Do you remember back during Spring Training in March when everyone was thinking that the AL East was wide open for anyone to grab? Well it turns out not much has changed in the last 5 months. Not only is the AL East the only division with 4 teams above a .500 winning percentage, but the 5th team that is under .500 is arguably one of the most dangerous offenses in the game. As a Mets fan, I am nearing the point in my baseball season where I can stop caring about the Mets demise and I can start paying attention to the contenders whom I’ll be watching come September and October. There is no doubt that the AL East is the most exciting division in baseball and I am going to break down how I feel the final 60 games will unfold and who will reign supreme in the East.
1st Place – Baltimore Orioles
Right now, Baltimore is 3.5 games out of first place trailing both Tampa and Boston. The reason I predict they will finish in first is because they are just too damn powerful in every position to not. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a lot of Orioles games this year because of my addiction to watching Chris Davis At-Bats. (Side note: I haven’t enjoyed watching two powerhouses like Davis and Cabrera go back and forth with bombs so much since the glorious 98′ season with Sosa and McGuire.) The Orioles rank first in baseball in Slugging Percentage, 3rd in Runs and 4th in Batting Average. Rarely do you see so much power mixed with batting average for a whole team. Buck Showalter has the luxury of changing his lineup on a nightly basis based on pitching matchups without ever sacrificing power or average. The one weakness that the Orioles have faced all year long is their uneven pitching rotation. While there have been some glimpses of success, for the most part the Baltimore rotation has sucked. So while I believe that the O’s will power through with their offense for the rest of the regular season, I also think that their dismal pitching will lead to their playoff demise.
2nd Place – Tamp Bay Devil Rays
If you jump back exactly two months from today you would have seen the Devil Rays sitting in 4th place in the AL East. If you look at the standings today, you will find Tampa in sole possession of first place by a half game over the Red Sox. Tampa has been lights out since May 27th by posting a 35-17 record since then. They have had all of their success with a steady balance of offense, pitching and defense. Between Evan Longoria doing what Evan Longoria does and Matt Moore proving in his second season that he is a legitimate Ace in this league, the Devil Rays are set for many more seasons to come. They have also found a nice diamond in the rough who actually used to hover around the Mendoza line while with the Dodgers; James Loney is hitting a remarkable .317 with 10 HR’s and 50 RBI’s after only hitting .249, 6 and 41 all last year between LA and Boston. It also helps that he has stayed healthy all year and has played in 101 of Tampa’s 103 games thus far. (Side note: The Devil Rays just lit up CC Sabathia, who I think is a top 5 pitcher in the AL, for 7 runs making it the third time they scored at least 5 on him this season.) The reason that I feel the Devil Rays will finish as one of the AL’s two Wild Card teams and not with the pennant is because while they are good in a lot of categories they aren’t the best in any of them and to win a division you need the best.
3rd Place – Boston Red Sox
If you tried to tell me before this season started that you believed the Red Sox would be leading the Majors in Runs and On-Base Percentage I would have laughed in your face. Well surprise surprise, that is exactly where they rank with just two months left in the season. Big Papi David Ortiz is having a career year when most people thought he should have been washed up at this point. It should only be a few months before we find out it is all from PED use, but let’s enjoy it while we can. In his 16th season, the ageless wonder has a ridiculous stat line that would easily be up for MVP talks if it weren’t for the seasons that Davis and Cabrera are having. The career .287 hitter is batting .323 with 19 HR’s and 65 RBI’s. With Ortiz proving age doesn’t matter, the emergence of Jose Iglesias and Dustin Pedroia putting up consistently great numbers, the Red Sox offense has been great all year. Their pitching, however, has the same issues that Baltimore’s does. Lester, Lackey and Buchholz have all had streaks this year of great successes but for the most part, their inconsistencies are the exact reason they will lose to the Devil Rays in the one-game Wild Card playoffs. Yeah, that’s right, I think both Wild Card teams this year are coming out of this beast of a division.
