Oh, please, no. Not a Subway Series.
Go, Seattle! I can’t take two weeks of the city so nice they named it twice. Please don’t let the big spotlight that’s always shining on New York shine 10 times brighter for an endless fortnight. Somebody win something. Somebody not from New York.
John Halama, won’t you pitch a shutout in Game 6? Alex Rodriguez, could you get a few more big hits? Mike Cameron, Edgar Martinez … uh … Mark McIntyre. I mean McLemore. Whatever. My boys! Go!
From 1949 to 1958 there was at least one New York team in the World Series every year. In six of those 10 years, both teams were from New York, and five of those six times, the two teams were the Dodgers and Yankees, who also played each other in 1947, just to get warmed up.
This period is commonly known in the media as “baseball’s golden age.” Why is that? Because the media is centered in New York. Of course it was baseball’s golden age. It was all about New York. How much more golden can you get? Finally, New Yorkers said to themselves every October, baseball has arranged itself the way all things should: There is no need to leave the city. We’ve been looking at sepia-toned retrospectives of that gilded age ever since.
In that same 10-year period the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last five times and next-to-last three times. Probably not a golden age if you ask Pittsburghers. It was no picnic in Washington either, where the Senators finished last four times, next to last three times and never higher than fifth in an eight-team league. At least starting in 1954 Washingtonians could go to Baltimore to watch the Orioles, who didn’t have a winning season until 1960.
If the media were somehow centered in the Steel City, baseball’s golden age would have been the early ’70s, when the Pirates won a few division championships and a World Series, or maybe the mid-’20s, when they went to the Series twice in three years. Or maybe just that day in 1960 when Bill Mazeroski hit that home run to beat the Yankees in Game 7.
Beat the Yankees in Game 7. Mmmmm. Hear that, Mariners?
In Washington, the golden age started when the Senators left town for good.
All year I look forward to October. The playoffs. The World Series. Baseball’s climax. The best sport at its best. For my entire life I’ve been spared the unavoidable New York is the center of the universe nonsense of a Subway Series. For the most part, when the Mets have been good the Yankees have stunk and vice versa. It’s been fine. Thank you.
We had a scare last year, but the good old Braves (message from Atlanta: It’s the golden age now, pal) came through and knocked the Mets out in the League Championship Series. This year it looked like we were in the clear. The Yankees stumbled into the postseason looking entirely beatable, while the Mets, a better team, had to get past the red-hot San Francisco Giants just to get a chance at the Cardinals or Braves, both of whom had better records than New York.
Everything looked fine when both the Yanks and Mets lost their opening games, but the Mets bounced the Giants by winning three straight and the Yanks somehow defibrillated and beat the Oakland A’s — scuttling, by the way, a potential Giants-A’s “Bay Bridge Series” that, make no mistake, would have been just as insufferable as a Subway Series, but only in the Bay Area. The local blats don’t double as “national” newspapers here. The TV networks don’t live here.
Anyway, no problem. Still only a one in four chance that the World Series would be all Big Apple, all the worm-infested time. We could have New York-Seattle, New York-St. Louis, Seattle-St. Louis.
But with their loss Monday night the Cardinals have failed, and so far the Mariners have likewise been unable to do what they must for the benefit of the rest of us, the 285 million of us who live in the United States and Canada but not in metropolitan New York: Beat the damn Gothams, save us from two weeks of Subway self-absorption.
Save us from 14 days of man on the street interviews. Some yutz in a leather coat: “Yo, if it ain’t New Yawk pizza, it ain’t pizza! Fughettabahtit heh-hey!” Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Hot dog vendors. Hansom cabs. Statue of Liberty. Liza Minnelli singing “New York, New York.” Donald Trump. Rudy Giuliani. Hillary Clinton singing “New York, New York.” TV people droning on about how great it is to have the Series in New York. That’s what people want to see, they’ll say, rubbing their little claws together.
Even if we can’t avoid a Subway Series — and, oh, you Seattle Mariners, I know you can hear me: Go! — we can prove them wrong on that score. Let’s not watch. Let’s not talk about it. Say, how ’bout them Edmonton Oilers!
Ogden Nash wasn’t talking about the Yankees, but he spoke for me and my 284,999,999 comrades when he penned these immortal lines: