Crosstown rivals collided for the first time in 2017 last night, as the Yankees and Mets added to their laundry list of battles for the first of four Subway Series match ups. The Yankee-Met fan rivalry has dominated radio airwaves and sports talk conversations every summer since I’ve been a kid. As a New Yorker, sometimes we take for granted that our state has at least two teams representing NY in every major sport, which also creates for a divide in the local society.
After dropping 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox including a heartbreaking Sunday night defeat the Bombers bounced back with a 4-2 victory, as the 62-55 squad leads the AL Wildcard race by 2 games with a cluster of teams behind them. The Mets come into the Subway Series suffering a much different fate than most thought back in April. After a rash of injuries and selling off veterans at the deadline, the Metropolitans finally brought up prized prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith to give fans a peek into the hopefully bright future, while waiving the white flag on the 2017 campaign.
No matter the situation of the two teams, this series always brings out the best in the players with the intensity of a playoff game oozing out of the fans selling out both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field over the years. The squads have done battle each year in inter-league play since the Mets took game one 6-0 behind Dave Mlicki back in 1997. The Bronx Bombers lead the all-time series though, 62-46.
I was only 7 when the Subway Series culminated with the Mets and Yankees facing off in the World Series back in 2000, so my memory of the five game series is vague. I could only imagine how it took the city chatter by storm and if it happened again in the social media era, people would absolutely lose their minds. The Mets-Yankees match up has given New Yorkers some great moments forever ingrained in history over the past 20 years, so without further a do the top five.
5. Doc Gooden Returns To Shea Stadium – July 8th, 2000
After throwing for a decade in a Mets uniform, Dr. K finally made his way back to Shea Stadium in what would be his last season in the bigs on July 8th, 2000. This time things were different, as Gooden donned the pinstripes. Doc went 5 innings giving up 2 runs to notch the win against his former squad 4-2. It was a long but triumphant journey back to Flushing for the 1985 NL Cy Young winner.
4. Mariano Rivera Locks Down Save Number 500
June 28th. 2009: Enter Sandman. The final meeting between the Mets and Yanks in 2009 proved to be a historic night in the illustrated career of the best closer ever, Mariano Rivera. Mo came on in relief for the last four outs to secure career save number 500 (only the 2nd person to achieve the feat). 42 also helped his own cause drawing a walk to earn his first career RBI in the 4-2 win.
3. The Matt Franco Game
June 10th, 1999: Six lead changes took place as the Bronx Bombers launched six homers in the back and forth battle. The Mets were down to their last strike with pinch-hitting Matt Franco at the plate after a Mike Piazza walk loaded the bases. Franco’s base hit to right off of Rivera scored Henderson and Alfonso to cap off a thrilling 9-8 walk-off win that many Mets fans still talk about to this day.
2. Luis Castillo Drops A Can Of Corn
June 12th, 2009: Seeing this play probably still causes Castillo some PTSD, as the normally sure-handed infielder dropped a pop-up that would have ended the game, but instead the error went on to give the Yankees a 9-8 walk-off victory off the bat of none other than Alex Rodriguez. Moments like these signify the big brother-little brother dynamic in this town and the dysfunction of the Mets as an organization.
1. Mike Piazza vs Roger Clemens Rivalry – 2000 Season
June 9th: The Piazza-Clemens dynamic made for many memorable moments over the history of the cross-town rivalry so I just couldn’t limit myself to choosing one. Going back to June of 2000, Piazza who killed the Yanks, launched a grand slam off of Clemens to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
July 8th: Roger wasn’t afraid to go after anyone and Piazza was going to be his next victim of retaliation. Clemens got to face the Mets catcher a month later and beaned him with an 0-1 fastball to the head, which made a groggy Piazza unconscious and knocked him out of the game. A scary sight indeed.
October 22nd – World Series Game 2:
With intensity at an all-time high, Clemens and Piazza faced off once again in the first inning of game 2 of the Subway Series. Piazza fouled off a 1-2 inside pitch that jammed him and ended up breaking his bat, careening the barrel right back at Clemens, which he then picked up and ended up firing in Piazza’s direction up the line. The over-reaction cleared the benches before umpires restored order. Clemens claimed after the incident that he “had no idea Piazza was running on the foul ball.”