At one time, the New York Mets vs the New York Yankees used to be the Mayor’s Trophy game, nothing more than an annual exhibition of the two New York City rivals which never drew much attention. Then, with the inception of inter-league play, the two teams would meet head on in what would initially be some exciting matchups, but never really carried much weight to it.
Until the 2000 World Series when the first Subway Series took place since the Brooklyn Dodgers headed west to Los Angeles. Every Mets fan knows how that series went.
This time, the series between the New York Mets and New York Yankees should have more meaning than just an exhibition.
The Yankees are in first place in the Eastern Division of the American League, by a wide margin, sporting the best record in baseball. The Mets are in first place in the Eastern Division of the National League, having led the division all the way, but now by only a slim margin as the team has been struggling and the Atlanta Braves are creeping up on them.
And while both teams are maintaining their first place vantage points, fans are still complaining…questioning moves by the manager, and questioning non-moves by the general manager. Being in first place obviously doesn’t make you immune to the criticism. Buck Showalter is already being thrown under the bus for his mishandling of the pitching staff and who he decides to send up to bat in crucial situations. All that comes with the territory, of course. Billy Eppler is being criticized for his lack of ability to bring in useful talent. Hey…he just got here after the fiasco of Brodie Van Wagenen.
But then there is the ire thrown at Yankees manager Aaron Boone. Sure, he hasn’t won a World Championship, yet, but he has the Yanks in first place by a wide margin. The questioning hasn’t ceased for him. And how about Brian Cashman? The guy has a long resume of success, the team is in first place, again, by a large margin, and, apparently, his job is in jeopardy?
So with all that to consider, this series should be quite interesting.
The real exhibition here, though just may be the performance of the two titans, the New York Mets Pete Alonso vs the New York Yankees Aaron Judge.
Judge, an imposing figure at 6-7 and 280 pounds, made his debut late 2016 with a less than stellar beginning. But he maintained his rookie status and, in 2017, crushed a rookie record of 52 home runs to lead the American League, driving in 114 runs and batting .280, garnering the AL Rookie of the Year honors. And although he has struggled with injuries in a couple of ensuing seasons, Judge has proven to be a reliable power bat in the Yankees lineup. Judge’s 162-game average is 47 home runs and 109 RBI.
Alonso, a big figure himself at 6-3 and 245 pounds, made his debut a few years after Judge in 2019. He burst onto the scene by crushing 53 home runs and Judge’s rookie home run record to lead the National League. He also topped Judge’s rookie RBI mark, driving in 120 runs while batting .260. Alonso also was tabbed as his league’s Rookie of the Year. Alonso has been the one steady power bat in the Mets lineup since he arrived. His 162-game average is 46 home runs and 115 RBI.
So while the two New York rivals battle it out, it could very well come down to one swing of the bat by either Judge or Alonso that make the difference. Hopefully, it will be a great show and not a sorry exhibition.