4th Place – New York Yankees
While it pains me to say this, the Yankees are the most impressive team, (based on what they have), in this division. Plagued with more injuries than I have ever seen a team suffer through, the Yankees have had to put laughable lineups on the field on almost a daily basis. No Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Granderson has led to lineups filled with the Overbay’s and Hafner’s of the world that would barely make it in the minors. Even with all of this adversity, the Yankees, whom I hate very much, have played way above average ball. In fact, they have been in playoff contention since day one of the season until recently. Even Yankees fans can admit that they did not expect to be above .500 at this point in the season but their roster and skill set are coming back to reality as they are now 7 games out of first. CC has been struggling worse than he ever has in his career and outside of Cano, there is not one bright spot on the entire roster. Thank God for Mariano Rivera who is absolutely killing it in his final year. If there was ever going to be a season where the Mets were going to out play the Yankees it was this one and yet it still didn’t happen. The Yankees have a lot of rebuilding to do over the next few years but they should not put their heads down because this season was way more of a success then it should have been.
5th Place – Toronto Blue Jays
Before this season started I was talking about how the Blue Jays had a great chance to take this division with the offseason moves they made. Turns out I was terribly wrong. My boy, RA Dickey, is proving that there is a huge difference between pitching in the AL East and the NL East. Last years NL Cy Young winner is getting lit up this year with a nearly 5 ERA and a pitiful 8-11 record. It doesn’t help that he pitches in the best hitting division in baseball and in a stadium that seems to give up 10 Home Runs every game played there. The Blue Jays struggles can not all be blamed on Dickey because their entire pitching staff BLOWS! In fact, the best ERA on their starting rotation comes from Mark Buehrle and his awful 4.50 mark. Pathetic! It was a very tough start to the season for Toronto with Jose Reyes being injured and not one person on their team hitting above .300. With the Blue Jays it has been Home Run or Strikeout all season long and it has led them to a pretty disappointing season. The brightest spot on their team this year has been the power surge that Edwin Encarnacion has been on. While his batting average is below .270 he has hit 28 Home Runs already and knocked in 80 RBI’s before August. Unfortunately for Toronto, there is not much to cheer about this year and with the amount of money they spent in the offseason you can expect to see this team dismantled during the Winter.
You might disagree with my predictions for how this season will unfold but there is no denying that the American League East is the premier division in all of Baseball.
I understand the Yankees are old. I think all Yankee fans have kind of seen the end of the road for the past few years. With Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte all in their late 30’s to early 40’s, we all knew that the time we all enjoyed in the late 90s was ending. However, nobody could have predicted that the wheels would fall of this rapidly in the form of injuries and reoccurring injuries.
Coming into the season, we knew Jeter and Rodriguez would be starting off the year a little gimpy, although there was hope Jeter would be ready for opening day. The assumption was a lineup of Cano, Granderson, Teixeira, Ichiro, Youkilis and Gardner would keep the Yankees afloat and provide enough runs to put them in contention. That hope was short-lived:
Texiera strained his wrist while taking batting practice at the World Baseball Classic. Came back for less than two weeks and reinjured it, out for the year! Granderson broke his finger by getting hit by a pitch, finally comes back, and gets hit by another pitch! Who knows when he’s coming back? Jeter pushed himself hard to get back, fractured his ankle again, pushed hard again to come back, strained his quad, back to the DL! Youkilis is signed to hold the fort down until the injured A-Rod comes back and his back goes out on him in April, done for the year and probably his career. So terrible that all we could do as Yankee fans was laugh it off.
Then the madness that is Alex Rodriguez around started to take over. There were steroid scandals, disputes with the Yankees front office, rumors of a plea bargain and 150 game suspension, and then when the smoke clears it looks like he might be coming back. Now I believe most Yankee fans are done with Rodriguez. He has been a negative influence for the past few years, was benched in the playoffs last season and has overall been more of an embarrassment than an asset since 2009. However, I truly believe that any Yankee fan who has seen the cast of amateurs the Yankees have thrown out at third base this season would have to change their mind to a degree, and even if they don’t like him, they understand there is a need for him.
He finally announced that he would be coming back Monday and I’m not going to lie, I was excited to see it all go down. The Yankees are in Texas tomorrow and to watch him come back against his former team would have been fascinating to see. He would automatically improve the Yankees, even if he were half the player he once was. The Yankees won against Boston last night and had the chance to take the series tonight, possibly building some momentum. However, the inevitable had to happen and A-Rod felt tightness in his thigh and will need to receive an MRI to check out the extent of the injury. The injury occurred on the last day of his rehab stint, one day before he was supposed to rejoin the Yankees.
