artificial pressure is infused into games that hold no more significance, and likely less, than a mid-June series with the Royals or Indians. Players who fail against the Mets get tagged with the “cannot win in big spots” label, while a 2-1 series win is often shrugged off as denoting a club that is simply fulfilling expectations.
With this seasons Subway Series upon us, I realized that I am experiencing a similar ambivalence to the matchup. When I posted my thoughts on this on Twitter, noting that these games are not big games just because the opponent is the Mets, a number of fans from both sides of the rivalry concurred. Artificial pressure added to a not particularly meaningful series that comes while both clubs are struggling leads me to view these three tilts as annoyances rather than exciting events. Bragging rights are not currently on the line, simply because no matter what happens in these two series, the Yankees will be fighting for a playoff spot and the Mets are unlikely to contend. In a way, the Castillo play from last season symbolizes the direction this rivalry has taken, heading from a compelling matchup to a quirky sideshow. The Subway Series seems to have lost a lot of luster, and I think only a move towards contention by the Mets could solve that. Even then, the drama would likely be born out of a matchup of 2 strong clubs rather than any inherent tension in this rivalry. Right now, with the current state of the two teams, I’m just not that into it.
How about you?
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