Get your token, it's official: Subway Series

Wednesday, October 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ It's the traditional post-game song at Yankee Stadium, and it was never more appropriate: ``New York, New York.''

The first Subway Series in 44 years was finalized about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday when the New York Yankees joined the New York Mets in the Fall Classic for the first time in history.

Somewhere, Gil Hodges and Casey Stengel know it's baseball Armageddon in Queens and the Bronx. No Atlanta Braves, no Cleveland Indians _ it's an all-New York October, baby.

``What were you expecting?'' shouted Leo Lykourezos, a Brooklyn pizzeria owner with an accent as thick as his pepperoni and a Yankees cap on his head. ``Game 6 _ we're clinching!''

The clinching came in a come-from-behind 9-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners, giving the Yankees the pennant in six games. As a simple sign hung over the wall near third base said, ``Mets Next.''

The Mets won a night earlier, knocking off the St. Louis Cardinals in five games.

Lykourezos had a personal interest in the victory that lifted the Yankees to the American League pennant: He had promised his friends, all Mets fans, that he would shave his head if the Bronx Bombers lost.

``You gotta go nuts,'' he explained.

Nearby, Lisa Duffee and her children, Victoria, 12, Jemma, 8, and Ian, 6, were doing just that. They jumped, they screamed, they danced _ a little move that served as the Subway Series shuffle.

``It's like magic!'' shouted Duffee, who wore the shirt of winning pitcher Orlando ``El Duque'' Hernandez.

Her daughter Victoria assured nearby fans that the victory was never in doubt.

``Get psyched!'' she exhorted her siblings. ``Get pysched!''

The Subway Series starts Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, and the Bronx fans made it clear they were ready for action right now. They chanted, cheered and cajoled from the minute the tarp came off the field until ace reliever Mariano Rivera recorded the last out.

``Subway Series!'' began the chant in the bottom of the seventh inning, rolling across the ballpark.

The Subway Series was once a New York birthright. Between 1921 and 1956, an all-New York World Series happened 13 times; in the 1950s alone, there were five.

But the Dodgers left Brooklyn and the Giants abandoned Manhattan after 1957. The Mets were created in 1962, but they and the Yankees were never on top at the same time _ until now.

In recent years, the Yankees have dominated: Three of the last four seasons, they have won the Series. For the Mets, this marks their first return since winning the Series in 1986 with the help of current Yankee pitcher Dwight Gooden.

Ticket prices should be staggering for the highly anticipated showdown. Box seats, priced at $160 apiece, were already drawing bids of $750 a pop on the Internet.

In the last all-Big Apple Fall Classic, the Yankees knocked off the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. Yankees fan Mike Peluso, 33, of Bridgeport, Conn., doesn't expect this one to last as long.

``We're gonna sweep 'em!'' he chirped, his face painted Yankee blue and white above a ``Bleacher Creature'' T-shirt. ``Sweep, sweep, sweep!''

Richard Pietrafesa, 67, of Syosset, knew what would come of the Mets-Yankees series: ``A parade, either way. I'm going.''

By the end of the Yankees' clincher, the entire crowd was singing along to Sinatra's ``New York, New York'' _ a sound that likely echoed from the Bronx right over to Queens.

And when they were finished crooning _ in a touch that was just perfect _ the song boomed a second time across Yankee Stadium.

See everybody Saturday.