by Tom Keenan
When I check baseball scores, the first thing I check is the Mets score (if I am not already watching it) to see if they are winning/won. I then check to see if the Phillies are losing/lost. And then I check to see if the Yankees are losing/lost. Then I may check the scores of some of the other National League East teams (in the past, the Braves would have been the second score I checked). Sometimes, I even check to see how the other American League East teams are doing, specifically, the Red Sox. I feel a certain connection with the Red Sox…I think it’s the whole “an enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing. My ideal day in baseball would see the Mets winning big, preferably over the Phillies, the Phillies losing, the Yankees losing, preferably to the Red Sox, every other team in the NL East losing (although, I could be happy for the poor Nationals if they got a win from time to time, as long as it isn’t against the Mets) and the rest of the AL East wins.
This weekend, however, is bizzarro weekend. The Mets head up to Fenway to play the Red Sox and the Phillies head into New York to play the Yankees (something seems odd about the Phillies playing in the new Yankee Stadium before the Mets). Obviously, I have no problem picking sides with the Mets/Red Sox. However, on first glance, what in Jeter’s (I’m starting to feel a little woozy) name do I do with Yankees/Phillies?
Well, for me, it’s simple…LET’S GO YANKEES…(damn, I just vomited a bit on my keyboard).
For many Mets fans, it is not that simple. Some could justify that it is early in the season and that it won’t be too bad if the Phillies swept the Yankees. The Mets can make up any ground they lose. No big deal. Plus, what complicates the matter is that the Yankees have a nine game winning streak heading into this series. For most Mets fans, any Yankee winning streak beyond two consecutive hits is unacceptable. The thought of a twelve game winning streak…well, that is just evil visiting the earth.
The more conservative among us would pull for a split of the first two games and a rain-out on Sunday. The status quo is preserved and everyone goes home happy. Honestly, not a bad thought, but wins and losses is all that matters when it comes to deciding who goes to the playoffs. The Mets missed the playoffs in 2007 by one game. In 2008, they missed it by three games. The Yankees winning, in terms of the big picture, just doesn’t matter.
Mets fans know that the Yankees are the sports news of New York. When they win, it’s the only thing that matters to the media. When they lose, it’s the only thing that matters to the media. When A-Rod goes to the bathroom, it’s the only thing that matters to the media. It is something all Mets fans have learned to expect. It’s just the way it. So, in the big picture, a Yankees win can be no different than a Yankees loss.
That said, here is what I hope happens this weekend…I hope that on Friday, the starting pitchers trade perfect games through nine innings, then, in the top of the tenth, the Phillies score 12 runs against Mariano Rivera. In the bottom of the 10th, the Yankees score nine runs against an assortment of Phillies relievers, before Lidge gives up a game winning grand slam. In game two, I hope to see each team scoring in every inning and then, in the 7th, Rollins collides with Jeter on the basepaths, forcing season inning injuries to each other’s pinky toes. Yankees eventually win in 33 inning. In the third game, Sabathia gets hammered for 5 runs in the first before the umpires discover that the balls are being doctored with some clear sticky liquid. Upon further inspection, they discover a mostly eaten glazed doughnut under Sybathia’s hat and he is promptly ejected. The Phillies proceed to get the go-ahead run taken off the board after Howard misses third base after hitting a home run (I need to even things out a bit from the Mets side). The Yankees go on to win.
So, officially, I am a Yankee fan…and I need some tips. I already feel a certain sense of entitlement coming over me…it’s a wonderful feeling, but how long do I have to wait before I start feeling like I am a better person than fans of all other teams? When do I start feeling pompous? Is it okay to go ahead and assume that every player wants to be a Yankee? Should I just pretend to only be able to name Mattingly when someone asks me to name any Yankee that played for them between Reggie and Pauly or will knowledge of anything that happened between Torre and the last championship before him automatically disappear? When can I stop caring about any other baseball team’s history?
Okay, yeah, I am bitter when it comes to the Yankees and Mets, and I apologize to any of my friends or readers who are Yankee fans…You can’t help it if you inherited a faulty gene from your parents. It’s just that we have been through so much since 1986, and being forced to root for the Yankees is just another blow…Well, at least I can take solace in the fact that the Yankees are forced to route for the Mets for the weekend.
Anyway, I’ll be writing more about this over the weekend as these two series go on. For now, I need to go take a hot shower…I feel so cold and nauseas.