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What they're saying

By Compiled by Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000

Excerpts from newspapers going into Game 1:

If the Subway Series is tremendous fun for New York City, then the untold truth is that it is a joyless ordeal for most of the journalists writing about it, editing the material, pretending to be hysterically enthusiastic. We can't whine publicly, because that would be obnoxious and self-defeating. So we carry on, working too many hours, writing too many unreadable stories based on virtually no access or reporting.

-- Filip Bondy, Daily News

* * *

Don't take this as a confession, an apology or a boast. It is barely a disclosure. It is a fact so simple, so obvious, so in character, that it bears declaration only because of this feverish moment in the life of the city.

I am a Yankee fan.

I have always been a Yankee fan. I have never understood how anyone could root for any other baseball team.

-- Robert Lipsyte, New York Times

* * *

It's called Stockholm syndrome. I am a victim.

It happened to Patty Hearst. It has happened to me.

It occurs when prisoners, hostages, or victims of kidnappings wind up sympathizing with their captors. In 1973, employees of a Stockholm bank were held hostage in a vault and eventually came to feel affection toward the criminals. In 1974, Hearst was snatched from her California apartment by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Hearst wound up toting a gun for the terrorists when they later robbed a bank.

Now there's me. I have been in New York so long, I am starting to like the city. I'm starting to like the Mets. I'm even beginning to enjoy the (gulp) Yankees.

I am Mr. October in New York in 2000. First there was the Division Series at Yankee Stadium. Then the two League Championship Series when I went to Shea Stadium and the House That Ruth Built. Now the Subway Series. Facing 10 more days in Gotham, I am already in the ghastly grip of Stockholm syndrome.

-- Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

* * *

You'd think we'd be happy. Here we are in a World Series we can't lose. It's us against ourselves. Hey, how about if the winner of this plays the Knicks? Every sports town is always so desperate to get its team into a championship final. We've got two, why are we all so anxious? I guess for the same reason things got a little testy between the states around 1861.

-- Jerry Seinfeld, in the New York Times

* * *

El Duque is one of my favorite players. He coils up like a spring.

-- Salman Rushdie, in the Daily News

* * *

We have no choice, of course, which is really the depressing part.

While New Yorkers are reveling in all their nauseating glory, what else are we supposed to do? Watch the Blackhawks? Use the Bears' off week to contemplate the first half of their season? Follow the compelling legal problems of a Bulls player we barely knew existed?

We have to watch the World Series. I mean it is the World Series, although Yankees and Mets fans seem to prefer boiling it down to the level of a local stickball tournament.

-- Melissa Isaacson, Chicago Tribune

* * *

The scope of the Subway Series is personified by the off-diamond pursuits of the teams' biggest stars and utmost eligible bachelors. The Mets' Mike Piazza dates Playboy's "Playmate of the Millennium." The Yankees' Derek Jeter is linked socially to the reigning Miss Universe.

World Series, indeed. Yankees-Mets is so big it's got the millenium and the universe covered.

This is the matchup that no doubt either thrills you to pieces, or sends you in search of the nearest high ledge.

I cannot recall a sporting event as polarizing as this Subway Series. It divides opinion with a hard-driven stake, agitating extreme and usually flagrant ranting on both sides.

New Yorkers tend to regard Yankees-Mets as the ultimate nirvana simply because it's New York, New York. There is a Big Apple mind-set the national spotlight is a birthright. Even Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the Series "will give New York an opportunity to be even more arrogant." I doubt he was entirely kidding.

At the other extreme you find the considerable Anti-New York crowd declaring this Subway Series something the devil and Fidel Castro got together to concoct. It could unfurl as seven heart-pounding games; the Anti's would still turn up noses simply because it's New York, New York.

-- Greg Cote, Miami Herald

* * *

David Cone said it best, as he usually does: "This is as much about New York as New Year's Eve."

Orlando Hernandez said it eloquently, in his second language, no less: "This is being drunk without drinking."

Mike Piazza, who will never make Bartlett's, captured the essence: "This is sheer madness."

Say what you will about the Subway Series, rip it for its exclusivity, its arrogance, yet one fact cannot be denied: For passion, for energy, for caring, on a local level, baseball hasn't seen an event like this since, maybe ... never.

-- Larry Stone, Seattle Times

* * *

With the possible exception of John Rocker, I can't think of a baseball fan who isn't more intrigued by a New York-New York World Series than -- what were the alternatives, again?

New York-Seattle? New York-St. Louis? Seattle-St. Louis? It's so easy to forget.

Let's declare a moratorium right now on the pontification about New York-New York -- Mets-Yankees, the first Subway Series since 1956 -- somehow being Bad for Baseball.

So what if the action will be confined to two ballparks perched closer together than the typical Los Angeles resident's house and favorite supermarket? So what if a lot of people in the other 49 states hate New York?

The other 49 states also have a lot of ex-New Yorkers -- the ones who got out -- to spread the passion.

This isn't Baltimore-Philadelphia, Kansas City-St. Louis or Oakland-San Francisco, other semi-local squabbles that baseball somehow survived.

-- Kevin Modesti, L.A. Daily News

* * *

... By the end of the day, (commissioner Bud) Selig had discussed the matter with Rear Admiral Jay Foley, commander of the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. They agreed to have some of the sailors (from the recently attacked Navy destroyer Cole) honored during Game 4 on Wednesday at Shea Stadium.

"We're going to do something big," Selig said. "We're going to bring as many as we can; we will do something that honors each one of them.

"But you know what's so amazing?" he added. "They were flattered that we would even think about them. That's what's so stunning. After what I've put up with all day, with ticket requests from people. No, they will be more than appropriately honored, although as I said to the admiral, we're the ones who are honored.

"You've got to put life in its perspective. This is a baseball game. I used to tell myself that when the Brewers would blow a game and I'd think the world was coming to an end. And all of a sudden I'd realize you have to go through an evolution of really understanding what's important in life and what isn't. This is the least we can do, and it's hardly enough, and it's nothing compared to what they've done."

There were complaints that the New York-New York World Series was too self-absorbed. With survivors from the Cole coming to the city on Wednesday, the Subway Series is what New York is at its core: a place and event the entire nation can embrace.

-- William C. Rhoden, New York Times

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