Subway Series -
by Brian Bassett
all the security precautions that were taken around population
centers for Y2K? Those
SWAT teams will look like Cub Scouts in comparison to the squads
needed to quell the riots, fires, and general anarchy in New York
stemming from the Subway Series.
grew up in the shadow of the greatest city of this nation: New
York City. If you
debate this point, we can talk, but know that you have no idea
about what you speak. Less
than 300 years ago, the city was little more than a fur-trading
outpost. Today one-tenth
of our nation lives within one hour of the original fur-trappers
fort on lower Manhattan. Since
that time it became the greatest port for the new nation, a key
strategic control point for the Revolutionary War, the original
capital of the U.S., and birthplace of the U.S. stock market.
New York was home to self-made millionaires like John Jacob
Astor and Cornelius Vanderbilt, inventors like Thomas Alva Edison
and Robert Fulton, and great minds like Washington Irving and Walt
understand the New York psyche is to understand the past.
In the past, the city was founded and came to greatness by
its’ quest for money. The
original settlers were Dutch trappers; this set the tone for the
city. New Amsterdam
existed only to make a buck and that was it.
That ideal still permeates the city; people think New York
is THE place that offers opportunity. You might not succeed, but the city extends opportunity
when you rub elbows with 8 million people, there is competition.
There is competition for that job, competition to get the
spot on the train and competition to get the last newspaper on the
stand. People are looking out for themselves and themselves only.
In New York, people will not voluntarily give anything.
Given a reason though, they will respect your assertiveness
and back off a bit. Part
of this pushy, assertive, obnoxious attitude rubs off and is
common even in friendships where people “bust” on each other
about whatever topic is easiest to pummel the subject with.
As a child, a popular topic was questioning a friend’s
fanship of “the other team.”
Before we continue there are a
few things that you must understand about New York.
1) New Yorkers LOVE baseball.
In a city that is home to more than 1/4 of the total
championships awarded in the 1900s, there is a reason to love
baseball. We aren’t
talking about Milwaukee here.
For the most part, teams are good in New York.
When things are bad though, solace can be taken from at
least being better than the other team in town.
2) New York has at least two teams in every major sport.
Yes, I am counting the Nets and Devils.
That might seem like a statement of the obvious, but that
means that there is a choice that needs to be made by a person if
they are to devote time/money to a sport (Jets or Giants?)
3) Team loyalties can be grouped into
Now this is not a hard-and-fast rule, but here are the
Yankees Fans: Hail
from north and west of NYC (Westchester County, NY, Connecticut),
Manhattan and the Bronx. Upper Class and Working Class. Became
interested in baseball in 1950s, 1970s, 1990s.
For the most part are more partial to the Jets than the
Metropolitans Fans: Hail
from south and east of NYC (New Jersey, Long Island), Manhattan,
Brooklyn & Queens. Middle
interested in baseball in 1960s, 1980s, or late 1990s.
For the most part are more partial to the Giants than the
4) If you are a fan, you can only be a fan of one team.
Even the Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is an unabashed
Yankees fan. Mets
fans would respect that, but don’t expect them to vote for him
again if the Yanks win this Series.
Being a fan of one team doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t
go to Shea if you are a Yankees fan, or to “The Stadium” if
you were a Mets fan. For
the most part, New Yorkers would rather see the other guy’s team
win rather than lose. But
if it is between the Mets and Yanks, you had better know for whom
you are rooting or else you are not considered a fan.
Fans of the opposing teams are almost seen as
“misguided” and an object of pity and ridicule.
5) New York fans are obnoxious.
Witness John Rocker. If
you ever go to a game, expect to see a fight in the stands or
grown men flicking off an eight year old kid with a BoSox hat at a
So, what does that all mean? Why is the Subway series so important? Is this just the invention of the media who is all clustered
in NYC? For people
outside of the “Tri-State Metro area” this Series is something
significant because it is entertaining to see a World Series of
teams in the same city. It
is also entertaining for most Americans because they want to see
these crazy New Yorkers kill each other over a little white ball
and a stick. For New
Yorkers, the World Series is important because for the most part,
when one team in New York is good, the other is mediocre or just
plain bad. That
means that there is a lot of “in your face” talk between
friends. Those wounds
grow and grow over time, and when your team is faced with
ridicule, you await they day that your club is better than the
cross-town rivals. Basically,
years of fan frustration are coming to a head in the most
important games played in Major League Baseball.
This series can likely prove to be bragging rights for the
next 44 years (the last Subway Series was in 1956).
A win at this level will shut up that obnoxious uncle who
always claims his team’s superiority.
Not only will it shut him up, it is fuel for ridicule on
why one would be so foolish as to be a fan of a team that can’t
will never defend the way a New Yorker comes across to an
outsider, especially in regards to sports.
That is not what this article was about.
There is no better personification of the phrase “what
have you done for me lately?” New York fans are about performance, and performance today.
Choked a coach in another city?
You are the personification of evil.
Come to town and drop 18.6 PPG?
Even the Beastie Boys will praise you.
Is this logical? No, but the fans expect the best from who they “invest”
in. This is the
biggest series in baseball, but it gets better when you don’t
have to drive to Seattle or St. Louis to gloat, you can put it in
the face of your neighbor or the guy you see at the water cooler.
That is the reason that I wanted to write this article, to
give people who haven’t lived in New York and cannot fully grasp
what this series means to a fan who grew up in the shadow of the