Could this season get any better for New York baseball fans? David Wells pitched a perfect game, the Mets traded for probably the best offensive catcher in the game, Mike Piazza, and a man named Orlando Hernandez joined the Yankees' pitching staff. Both our home teams are in the middle of remarkable seasons. The Yankees are posting the best record in the majors: an astounding 53 wins and 19 losses at press time. And the Mets, with 42 wins and 32 losses, are playing great baseball as well.
Well, thanks to interleague play, it does get better this weekend, because we get to watch the Yankees play the Mets. That makes for the most exciting interleague rivalry in the majors. As we approach midseason, New York's teams have 93 wins (before Friday's game). Compare that to Chicago's two teams, which have 74 wins between them, or California's Bay Area teams, which have 81 wins between them. And not only are we safe at home more frequently than they are, but our city is safer than those cities and any other city with a major league baseball team.
Maybe I'm not as objective as non-baseball fans, but I think I'm being realistic when I say that there's a very serious chance that this weekend's series is a preview of a subway series in the fall.
And when you watch today's game, whether you root for the Yankees or the Mets, I hope you pause to recognize how important these teams are to the City of New York, both financially and socially, as reflections of the spirit of the City.
Take the example of the latest addition to the best rotation in the majors, Orlando Hernandez, who's pitching today for the Yankees. Like his younger brother Livan, the Florida Marlins pitcher who was the star of last year's World Series, Orlando's El Duque, fled Castro's oppression in Cuba to come to the United States. He had always dreamed of suiting up in Yankee pinstripes. He's overcome a great deal of adversity just to live in freedom and to have the opportunity to contribute in the major leagues.
New Yorkers, who understand the role that immigration has played in their lives, and appreciate the opportunities that this city and country have afforded us, have welcomed him with a tremendous outpouring of support. He's responded by playing like a champion. We're thrilled to see someone flee a dictatorship and begin to explore his amazing potential in our democracy. Especially when it helps the team in its chase for another World Championship.