Subway series revisisted

by Jonathan Riccio | 11/14/00 6:00am

For once, the action, intensity and sheer drama lived up to expectations. Two weeks ago, the greatest city in the world --the city that never sleeps -- was the battleground for baseball's fall classic. But for 10 days, this proved to be no ordinary fall in New York.

Sides were drawn and raucous crowds gathered to cheer on their favorite New York City baseball team; it was the stuff only dreams are made of for sports fans, whether you love New York City and its sometimes caustic fans or not. And yet the most outstanding feature of the 2000 World Series was not the outcome or the fanfare, but the fever pitch and excitement it brought this already juiced-up city, and the fact that the games finally displayed the drama all the New York city tabloids were expecting. In short, Mets-Yankees lived up to its billing.

Despite the fact that the Series only lasted five games, three of the four games the Mets lost were decided by only one run, and the final game (the lone one not decided by a run) wasn't decided until the final swing of Mike Piazza's bat as he drove a long fly ball that would have tied the game in the ninth to the left-center field warning track.

The raw emotion exuded by the players and the animosity among several, specifically Mets catcher Mike Piazza and Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, was exactly as had been hyped. Earlier in the season in a Subway Series showdown, Clemens beaned Piazza on the head with a 90+ mile per hour fastball, knocking him to the ground unconscious for several minutes. The Mets then retaliated in the following inning by hitting a Yankees batsman. Fast forward to Game Two of the World Series: Piazza breaks his bat on a ground ball and Clemens somehow mistakenly thinks that Piazza has thrown the bat at him, so Clemens mysteriously decides to pick up a piece of the broken bat and hurl it at Piazza as he runs down the first base line. Controversy sparked as a result of this standoff, but this incident was just an example of the ebullient wave of emotions throughout the five-game series.

I, myself, had the privilege of being able to attend one of the Series games when I trekked to New York for Game One. Being a diehard Mets fan in Yankee Stadium, I was in hostile territory to say the least. A friend and I took the subway to the Subway Series, which is an experience I will probably never forget. While being in utterly cramped quarters with hundreds of screaming, rabid fans may not be most peoples' idea of a fun experience, I was amazed by passion with which this city supports its teams. New York City really is the greatest sports city in the world. The excitement this city generated prior to to Game One was unprecedented in my mind. Then the 13-inning monstrosity of a game was the icing on the cake. Momentum swung back and forth numerous times, with the Yankees finally prevailing in the bottom of the 13th on unlikely hero Jose Vizcaino's two-out single. This followed Armando Benitez's gaffe of not being able to close out the Yankees in the bottom half of the ninth inning, as he had so many other times during the regular season.

Heroes, such as Paul O'Neill, Derek Jeter, Mike Piazza, Benny Agbayani and Mariano Rivera, were made during the Series as New York City baseball was on showcase for 10 days in October. The Big Apple had the big show, and no one was disappointed.