I’m at the point where I have lost hope on the Yankees getting any of their aging players back. This is the season that Lyle Overbay, Luis Cruz, Eduardo Nunez and Zoilo Almonte get their Bronx experiences and take the team as far as they could, which is honestly not looking like it will be more than 162 games. The Yankees are 7 games above .500 which is somewhat miraculous given the roster they’ve been playing with, but they also find themselves in fourth place of possibly the most even division in baseball. They are 6 games behind the first place Red Sox, but I believe the Orioles and Rays, who are also ahead of the Yankees in the standings are each better than both the Yanks and Sox. To have had most of my hope on the off chance that A-Rod could come back and contribute was dicey enough, and now his set back confirms that the Yankees have hit the worst streak of bad luck I have ever seen in major league sports.
Because they are the Yankees and the greatest team in the history of professional sports, it will be tough to find anybody who will feel sorry for them outside of the Bronx. Even so, it doesn’t make the frustration for the pinstripe faithful any easier to deal with. I am still a die-hard fan and will tune into the games, but I am getting really sick of rooting for Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner.
The fans got way more than they paid for in the most recent Subway Series between the New York Rival Mets and Yankees. Just a few weeks removed from the smack down that the Yankees placed on the Mets in the Bronx, the Mets were poised and ready to return the favor. In typical Mets fashion, a sub-par performer, closer Frank Francisco, opened his mouth and labeled arguably the best team in baseball a bunch of chickens. Not a smart move when you are going to face off with said team the next day.
Luckily for Frank, he was able to back up his trash talking with a save opportunity in game one of the three game series. The Mets came out with a win, but Frank made his fans sweat as he put the tying runs on base and had to finish the game against the always scary Mark Teixeira. It’s nice to know that no matter how dumb an individual player might look with what they say, the rest of the Mets team has their back regardless. This team camaraderie was shown as Mets reliever, Tim Byrdak, pranked Francisco by bringing a live chicken into the clubhouse.
After dubbing the chicken “Little Jerry Seinfeld,” in honor of the great sitcoms episode with a chicken with the same name, the Mets media had a field day. When the joke ended, Byrdak set up a home for “Little Jerry” at an animal sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. The Mets donated $500 to that sanctuary upon the chickens departure but not before Tim Byrdak set up a photo op.
“Holy Cow, Little Jerry, don’t freak out!” Byrdak said as more than 20 cameras flashed simultaneously.
Unfortunately for the Mets, team shenanigans do not guarantee wins as the Yankees came out in game two in an early hole and found solace in a name that has been around for a while. Raul Ibanez is so old that I remember playing with him on Nintendo 64’s Ken Griffey Junior’s Baseball back in 1994-95 when I always played as the front running Mariners. I mean it’s not like I was going to use the early 90’s Mets. Who would have thought that this 20 year veteran would still have enough pop in his bat to shatter the Mets dreams of making Kung Pao Chicken out of the Yankees. It’s not surprising that the Yankees beat the Mets with their long ball because the Yanks have scored more than 52% of their runs for the season on homers, which is an absolutely absurd number. Whether it is absurd or not the Yankees are winning.
A sweep would have been nice but the Mets fans would have been fine with just winning 2 of 3 against their hometown rivals. This rubber match had more hype over it than any regular season baseball game in June that I could remember and the fans got more than they bargained for. R.A. Dickey, the hottest and most talked about pitcher in baseball, versus C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees Ace and one of the best pitchers in the last decade, facing off on Sunday Night baseball on ESPN. Everyone, including myself, thought this would be a pitchers duel till the last pitch, but with spotty defense on both sides, the Yankees power at the plate and the Mets clutch hitting with 2 outs, neither pitcher made it past the sixth. Once the game was tied at 5-5 and came down to which bullpen would hold up the longest I knew that the Mets were going to lose. The Yankees have one of the best relief staffs in the big leagues and the Mets have the worst bullpen ERA in the National League…you do the math.
