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Monday, May 19, 2008

Subway Series loses some luster, but the Mets gain some

The Subway Series this year was very subdued. I'm still a fan of it, I like how it takes over the city and the general feel of it, but most of the novelty has worn off. It's certainly no longer a David versus Goliath type match up like it was when it started, or when it reached what I think was it's peak in 2000. It's no longer a competition to see who is the better team, but who isn't the worse team. Both clubs had issues to work out, and the opponent at the moment wasn't important enough to matter. The fans, excepting when trying to shout down opposing chants and cheers, were almost quiet. I only saw half a dozen fights at the Stadium Sunday night. I'm sure a lot of that atmosphere was due to the game being a blow out, but it was more important that the Mets won, than it was who they beat.

And they did beat them. They played better baseball; hitting, fielding, and pitching. Derek Jeter, who always does well in these competitions, did well with the bat, but was average at best everywhere else. He failed to make the only high-caliber move he has at shortstop, his leaping throw to first, early on Saturday. He also got thrown out trying to stretch a single in that game. On Sunday he couldn't keep his foot on the bag while fielding a bad throw from Giambi during the Mets first rally.

The Mets, particularly Church, played great defense, hit the cut offs and made great plays. They hit, Reyes hit, Wright hit, and they scored 18 runs. They also pitched well, Santana to Wagner on Saturday and Perez went as far as Santana before giving the ball to Smith and Schoeneweis.

More importantly, whether a result of a team meeting or something else, the Mets played with enthusiasm. They played with energy and heart and they really came alive during these two games. Wright was already on the mound encouraging Perez by the time Matsui's ball went over the fence, everyone was excited when they got hits and scored runs. Maybe the Mets fans' unwillingness to boo their own players in the hostile environment of Yankee Stadium helped, and maybe the Mets can go and put together a nice streak of games over the next seven so that when they return to Shea, there isn't a single person we want to boo....besides Hanley Ramirez of course.

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