The Subway Series between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees is something that New York baseball fans look forward to every year. The city-dividing, regular season record shows the Yankees with a commanding lead of 71 wins to just 51 by their counterparts in Flushing, although this season there’s a strange feel to it.
With this Subway Series opener at Yankee Stadium, the normal choruses of boos and cheers which typically echo the corridors in Yankee Stadium will be replaced by fake crowd noise – piped in for the benefit of fans streaming the game remotely. The passionate fans on both sides – while still very much there in the city will be splintered across pockets of the city – at socially distanced bars and restaurants instead of packing the stands.
COVID19 has certainly changed things but we have reason to celebrate. A baseball season which nobody was sure would actually happen is happening. And with only 60 games in the regular season this year, over 100 fewer games than normal, each game is more meaningful in establishing the playoff picture at the end of the season.
The Mets ended last season with a young, hungry team fighting to ultimately miss the playoffs by a few games. Their bullpen took most of the blame for that with blue-chip acquisition, Edwin Diaz shouldering much of that guilt after blowing save after save last season. They finished the year with a dominant, winning series against the Washington Nationals who ultimately won the World Series.
Many Mets fans wondered “what if?”. What if Edwin Diaz hadn’t lost all those games coming out of the bullpen. What if, often chastised manager, Mickey Calloway had made better decisions? It should have been the Mets celebrating last year. But it wasn’t meant to be. This year they haven’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations they set for their fans late last year with a current win/loss record of 12 and 15. There’s still time but that window is closing more quickly than usual. Their new manager, Luis Rojas hasn’t exactly impressed anyone yet. Top players: Yoennis Cespedes and Marcus Stroman opted out of the season due to “COVID reasons”. The Mets still have a lot of questions to answer and a victory against the almighty Yankees would mark a true turning point in a season which, at this point doesn’t look promising.
The Yankees had a strong season as well last year. Although by Yankee standards, anything but a World Series win isn’t considered good enough. They easily dispatched the overmatched Minnesota Twins before falling to the Houston Astros in 6 games. The Astros ended up losing the World Series as heavy favorites to the Washington Nationals, which was a disappointment but not a surprise to the most hardcore fans.
In true Yankees fashion, during the offseason they picked up Houston Astros pitcher, Gerrit Cole, who tormented them in the playoffs. Now with their new ace pitcher, the Yankees have started the season in style winning 16 of their first 25 games. They’re currently in second place in the standings to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but most people expect them to be in first place pretty soon.
This weekend is a weekend of opportunity in New York City. It’s an opportunity for the Mets to beat up the bully from the other side of town and make a run to the top of their division if they’re going to make this season count for anything. It’s an opportunity for the Yankees to beat up on the Mets yet again so they can potentially catch the Devil Rays for first place in the standings. It’s an opportunity for all New Yorkers to forget the madness of the pandemic that cost more than 32,000 New Yorkers their lives this year and enjoy baseball again.
My sure-fire prediction is that the winner of this week’s series will be New York Mets.
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1pt Win @ 2.75 William Hill, Unibet
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