Having grown up as a Yankees fan in the late '60s and early '70s I was subjected to plenty of losing seasons, but it was always very entertaining to see them play. At the beginning of this season, David Wright said that whatever their record may be, the Mets will be a fun team to watch. Wright's first at bat in this year's Subway Series was a standup triple, and so the fun began at Citi Field on Memorial Day.
Despite being decimated by injuries, the Yankees have been tied for first place in the AL East, while the Mets have struggled at fourth place in the NL East. Fans from both teams were out in force at 4:45 p.m. when I boarded the number 7 train at Queensboro Plaza for the 7:00 p.m. game. There's always a sustained air of excitement when these teams play each other and Mariano Rivera added to the buzz when he ventured into the stands during batting practice to autograph some baseballs. Two youngsters (brothers Jason & Aaron) waited patiently for Rivera but informed me that their favorite players are Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, so when Mo left the stands before they could grab an autograph, their parents seemed more upset than they were. Darryl Strawberry was also visiting with fans and the atmosphere in the ballpark was competitive but also convivial.
Up until the sixth inning, the game was little more than a pitching duel, with the Yankees ahead 1 - 0. Then the Daniel Murphy hit a 385-foot shot to the left field wall that would have been a home run if not for a spectacular catch by Brett Gardner. Fortunately David Wright came along with a solo home run followed by a sensational play at third base, both plays were crucial to the evening's fun factor.
Daniel Murphy's eighth inning single put the Mets ahead 2 - 1 and suddenly the Subway Series opener had turned into a nail-biter. The Mets had been cast as the underdog long before this series began and from the moment they took the lead it sparked a reawakening in an otherwise lackluster group of Mets fans. It's a good thing David Wright had not listened to any of the naysayers predictions, because according to Mr. Wright, the promise of more fun awaits.