Big Apple Braces for Subway Series

Thursday, October 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Without apology, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani summed up what the Subway Series means for the Big Apple — and points beyond.

``It will give New York an opportunity to be even more arrogant,'' he said early Wednesday. ``We'll be able to go around and say we have the two best teams in baseball.''

Don't like the Yankees or Mets? Fuhgeddaboudit.

The whole thing will play out on the biggest platform of all — the World Series.

Game 1 is Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, with Andy Pettitte probably pitching against Mets ace Mike Hampton.

``This is our chance to get a place on the map,'' Mets outfielder Jay Payton said. ``Whoever wins can walk around with their chins high and have bragging rights for a long time.''

Even The New York Times, the old gray lady herself, is giddy. For the first time in memory, the newspaper ran a banner over its masthead, above news of the presidential debate and the Mideast crisis.

In red ink, no less.

``It's a Subway Series! Yankees Join Mets,'' the paper proclaimed.

Giuliani, a huge Yankees fan, predicted his favorite team will win in six games. He appeared Wednesday night on the ``Late Show with David Letterman,'' reading a Top Ten list of ``Cool Things About Having the World Series in New York.''

Among them: ``We're gonna add a Mike Piazza-style mustache to the Statue of Liberty.''

Forgive fans in other parts of the country for being far from excited.

``It's a horror, is what it is,'' said Chris Gerstell, 24, who works at Boston Beer Works, next to Fenway Park. His Red Sox, haunted by the Yankees for most of the 20th century, lost the 1986 World Series to the Mets.

In Des Moines, Iowa, 48-year-old Stephanie Netolicky rolled her eyes when asked about the Subway Series.

``I thought you were talking about a sandwich shop,'' she said.

No matter. New Yorkers will be able to supply all the juice necessary for this matchup. It will be the 14th Subway Series overall, and the first since the Yankees played the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.

``There were only three channels then,'' recalled comedian Billy Crystal, celebrating in the clubhouse after the Yankees beat Seattle 9-7 late Tuesday night to win the AL championship series. ``Now, the whole world will be watching.''

A day earlier, the Mets finished off St. Louis in the NL championship series. They had their star power, too — actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon poured champagne in the winning locker room.

And while the next few days will feature neat matchups on the field — Tino vs. Timo, Bernie vs. Benny — there also might be a lot to watch in the stands.

Mets star Piazza dates the Playboy Playmate of the Millennium. Yankees star Derek Jeter has been linked to Miss Universe.

The Yankees got a day off Wednesday to rest. A few Mets pitchers threw at Shea Stadium, though rain washed out a full workout. That just gave the Mets more time to talk about New York, New York.

``There're more Yankee fans than Mets fans in the city. That's just a result of winning. People like teams that win,'' Payton said. ``The Yankees are definitely the team of the city.''

The Yankees are trying to become the first team to win three straight World Series championships since Oakland in 1972-74. The Mets' last title came in 1986, when the team starred Dwight Gooden, now pitching for the Yankees.

The teams met six times in interleague play this year, with the Yankees winning four times. The rivalry — already tense from the days when Yankees owner George Steinbrenner would put extra emphasis on beating the Mets in spring-training games — was heightened after Roger Clemens beaned Piazza.

As a result, Mets management banned the Yankees from using the weight room at Shea Stadium, and also forbid its All-Stars from traveling with the Yankees' All-Stars to the game in Atlanta.

Mets GM Steve Phillips on Wednesday said the Yankees would be allowed to use his team's weight room, which is inside the Mets' clubhouse. Also, the Mets will probably take early batting practice at Shea before heading to Yankee Stadium.

City transit officials, meanwhile, planned to add extra No. 4 trains to the Lexington Avenue line that will carry fans to Yankee Stadium and additional No. 7 trains on the Flushing line to Shea Stadium. The routes meet at Grand Central Terminal.

Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch has been known to ride the rails up to the Bronx. Don't look for Piazza, though.

``There's no subway near my house,'' the New Jersey resident said.

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Major League Baseball