The Yankees won 2 out of 3 in Citifield and finished the season series by winning 5 out of 6 overall. The Yankees, A.K.A Chickens, gave the Mets a big Cluck You to hang their heads on. Now the only way these teams will face off again is if they both make it to the big dance in October. Who knows?
If you are a sports fan like me, then you are obsessed with rivalries. With the anticipation of upcoming games or events against the people or teams that you dread the most, one can only get goosebumps. Winning is great but winning against your rival is AMAZING. A sports rivalry is an intense competition between athletic teams or athletes. This pressure of competition is felt by players, coaches, and management, but is felt strongest by the fans. I can pretty much watch any sporting event when it’s on, but when that said event is a storied rivalry, I get to a whole new level of excitement. Twice a year, and maybe an extra game in the playoffs, I wait patiently for my Jets-Patriots games and I enjoy nothing more than my Knicks vs Heat games but throughout the history of sports some teams have separated themselves from the pack when it comes to intense rivalries. Below is a list of what I feel are the best rivalries in each respective sport.
Baseball: New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
From the curse of Babe Ruth to the greatest comeback in baseball playoffs history, these two teams have put together a century of heated battles. There is no worse city rivalry then that of Boston vs New York and there is no better team rivalry between the two cities than the Yanks and Sox. Sure the Jets and Pats and Knicks and Celtics have bad blood but what the Red Sox and Yankees bring every season is an absolute hatred for each other. Although a lot of people consider when the Sox and Yankees finished tied atop the AL East in 1978, which the Yankees won an intense 1-game playoff for the pennant, the most memorable moment in this storied rivalry, I have to disagree. I feel that the 2004 AL Championship Series is the most memorable moment when the Yankees led 3 games to 0 and ultimately lost the best of seven series. The Red Sox comeback was the only time in baseball history that a team has come back from a 0–3 deficit to win a series. The Yankees might be the greatest baseball franchise ever, but Boston always seems to get under their skin.
Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics
The rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics involves two of the most storied franchises in NBA history. The two teams have met in the NBA Finals a record twelve times, with the first time happening in 1959. The Celtics have won 9 out of the 12 Finals matchups between them. These two teams dominated the league in the 1960s and the 1980s, and faced each other six times in the 60s and three times in the 80s in the Finals. The greatest individual player rivalry that came out of these two teams hatred for each other was that of Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson. Magic said of the games against the Celtics, “when the new schedule would come out each year, I’d grab it and circle the Boston games. To me, it was The Two and the other 80.” Similarly, Bird said that, “the first thing I would do every morning was look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn’t care about anything else.” These teams seemed to brawl almost every time they met on the hardwood and that’s why there will never be an NBA rivalry that can compare to it.
Football: Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
Even though a lot of people consider the Packers to be huge rivals with the Minnesota Vikings, I don’t think that there is any dispute that the Packers biggest rival are the Chicago Bears. The Bears and Packers form the league’s longest rivalry dating all the way back to 1921. They have played each other a record 184 times between the regular and post seasons. Chicago currently leads the all-time series, 92–86–6 but Green Bay has won 6 out of the last 7. With both teams playing in the NFC North division, we get two crazy competitive games between them a season. I found an extremely interesting fact about this rivalry that makes it even more bad-ass then it already is. This rivalry can be credited for the first ever ejection of players for fighting during a game back on November 23, 1924. The Bears’ Frank Hanny and the Packers’ Walter Voss were ejected because of words being said and then punches being thrown. Two years later, Hanny was ejected once again in a game versus Green Bay.
College Basketball: Duke vs North Carolina
These two universities are only located only 8 miles apart. Imagine having your worst enemy living in your backyard. Duke and UNC have been facing each other since January 24, 1920. They have squared off a remarkable 234 times with UNC leading the series 132-102. Both schools are also two of the most successful programs in NCAA history with North Carolina as #2 on the list of all-time wins in Division 1 Men’s Basketball and Duke as the #4. With coaches like Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski, it’s no wonder why these two programs have produced some of the best college and NBA players ever. Though these teams have never met in the NCAA Tournament, their battle for the ACC crown year after year is enough to make them one of the best sports rivalries in the world. While UNC has won the ACC regular season 29 times compared to Duke’s 19, Duke has won the ACC tournament 19 times while UNC only has 17. Every season Duke vs UNC has the most watched college basketball regular season games because of how intriguing the rivalry really is.
