New York, New York, it's a wonderful town...

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO,

Joe Torre Joe Torre and company are in their fourth World Series in five years.
(Tom Hauck/Allsport)
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (Sports Network) -- The Bronx goes up, and the Battery down. The people ride around in a hole in the ground. New York, New York, it's a wonderful town!!!

And, right now, it is the city that everyone beyond the metropolitan area loves to hate. Begrudgingly, the two best teams in baseball, by all accounts and according to the rules that determine the final combatants for the title of kings of the diamond, are set to display their talents in the Big Apple. That is an undisputed fact of life.

As the national media does all that it can to foment rioting in the streets, hand to hand combat on the "D" train, number 4 or number 7 (brought into national prominence by the red neck prince, John Rocker), New Yorkers are having the grandest time of all. There will be a ticker tape parade regardless of the outcome. There is partying in the streets and fans of both the Mets and Yankees are taking great pleasure in the two weeks that await them. They are disappointing the media by having rallies in the streets that are attended by frenzied fans of both teams. They are exchanging hats and shirts. They are posturing, beating their breasts, chanting the names of their heroes, and saying all the things that fans say when they are getting ready for the big one. All the while, the riot squads of the media are chagrined and depressed. Their efforts at creating rioting in the streets have gone unheeded. What a wonderful shame.

The envy of everyone from L.A. to Boston, Chicago to Dallas, Seattle to Montreal is on display. The malcontents have arisen and derided a city that most of them have never visited. They have displayed an incredible penchant for heartburn and cupidity. Unwashed masses from coast to coast have near raptured in their disdain for the Yankees, a group of guys that are as nice as have ever graced any roster in baseball. The perennial underdog Mets are equally as likeable and come to the ballpark with lunch pails and a team that has a travel agency issuing one-way return plane tickets to their challengers this season. The boys from the Bronx, on the other hand, perennially represent corporate America and have given new meaning to the month of October.

Who would anyone else have preferred, Seattle playing St. Louis? Give me a break! It would have been a new low in TV ratings.

The Yankees are expected to win. This is what they do at this time of the year. It is their signature series and mandate. Their destiny. The guys from Long Island are the same upstarts they were a long time ago. The lovable underdogs. If they win, fantastic; if they lose, it is the nature of things and ranks right up there with Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

If George Steinbrenner bought the best team in baseball, more power to him. I never heard of anyone in corporate America backing off from acquiring the most talented management people, best suited to create a billion dollar profitable organization because of salaries. When you want to be the best you surround yourself with the people able to take you there. Can anyone deny that sports have become a business, big business? I doubt it. Then the Yankees are the U.S. Steel of sports. Not to be outdone, the Mets have gone out and populated their roster with equally proficient performers. The Yankees spend over $100 million annually for their talent and the Mets about $80 million. Sounds like a plan to me.

Mike Piazza How many times do you think TV will show Roger Clemens throwing an errant midsummer pitch that struck Mike Piazza during the regular season?
(Jeff Gross/Allsport)
How many times do you think TV will show Roger Clemens throwing an errant midsummer pitch that struck Mike Piazza during the regular season? About a million times. They are like arsonists who keep running up to the building tossing lit matches hoping to start a five-alarm fire. How inane! Clemens wanted to throw a pitch inside to set Piazza up for the next one on the outside corner and it got away from him. Sad but such is life. Both survived and the ball was not set in motion like a missile because the Mets' catcher had snuck into Roger's home to see the significant other when the Yankees were on a road trip. Give it a rest!

The green-eyed monsters that have come out of their holes in the ground around the country can exude their bitterness all week but the big dance is taking place in New York and none of them are invited unless they can purchase tickets. Such is life in the fast lane these days. Unhappiness translates into envy followed by paranoia and microphones and TV cameras thrust into the faces of bar flies crying in their drinks and bemoaning the ineptitudes and failings of their fallen heroes. Sorry, but that is the way the cookie crumbles guys and the party to which you are not invited is taking place in New York.

The Yankees are expected to win. Those monuments in center Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Munson and Huggins send a clear message. The pinstripes are in the World Series again. It is the stage to which they return, eventually, with unerring regularity. The Mets have nothing to lose. They are supposed to...except for how their fans feel. Tradition versus upstarts. The Yankees won four out of six inter-league games this year and you can toss that stat into the trash. If the Mets win, they did the impossible. If the Yankees win, ho-hum. Mets lose and the cry will be "At least we got there." Yanks lose and "Uh oh, dynasty over and the boys are showing some gray hairs."

The last time the Bronxites won more than two straight titles was from 1950-1953, when they delighted in four straight. They also won four titles in a row from 1936 to 1939. A win in the first game will give them 13 straight World Series victories, a streak that began in 1996 when they bounced back from a 2-0 deficit against Atlanta. You never count this team out, as has been shown in the recent playoffs. They needed five games to dispatch Oakland, six for Seattle. They worked harder than usual. The Mets waltzed in. But the Yankees have a sense of purpose. They know who they are. The Mets are still trying to find out whether they belong in the Classic.

Can Al Leiter and Mike Hampton combine for four wins, for any wins, as Mets faithful are hoping, because they are both left-handed? I do not think so. Pettitte and Clemens are not exactly rookies trying to find the plate. Benny Agbayani has predicted that his team would win in five. I don't think so, Benny. But the Long Island nouveaux riche do have Piazza, Leiter, Hampton, Edgardo Alfonzo, closer Armando Benitez and Robin Ventura at third. Timo Perez, who earns about as much as the guy hawking Budweiser in the upper deck, still has to show me that he is here for the long haul. The Mets broke lots of hearts in San Francisco and quickly proved that St. Louis, contrary to a poll conducted by The Sporting News, is not even close to being the sports capital of the world. They are hot but they also lost seven of their first eight in September and are still the wild card entry thanks to winning nine of their final eleven games.

Yes, yes, I know about the Yankees losing 15 of 18. How can I forget? But, their talent and experience overcame. Joe Torre and company are in their fourth World Series in five years. Hmmmmmmm, message there. Do they really need another flag to ensure their dynasty claim? Probably not but it would help.

While the rest of the country goes to the movies, watches sitcoms out of spite and continues to covet what they can only dream about, New York is the baseball capital of the world. Sinatra's voice will resonate with strain after strain of New York, New York. Fans from both sides of town will applaud, moan, cheer, jeer and rise up with every pitch. Emotions will be high but held in check. Riots in the streets will not take place. The nation will grunt in disappointment. Headlines will herald heroes and graphics will reflect great plays. Mobs will not be shown storming the field of play. Streakers will be noticeably absent.

My son-in-law, Alan - he of the season Mets tickets and resident of Woodbury Long Island, and I may not have any dialogue for the next few weeks but my daughter, Stacy, cheering for the Mets, will be thinking, "Go, Yankees, go!!" And, that Yankees logo I am having painted on his lawn while he is at the office is all in fun. Sure it is!!

More people will drive in from Long Island, the thought of lunch pail crowd, in BMWs and Mercedes', Lexis SUVs and limos than will cruise down from the Bronx. The landscape has changed. Corporate America is on both sides of the infield and Donald Trump has not built any luxury condos uptown yet. The mixture will be a m?lange of arguably the best and most knowledgeable fans in all of sports?New Yorkers. Maybe the undeserved emphasis on perceived arrogance is justified in the long run. They have their act together, they know who they are, their teams are the ones playing this week and, if you can't take a joke, the heck with you.

So, who's going to win this one? You gotta be kidding me! But, for the record, Yankees in six with the final coming at the Stadium, as it should be. New York, New York, it's a wonderful town!!!

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