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Time to Address the Jump the Shark Series

By Mike Silva ~ May 20th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Last May I wrote the following:

I just don’t have the same juice for the Subway Series the last few years like when it first came out. As a matter of fact, Interleague Play was fun and exciting, and I now feel like it’s more of an unfair burden to teams that have to play high leverage games while others get creampuffs on the schedule. This has nothing to do with the Mets struggles. I have felt this way for a while, but more because the novelty of the idea has worn off. It’s a shame because I can remember being at the first Interleague Game versus Boston in 1997, and some of the great Subway Series moments under Bobby Valentine.

To be fair, last season’s six game set between the Mets and Yankees did have some juice. The three game set at Citi Field came down to ninth inning execution in all three games. I was in the building that Saturday night, and can attest to their being juice for the middle game of that matchup. The Sunday night game featured K-Rod striking out Alex Rodriguez with runners on to secure a Mets series win.

After the Friday night game at the Stadium the next month I wrote this as a follow up:

I wrote back in May the Subway Series has “jumped the shark.” I believe six games and two series is a bit much and loses its luster with the fans. Last night, at Yankee Stadium we had a ballgame with all the elements of a great Subway Series Game: pitching duel, big hits, tense moments, and everything coming down to one at bat. For the majority of the game, including the sixth when the Yanks loaded the bases with two outs, you would have thought this was a lazy night in April against the Orioles.

Even though I am not a huge proponent of the Subway Series, I always thought the atmosphere was a great test for a team’s development throughout the season. Should we go with my idea and do a four game series from Thursday to Sunday and split the games 2 and 2 at the ballparks?

ESPN feels the same way about the Subway Series as they will not carry a single game this year for the first time. You can blame the Mets, who resemble the Buffalo Bisons right now, and have a poor Q Rating thanks to the Madoff scandal. The early season saturation of the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball doesn’t help either.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland has gone one step further and believes the idea of Interleague Play has run its course. His biggest grip is how the National League gets an advantage when the American League loses a designated hitter. Historically, the AL still dominates interleague play, but it’s a fair competitive balance point. Remember, those Interleague contests where David Ortiz or Victor Martinez sit count in the standings. You can lose out on a playoff spot due to a poor performance against the other league. I am not foolish enough to believe, however, the league will throw away gaudy attendance figures for more games between the Royals and Indians.

Obviously, until the attendance suffers we will probably never see change in this situation. The purpose of Mets-Yankees when it started was to create a midseason event. It was a way for the Mets to test themselves against the best team in baseball. It was a chance to give the Yankees some early season postseason warm-ups. The pressure in those early series may have been just as intense as anything they faced in the playoffs. Joe Torre always hated the weekend series because of the thankless position his team was thrust into. I would argue that it might have helped them prepare for what they experienced in the 2000 World Series.

Maybe we can return to that “event like” feeling by having a long weekend series between the two teams. My four game series idea means each team will have to give up a Subway Series home date. I doubt the Yankees would care, since you could throw them an extra date against the Red Sox, or perhaps line up an Interleague series with the Giants, Dodgers, or Phillies at the Stadium.

Most fans have a four day weekend on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. You can play two games at Yankee Stadium and two games at Citi Field. It would be an event that coincides with the holiday, and connects the game of baseball with a popular summer American holiday.

If the teams don’t want to give up the extra game, then make it a weeklong event sometime in June. Yankees-Red Sox has no problems drawing crowds on non weekend dates and this series shouldn’t either. The first series in 1997 was actually played Monday through Wednesday, with the finale a business person’s special.

The Subway Series has become just another six games. Maybe the two teams prove me wrong this year, but it feels more like a “Jump the Shark” series every year since 2000.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Time to Address the Jump the Shark Series

  1. Stu B

    “You can blame the Mets, who resemble the Buffalo Bisons right now”

    But at 16-9 after their 5-13 start, the Mets actually are playing well.

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