Soccer: Real Madrid C.F. vs. F.C. Barcelona
This rivalry is so famous that it has been nicknamed, El Clasico. For all you geniuses out there, that means The Classic. This rivalry was given the nickname The Classic because of it’s storied history and buzz behind every matchup. These two star-studded teams face off twice a year in the Spanish La Liga and sometimes more if the teams meet in other tournaments like the UEFA Champions League. Other than the UEFA Champions League Final, El Clasico is the most watched football club match in the world, watched by hundreds of millions of people. Dating all the way back to 1902, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been facing off to epic battles. Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest cities in all of Spain and the two clubs are two of the richest, most successful and influential football clubs in the world. Throughout it’s history, this rivalry has been extremely close as the record between to the two teams in the Spanish League is a surprising 69 wins for Real Madrid and 64 for Barcelona while the teams have drawn even 31 times. Currently, the two teams each have one of the two best players in the world with Cristiano Ronaldo on Real Madrid and Lionel Messi on Barcelona.
I know there a ton of storied rivalries that I have left off this list, but it is my belief that these 5 are the best in the history of their respective sports. Feel free to let me know if you think I unjustly left a deserving rivalry off and I will be more than willing to debate with you.
After the Yankees laid the smack down on the Mets 2 weeks ago, sweeping the first edition of the 2012 Subway Series, New York baseball fans weren’t exactly sure where the juice to this series would come from. If the Yankees won than great, they are expected to. If the Mets win, even swept the Yankees, then they’d be even. Though everyone is looking forward to Sunday night’s Sabathia vs. Dickey showdown, one Met supplied a little extra fuel to the fire that will start burning tonight at Citi Field.
In an interview with the New York Post, Frank Francisco said, “I can’t wait to face those chickens, I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before.” When asked to elaborate on what he meant by chickens, Francisco said “I think I’ve said too much already.” This is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard in my life as a sport fan, and there has been a lot. Francisco is new to New York this year, so maybe he hasn’t heard that the New York Yankees are the class of the city, and the baseball universe at that. If you are going to call somebody a chicken, please explain what the hell you are talking about. Who the hell does Frank Francisco think he is anyway. I’ve watched a lot of Met games and even though he has 17 saves on the season, very few of them have been easy to come by. He is 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA. His team is performing well but have been doing so playing gritty and they weren’t expected to do much this year. The Yankees are in first place, just swept your ass last week and have a number of future hall of famers.
Derek Jeter is a chicken? Andy Pettitte is a chicken? Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia (maybe ARod is but thats it!) The Mets have Jason Bay who is allergic to playing baseball. They have Ike Davis who in an interview yesterday conceded that he would be happy to win one of the three games this weekend. That’s what I call chicken. The Yankees roster is full of players who have been in high pressure, big moments in their careers and have rings to prove it. There are a lot of things you could call the Yankees, like winners and champions, but chicken isn’t one of them. Francisco cited the fact that he struck out that side once in the past. Well he did, in 2004 for the Texas Rangers. He struck out Jeter, ARod and Giambi on May 21st of that season in the 7th inning. In fact, the fact that Francisco has such a vivid remembrance of a May 21st game in 2004 is pathetic. I guess it’s a career highlight?
For my Mets-fan friends, sorry, I was hoping we might take it easy on you this weekend; maybe even take the first two games and let RA Dickey win one against us Sunday. However, after Franky ran his mouth I hope the Yankees celebrate all weekend long at Citi Field. It would be especially nice to see Francisco blow a couple of games, just so we could really see who has the intestinal fortitude to play in New York for more than 3 pathetic months. Shut your mouth Frank and enjoy the ass beating this weekend.
There were numerous story lines heading into tonight’s Washington National and New York Yankee game. Both the Yankees and Nationals were leading their respective divisions. Each team was riding a 6 game winning streak heading into the series , as both teams have completed back to back interleague sweeps. In fact, the Yankees and Nationals greatly assisted each other as all four swept series were against the other teams’ division opponents. Tonight’s game marks the first time in interleague history that two teams squared off riding a 6 game winning streak. While the current success of each team provides many stories of interest, I believe the most fascinating story line is the beginning of rookie phenom Bryce Harper’s relationship with the New York Yankees, which I believe will be consummated in 2019.
