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City Noise

I’d love to tell you I just got around to writing this after staying out all night partying because there’s nothing like the Mets beating the Yankees in the first game of a Subway Series [1]…WOO! But, honestly, I fell asleep not long after Friday night’s contest ended and couldn’t get myself going early this morning.

Nevertheless, WOO! There is indeed nothing like the Mets winning and the Yankees losing and the Yankees and Mets being directly responsible for the aforementioned respective outcomes. But there is also nothing like the Mets knocking another digit off the Lovin’ Spoonful [2] countdown, despite our official resistance to reinstituting a certain numerical ritual. You won’t see a showy graphic (we tried that eight [3] years ago around this time of September and we never got to complete the cycle), but we do believe in magic.

Believe in the magic of Uribe’s swing.
Believe in the magic of Murph’s everything.
Believe in the magic of Steven Matz [4].

Talkin’ ’bout magic!

And Duda.
And the bullpen.
Really, the whole bunch.

I’m not a big believer in the point of a Subway Series in September, but we’ll play who they say we have to play. If the baseball is groovy and the final makes us feel like an old-time movie, all the better. Who can argue with 5-1 on three Met homers, six Matz innings and clean relief from Robles, Reed and, hiccup notwithstanding, Familia?

This Subway Series jazz plays better somewhere east of August if it has to be on the playlist at all. You bring any opponent into Citi Field on the third-to-last Friday night of the season when the Mets have a first Friday night of the postseason in sight and it should prove a sufficient enough Event. Leave the hype to traffic-diverting street fairs and overstuffed political debates.

Matz might’ve been a little nervous at the outset, but I get the feeling that’s his process. I empathize with him. We’re both from Long Island. We both understand you need to take a deep breath around here in order to settle down and put up with the nonsense. The Subway Series, we established long ago, is mostly nonsense, though it was occasionally fun nonsense when the world was young. My last Subway Series game attended was in 2009, at Citi Field. Repurposed from the Shea emotional cauldron, it struck me as a spa weekend for Yankee fans and I swore it off. Glad to have ascertained through the television that fewer Yankees fans go there now; it’s too crowded with Mets fans.

Yogi Berra [5] said something like that. He wore 8, incidentally.

Matz got to jam in some September experience while there’s still pre-October time. I do worry that he’s had only a handful of starts overall, but if it was the Cardinals thinking about inserting some mostly untested yet undeniably promising rookie into their hypothetical playoff rotation, they’d be praised to high heavens for innovation. I’m not gonna get anxious over Matz.

I’m also gonna decide Duda’s emerging from whatever’s plagued him. When I went to Tuesday night’s game [6] — between opting not to trade Tom Seaver [7]’s legacy and mulling over how strange Cleon Jones [8] looked in a White Sox uniform — I observed to my satisfaction that Duda was “just missing”. Last night he didn’t miss. Welcome back to the deep part of the park, Lucas.

Murphy we might miss in the years ahead, but that’s too far in the future to worry about. Last night, Daniel our brother and prospective free agent, he was bolder than all: homering, tripling, tut-tutting Chase Headley [9] for even thinking about tagging him and harmlessly goofing up a developing double play. He’s still Murph. That’s mostly good. That’s also a warning. Daniel, you’re a star in the face of the sky. Just don’t get distracted by the clouds in your eyes.

The game was iced on Juan Uribe [10]’s pinch-hit bomb in the seventh. I’ve been dreaming of a player like Juan Uribe for decades. If you found the usable fragments of all those veteran pickups that never amounted to a hill of runs and injected them with ability and intangibles — yes, I said intangibles — and released the blob into the bloodstream of the clubhouse…you still wouldn’t get something as good as Juan Uribe. He may be the best pennant-race trade-deadline acquisition in Mets history whose last name doesn’t being with “C”.

That Addison Reed [11], he of the spotless seventh, is pretty good, too. “Never trust a Met reliever” is a convenient credo, but talk about your under-the-radar gems. Isn’t this usually where we moan we can’t believe they went out of their way to get everybody from Dean Chance [12] to Eric O’Flaherty?

All in all, a good start to the first game in a series between two teams that have each gone a few years since making the playoffs. They never tell you that part, do they? The Yankees missed the postseason in 2013 and 2014. The last time they were involved, in 2012, they had trouble filling seats for home games [13] and were swept amid a raucous atmosphere in Detroit. Maybe playing these games in front of a large, hostile crowd at Citi Field will reacclimate them to the spotlight.

Ha! While what I’ve just said is true, it’s not of genuine concern (the Yankees can get used to playing down a manhole for all I care). It is my way of saying the other side of that equation — that the Mets are supposed to be stunned into silence because somebody’s suddenly paying attention to them, thus these games will be good practice for their self-esteem — is ludicrous. They’ve gotten this far doing what every successful team does: accumulating lots of wins no matter the circumstances, including those before big crowds, small crowds, crowds that climb on rocks; fat crowds, skinny crowds, even crowds on whom we’d wish a pox.

No, we don’t need to be playing Subway Series games in September, but we do need to be hopefully winning all games in September. Bring on the opponents, whoever they are, wherever they come from.