Since 1999 the Mets and the Yankees have played two three-game weekend series at each other’s parks. There are rumblings that starting next year, the teams will play each other four times instead of six because the Houston Astros will switch from the National to the American League so that each league will have 15 clubs.
While Mets and Yankees managers over the years have fretted that six games is too many to play against a team in another division, most New York baseball fans (even Mets fans who see their team lose more often than not) enjoy the excitement the games bring. While Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey claims that he prepares for the Yankees the same way he does the Pirates or the Padres, first baseman Ike Davis echoed the sentiments of most Mets and Yankees players when he told me prior to Friday night’s game, “We feed off of the energy of the crowd.”
While baseball fans are obviously most concerned with how their favorite team does, there is a huge business component to the Subway Series. The ticket sales and accounting departments of both teams have to love the six games the Amazin’s and the Bombers play every year. The matchups have proven to be ratings gold for Major League Baseball’s national TV partners. ESPN has been broadcasting at least one Sunday night Mets-Yankees contest since the home-and-home weekend series began. Fox Sports does the same for the Saturday games.
Delta Air Lines has certainly made a big investment in our local teams as it is “the official airline” of each. Gail Grimmett, the senior vice president of Delta’s New York operations, rightfully states that there are very few brand loyalties stronger than that between a baseball fan and his or her team and she hopes that loyalty extends to fans of a team’s official airline.
Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson appeared at the annual Delta Dugout fan festival Friday morning. He’s quickly become the “go-to guy” when corporations need a Yankee to represent them. Curtis is the spokesman for Cloudbreak’s NY Yankees Fragrance, and MLB asked him to appear at a recent press event to promote its 2012 All-Star Game ad campaign.
He took on the role of game show host for a Yankees trivia contest and interacted with the contestants with wit and warmth that would make Drew Carey and Wayne Brady proud. He did not deny an interest in a potential showbiz career. “I will look at all opportunities that present themselves,” he said.
Former Mets and Yankees pitching great Dwight Gooden will be signing autographs this Saturday at beautiful First Energy Park in Lakewood, NJ before the Phillies’ South Atlantic League farm team, the Blueclaws, take on the Hagerstown Suns.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who has been in the throes of a batting slump, has grown a mustache. When I asked him if he is going to keep it, he quickly replied, “It all depends on how I am hitting with it.”
I enjoyed watching SNY’s “All-Time Mets Team” special that was taped at the 92nd Street Y but I would have chosen Gil Hodges over Davey Johnson as the greatest manager. I also would have gone with Felix Millan over Edgardo Alfonzo as the Mets all-time top second baseman. Fonzie put up better stats but he divided his time between second and third base.
The New York Post is always good for a some laugh-out-loud offbeat headlines, and last Friday’s “Cluck You!” is certainly a Hall of Fame candidate for Rupert Murdoch’s flagship American paper. The Post wrote how Mets closer Frank Francisco labeled the Yankees “chickens.” The Bronx Bombers were not perturbed as Alex Rodriguez playfully queried to reporters, “What kind of chickens? Rotisserie? Organic?”
Francisco, for his part, claimed that his quote was taken out of context. Right now the Mets are more concerned about the health of his right arm than they are with his fowl references.
Perry Mason probably couldn’t get Jerry Sandusky acquitted (and rightfully so) but you have to wonder about the competency of his attorney, Joe Amendola. First, he had his ill-prepared client appear in a one-on-one interview with Bob Costas last winter that seemed to be a gift to the prosecution. Amendola, a former assistant DA in the City of Brotherly Love, proceeded to give an interview to Philadelphia Magazine that did absolutely nothing to give anyone the impression that Sandusky might be innocent. Finally, it was reported last Sunday that Amendola tired to resign as Sandusky’s counsel because he did not have enough time to prep but the presiding judge rejected his motion. He certainly found time, however, to promote himself at every opportunity from the moment Sandusky was arrested back in January. Joey may be from Philadelphia but he is no Philadelphia lawyer.