The alternative “Let’s go Yankees! Let’s go Mets!” chants will be absent. Instead of sold-out stadiums, the seats will be empty.
Since interleague play began in 1997, there has never been a Subway Series quite like the one that is set to begin Friday afternoon in The Bronx: Five games, all at Yankee Stadium in the span of three days, including two seven-inning doubleheaders. It will be followed by a single game on Sept. 3 at Citi Field after the initial three-game series last weekend in Queens was postponed due to a Mets player and coach testing positive for COVID-19.
“It’s definitely going to be odd, it’s definitely going to be strange,” diehard Yankees fan and Bleacher Creature Joey “Patches” Sullivan of Queens said. “We won’t know until first pitch Friday to see how everything feels.”
That doesn’t mean Yankees and Mets fans around the metropolitan area aren’t excited to see their teams meet six times. They just will have to do so at a distance, in small gatherings and at outdoor bars. It will still be a Subway Series, socially distancing style.
Fans on both sides of the rivalry The Post spoke to remain excited about the series. Yankees fan Anthony Ramos of Queens will roll out his television into his backyard, cook stadium food with his girlfriend, Kathryn Malandrakis, and a few close friends. They’ve purchased a couch and a few lawn chairs and may also watch a few of the games on Zoom with a handful of friends.
“It feels more like you’re at the game if you’re outside,” said Ramos, a 31-year-old doorman in Manhattan who attends 20 Yankees games a year. “We’ll definitely miss the experience of razzing Mets fans. … It’s so intense. I go to Red Sox games, Rays games … I feel like the Subway Series, even if the Mets or Yankees aren’t having a great year, the games always feel intense. It feels like a postseason game no matter what because the fans bring the energy. People like bragging rights. No fan wants to lose that series.”
“I don’t think it ever loses its appeal. This is just going to be a different year,” said Mets fan Herbert Greenebaum of Derby, Conn., who planned to watch the games at home. “It’s just a different paradigm. The rivalry will be more spiritual than real.”
Mets fan Michael Ganci will be attending a small party at friend Ken Clancy’s home that will have elements of his tailgate parties he hosts twice a year during a normal season, such as cornhole and a barbeque. Everyone will dress up in their gear like they’re attending a game.
“It’s a nice change of pace from everything that’s going on,” said Ganci, a North Bellmore, L.I., native.
When the Subway Series first began, Ganci would wait in line in the February cold just to ensure seats to the games against the Yankees, and he has attended a Subway Series contest at least once a year. Obviously, the streak will end this year.
“I love it and I hate it at the same time in terms of the fan atmosphere. Especially since I’ve been at quite a few games the Mets got blown out, and it felt like a hostile takeover,” joked Ganci, who works in public relations. “I love the back and forth with my friends. … I just miss it in general. The Subway Series is always special.”
The games will be unlike any in previous seasons. Over the two decades-plus since the Mets and Yankees started playing each other in games that matter, the fans are what makes these encounters so significant. The competing chants. The bragging rights. The mixture of boos and cheers on a big play. That will be absent in the quiet Stadium. But all around the city, fans will be tuned in, rooting from a distance. They’re going to make the most of the rivalry.
“Everything,” Ganci said, “is just different this year.”