South Bronx, NY: I believe that baseball rivalries are good for the game. They make the game much more exciting. I have heard of rivalries like that of the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers who were always competing for first place in the National League. But on Aug. 22, 1965, that rivalry turned ugly when Juan Marichal and John Roseboro got into a fight that was known as “The fight of their life” and one of the ugliest moments in baseball when Marichal hit Roseboro with his bat, after Roseboro had thrown a ball at Marechal’s face.
I personally experienced rivalries here in the South Bronx. As a teenager living close to Yankee stadium, we would chase any Boston Red Sox who dared wear any Boston, or Red Sox gear in walking through our neighborhood. Just As I was once chased in Boston years later for accidentally wearing a Yankee cap while entering Fenway Park. I remember many brawls in and outside Yankee stadium whenever that Yankees played the Boston Red Sox.
However, I could not help to reflect on those rivalries as I was witnessing the “friendly” rivalry of the Subway Series between the Yankees and the Mets. Watching the fans in the sold-out crowd in and outside Yankee stadium was quite entertaining. So much so that I sat down on a bench on Heritage Park, across from the stadium just to observe the large crowd of fans walking towards the stadium with almost as many Mets apparel as Yankees apparel. I was quite impressed, as many were walking together, some couples holding hands, one wearing Mets apparel and the other wearing Yankee.
I saw the same from young and seniors, male and females. No fights, or arguments outside, or inside the stadium. I checked with the local police providing security around the stadium and they confirmed no major incidents. So, I realized that this indeed is a friendly rivalry and that has much to do because both teams are New York teams. Yes, one from the Bronx and the other from Queens, but both are New York and I believe that makes a lot of difference. As we New Yorker’s stand up for New York.
I also realized that both teams have many Latino players. Latino players that have become fan favorites. The Mets have four Puerto Ricans, two of which are New York stars in closer, Edwin Díaz and shortstop, Francisco Lindor. New York has close to a million Puerto Ricans and I know of many Bronx Yankee fans that also like Díaz and Lindor. Just as I know of Met fans who enjoy watching the new crop of Latino players like Oswaldo Cabrera and Frankie Montas as well as respecting how, Nestor Cortes has reinvented himself and the comeback of Domingo Germán.
Rivalries are great for baseball and friendly rivalries are even better.
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