Bryce Harper has taken the major leagues by storm since he has been called up on April 28. The 19-year-old outfielder has hit .302, while lacing 7 HR’s and driving in 19 RBI’s. Harper was the #1 prospect in the minor leagues in 2011 and 2012, and he has lived up to the billing. In the NBA and NFL, the team that drafts in the #1 position usually knows the type of player they are receiving. College and high school baseball players are often hard to project, as “can’t miss” players don’t come around very often. However, Bryce Harper is absolutely as advertised, and the Nationals knew exactly the type of baseball player they were going to have the opportunity to build around.
Even when teams have an opportunity to draft the rare talent that Harper possesses, it’s always hard to figure how they will carry themselves professionally off the field. When Tampa Bay drafted Josh Hamilton, they obviously didn’t expect all of the demons he had to battle to exist, as his relationship with drugs and booze almost cost him his career. Thankfully for Hamilton, he was able to conquer some of his issues and has done an unbelievable job prospering in Texas, but it must be hard for him to think about the potential that was unfulfilled due to his addictions. Another can’t miss prospect on Harper’s level was current Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez. In fact, when Harper came up to the plate tonight, he was the first teenager to have an at-bat against the Yankees since A-Rod faced them back in 1995 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Unlike Josh Hamilton, A-Rod has performed and exceeded all expectations that baseball insiders pinned on him as a prospect. Though he has suffered off the field embarrassments, and has admitted to tampering with some sort of PEDs, it is still hard to say that 639 HR’s, 1,922 RBI’s, 2,837 hits and a career .301 batting average is anything but amazing. For Bryce’s sake, lets hope he follows the path of Alex instead of Hamilton. All early indications of Harper’s demeanor is he is heading in the right direction.
Now why do I think Harper’s relationship with the Yankees is only beginning tonight, and will be completed in 2019? The Nationals played their cards right this year, calling Harper up a month into the season because this year won’t count as one of the six before he becomes a free agent. Therefore, the Nationals will hold his rights through the 2018 year. Though the Nationals will absolutely attempt to lock him up, Harper’s agent is the famous Scott Boras and there is no chance Boras will allow Harper to not test the free agency waters. Now normally, any hot free agent will always be on the Yankees radar. By the time 2018 rolls around, Harper’s celebrity might be at a level that we can’t even imagine at this point in time, and the Yankees historically have always made splashes by signing the marquee player. If you couple the Yankees ability to sign any player they want, with the fact that Bryce Harper grew up as a Yankee fan, it makes no sense to assume that Harper will not sign with the Yanks. In 2019 Alex Rodriguez’s contract will be finished, and the Yankees will absolutely hand all the money they are currently paying him directly to Harper. Just thinking about how Harper’s numbers will project as he swings for the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium gets me extremely aroused.
Last year, even though Harper was a member of the Washington organization, he was openly rooting for the Yankees on Twitter. When asked earlier today about tonight’s game against the Yanks, Harper said it was a dream come true to play on the field with them and that he couldn’t wait to watch them play. Harper also stated that he might talk to some of the Yankee players, but wasn’t positive because he didn’t want to “bother them”. Harper was born in 1992, so he literally grew up as a fan of the great Yankee teams of the late 1990’s. Like they were for me, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and the other great Yankees of that era were idols to Bryce. Tonight, he actually gets to play against a few of them and in seven years he will have the chance to take over and carry on the Yankee tradition for them. I know that as a Yankee fan, if I was talented like Bryce Harper, there is no other place I’d want to resume my career than in the Bronx wearing the pinstripes. I guarantee that after the Yankees beat the Nationals tonight, Harper was admiring the Yankees as they went into their handshake line for the 7th straight game. Though he may have been somewhat frustrated over his teams’ loss, I know somewhere in his mind he was envisioning his participation in future Yankee celebrations, and all of the accolades he will be showered in as a member of the greatest organization in professional sports.
