It's time for the Subway Series. Let's preview the Mets and Yankees' first meeting of 2022.
The Mets host their crosstown rivals for two games at Citi Field on Tuesday and Wednesday. They'll travel to Yankee Stadium for Part 2 of the Subway Series from Aug. 22-23.
"It's a moment where New York City gets to come together," Pete Alonso said. "I think it's gonna be a hell of a contested series -- two great teams going at it."
Both New York teams are in first place. Both have World Series aspirations. So as big as the Subway Series always is, this one is even bigger. It might be the Mets' biggest series of the season so far, after they scuffled out of the All-Star break against another playoff-caliber opponent, the Padres, and saw their lead over the Braves in the NL East shrink to just a half-game on Saturday -- their smallest margin since they took the division lead on April 11, 103 days earlier. Now they get the Yankees, who have the most wins in baseball.
"I think people would really, really love to see an all-New York World Series," Brandon Nimmo said. "This is one of those years where you could feasibly see that. And so I think that's going to be the excitement heading into it."
Nimmo can imagine playing in that World Series. He hopes this Subway Series is a preview of October.
"For the city of New York, it would just be electric," he said. "I know how passionate the fans are about their teams, and so I'm really, really looking forward to this atmosphere for these two games -- but that would be on another level, no question."
The Subway Series has been tight in recent seasons. The Mets went 4-2 against the Yankees last year, including winning two of three at Citi Field in September, but the teams split the season series evenly in each of the three seasons before that.
"I think the crowd's gonna be electric -- I know they're gonna be electric. It's gonna be fun," Francisco Lindor said. "For us, it's one thing. For the fans, it's bragging rights. So we have to do whatever it takes."
The last time both the Mets and Yankees were more than 10 games over .500 entering the Subway Series was in 2015 -- when the Mets went on to win the NL pennant, and the Yankees made the AL Wild Card Game but fell to the Astros. Before that, it was 2006.
"Our fans are super passionate. Obviously Yankee fans are passionate. It's gonna be a hell of an environment," Alonso said. "It's just two New York teams going at it. Two high-quality baseball teams competing against each other."
The Mets have a lot of new faces getting their first taste of the Subway Series in 2022 -- Max Scherzer, All-Star Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, newly acquired Daniel Vogelbach and so on. The same goes for the Yankees, with players like Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and All-Star Jose Trevino.
"You get in a rivalry game -- when the fans feel it, you feel it," said Scherzer, who's on schedule to make his Subway Series debut on Wednesday. "I've always enjoyed pitching in those types of environments. I got to do it last year with the Dodgers and the Giants. And even with the Dodgers and the Padres -- those got to be some intense games as well. That's what baseball is about."
The new Mets are ready for the New York-New York atmosphere. The veteran Mets have told them what it's like.
"They know. They know," Lindor said.
"They say it's like a playoff game," Scherzer said. "I've been in those games before -- it's gonna feel like that. … When the fans are into it like that, it feels like that. Even though it's not quite all the way, that's kind of the only way to describe it."