|Friday, July 7
Last N.Y. doubleheader was in 1903
NEW YORK -- The last time there was a Subway Series split doubleheader like this in New York, there were no subways.
For the first time since 1903, two New York teams will play two games in two stadiums in one day.
The unique, day-night doubleheader Saturday -- a 1:20 p.m. game at Shea Stadium followed by an 8:10 p.m. contest at Yankee Stadium -- is the result of a rainout last month.
"It's going to be special," Yankees manager Joe Torre said Friday before the opener of the four-game series. "Having Doc (Gooden) pitch the first game, saddle up and go back to Yankee Stadium and do it again. It's never been done before. It will be exciting to be part of history."
It has happened before, albeit 97 years ago.
On Sept. 7, 1903 -- one year before the first subway opened in New York -- the Brooklyn Superbas (who became the Dodgers) played the New York Giants in a scheduled split doubleheader.
There wasn't much hoopla that day. Only 9,300 fans turned out to watch the Giants win the opener 6-4 at Washington Park at 10:30 a.m.
People who wanted to see the second game could have taken the Fourth Avenue trolley to Sands Street in downtown Brooklyn, switched to an elevated train across the Brooklyn Bridge, and taken the 35-minute ride on the elevated Third Avenue line to the Polo Grounds at 155th Street.
They then would have seen Brooklyn win the second game 3-0 in front of 23,623 fans.
It's safe to say that there was no need for the city to add transportation for that doubleheader. But on Saturday, transit officials will add seven subway trains to the No. 7 (John Rocker's favorite subway), No. 4 and D lines that connect the stadiums to accommodate the 110,000 fans expected to watch the games.
The New York Mercantile Exchange will be giving away Metrocards for a free one-way subway ride from Shea to Yankee for the first 3,000 fans who produce ticket stubs to both games.
The players won't have to deal with the subway commute, taking a police escort from Shea to Yankee Stadium.
"We can just have all the fans follow us and we'll E-ZPass them through," Torre said.
The Yankees will leave immediately after the first game, which should end around 4:30 p.m. The Mets will shower, go upstairs to eat dinner while the clubhouse staff cleans up, before heading to the Bronx -- in uniform -- at about 6:45 p.m.
"It's like American Legion again," said Mets second-game starter Glendon Rusch. "It's not too often that you see a big league team getting off a bus with their uniforms on."
Rusch and Yankees Game 2 starter Roger Clemens will have a much shorter day. Clemens doesn't plan to come to the opener. Rusch said will watch the first few innings of the opener at home in Connecticut before driving to Shea.
The rest of the players can look forward to a 16-hour day.
"In years to come we can look back and say in the year 2000 we had a day in which we played two games in two separate parks," Mets left-hander Al Leiter said. "But Saturday, for the most part, guys are going to view it as an inconvenience."
Leiter's view is shared by many other players, who dislike normal doubleheaders, hate day-night ones, and aren't intrigued by the special nature of this twinbill.
"I'm not thinking much about history," Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams said. "I'm thinking about how difficult it will be for us. I'm excited for it to be over so we can go home and relax. We will be tired."
Not all of today's players are negative on the historical concept.
"No one's ever been through that so you can't pool on your experience for it," Mets catcher Mike Piazza said. "It'll be exciting and a special thing for the city. It's a lot of fun for us as players."
And to add a little juice to the day, Gooden, making yet another comeback, will start the opener for the Yankees against his original team -- the first time he has ever faced the Mets.
"I think it adds intrigue to an already intriguing series," said Mets general manager Steve Phillips, who played with Gooden and Class-A Little Falls in 1982. "It will be fun to see him out there."
The question is, will anybody remember it when the long day ends.