When the first of two highly anticipated matchups between New York rivals, the Mets and Yankees, began both teams had similar records and the Mets had seemed the slightest bit more impressive. After yet another embarrassing weekend for Mets fans around the world, the Yankees proved who is the better team in New York for the time being. Yankee fans will never know what Mets fans go through on a nightly basis during the baseball season. The Mets were 8 games over .500 and a game out of first place in their division just a couple of weeks ago and Mets fans could not stop talking about how amazing their team was, while the Yankees were in the same position in the AL East and their fans were disappointed in the standings. The Yankees provide their fans with season after season of competitive baseball, while the Mets put their fans through a roller coaster of emotions on a weekly basis.
The Mets roller coaster was in full throttle this weekend as they made their way across bridge to visit the neighboring Yankees in the Bronx. On an extra two days of rest following his career high in pitches and the Mets first ever no-hitter, Johan Santana took the mound with fans hoping that his epic performance from a week ago would carry over into game 1 of the Subway Series. The big bats of the Yankees crushed those hopes and dreams really quick with bomb after bomb off the two-time Cy Young winner. Robinson Cano followed his second inning 2-run homer with another 2-run shot in the 3rd. The only difference was that in the 3rd inning, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones followed for the Yankees first back-to-back-to-back homers in over 2 years. The Yankees went on to dominate the entire game and win 9-1.
Emotional abuse is something that you learn to handle really well if you are a Mets fan, so Saturday night I was ready for game 2 and I just knew that my Mets wouldn’t disappoint me. Who the hell was I kidding? The Yankees shaky Phil Hughes looked liked the promising young prospect he once was and Mets did just enough to ensure that they lost yet again. After a first inning run off an Arod single, Dillon Gee seemed to settle down and the Mets looked to have hope. In the 3rd inning, the Mets quintuple back up shortstop, Omar Quintanilla, hit a rocket over the wall to tie the game 1-1, and in the 6th David Wright followed with one of his own. The Mets had a 2-1 lead and they were poised to win. In the bottom of the 6th, Mark Teixeira hit a 2-run shot for the Yankees, which was enough for Hughes and their bullpen to hold the lead. Curtis Granderson hit a homer himself in the bottom of the 8th just to add salt to the Mets fans fresh wound.
It was still all good because the Mets had one more game to prove that they would not be swept. A near 40-year old Andy Pettitte was taking the mound for the Yankees and the Mets were hungry for a win. The Amazin’s jumped out on top in the 2nd inning with 3 runs off the future Hall of Famer and all things were looking up for the Orange and Blue faithful…NOT! Mets starter, Jon Niese, had to fight his way out trouble all game by allowing 5 of 7 lead off batters to reach base in his 7 innings off pitching. Even with his elusive ways, the Mets maintained their 3-0 advantage until the bottom of the 7th. With 2 outs in the inning and no one on base, David Wright fielded a grounder and had an errand throw to first allowing a two-out runner. In true Mets fashion, the next Yankees batter, Russel Martin, capitalized on that error with a 2-run shot. In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees scored 2 more runs on bloop singles and added help from a shitty Mets defense. The Yankees were now leading 4-3 going into the 9th.
There is a clear reason why Mets fans find themselves in constant disarray and depression and Yankees fans seem jovial and thrilled day in and day out. After relinquishing their 3 run lead and now trailing by one in the top of the 9th inning, the Mets were looking to be swept for the first time in the Subway Series in close to 10 years.
As a Mets fan, I was trained that “You gotta Believe,” so I did. First a double by Lucas Duda and then another by the worst hitter in baseball, Ike Davis, and the Mets had tied the game in a split second. Now with a man on second and nobody out, you would think that they could get that extra run across the plate so we had a chance to win. Of course that didn’t happen. A few bad at-bats later and the half inning was over and the game was tied 4-4. That’s when I got a phone call from my father, who is a Yankees fan, and he asked if I was watching the game. At that moment I knew we had lost. I said to him that I know how this one plays out. The Mets raise the hopes of their fans and then piss on our emotions in the most dramatic fashion. I predicted that Russel Martin would go yard on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth for a walk off victory. I was wrong…it took 10 pitches for Martin to hit that home run and I hung my head in what was just another disappointing weekend for Mets fans around the world.