. . . as if I needed reminding, Ed!
1. MIKE PIAZZA
When he was the Mets’ marquee player, he dominated this series like no one else. He produced memorable homers against not only Roger Clemens, multiple times, but also against Ramiro Mendoza on July 10, 1999 and Carlos Almanzar on June 17, 2001 .I think I’m safe in saying that Mets fans never loved Piazza more than in those Subway Series games: “You have All-Stars at every position? We have the most feared hitter in the game!” And Piazza lived up to that billing so often, and earned even greater popularity thanks to the Clemens imbroglio.
2. ROGER CLEMENS
The Subway Series really has lost some buzz over these past few years, and I think part of it is because those early seasons set the bar so high. If Piazza emerged as the biggest hero, then he should credit Clemens for being such a great villain.You know that Clemens, frustrated by Piazza’s continuous success against him, hit Piazza in the head on July 8, 2000 , in the night game of the first Subway Series two-stadium doubleheader. You know that Clemens threw a broken bat toward Piazza in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series .Do you remember the Mets’ revenge on June 15, 2002 , when Shawn Estes failed to hit Clemens but homered off of him, as did Piazza? As a special post-script, the Subway Series went national in 2004 when Piazza had to catch Clemens (then with the Astros) in the All-Star Game. Hilarious. It was like Rocky and Apollo teaming up in “Rocky III.”
3. BOBBY VALENTINE
If Mets fans took special pride in having Piazza on their side, then the same went for Bobby V., the Mountain Dew to Joe Torre’s Pepsi Free . He always was in the middle of the action, whether he was staring up at the press box when a media-advised move (trying Bill Pulsipher against Paul O’Neill) didn’t work out on June 27, 1998 or holding a bizarre Yankee Stadium news conference with Steve Philips on June 6, 1999 .Valentine brought his unique energy to the Subway Series, and when the Mets fired him after the 2002 season, that energy was missed.
First pitch in the Bronx is set for 7:05 p.m. EDT, weather permitting.