A Yankee fan from Staten Island and a Manhattan Met fan sound off about their teams – and each other. That’s the tag line for Jon Lewin and Lisa Swan, better known as the Subway Squawkers! With the Subway Series suddenly upon us once again, they were kind enough to field some questions for us on the Mets and Yankees. They have been squawking since 2006 and whether you’ve seen them on SNY’s Mets Weekly or read their articles in the Daily News, everyone agrees that they are a blast, and now you can read their rants and raves daily on their website.
1. Please tell us how two very unlikely partners came to start Subway Squawkers?
Jon: When Lisa and I were at The Daily News, our boss gave us the opportunity to create original content for the Web site. For several
years, the Yankees had dominated the New York baseball world. But in the spring of 2006, the Mets were on the rise and the rivalry no longer seemed so one-sided. So we came up with a project that would treat both teams equally, which was a novelty at the time.
Lisa: Jon and I used to work together. And we disagreed constantly, albeit in a friendly way, about everything under the sun, especially the Mets and Yankees. For some reason, our co-workers found our arguments entertaining. So we wanted to do a blog that would reflect our real-life conversations, where we argued about our teams in a good-natured way.
We’ve tried to translate that spirit to Subway Squawkers. We’re proud that we’re a place where Yankee fans, Met fans, and even Red Sox fans can argue about their teams, but also have fun with it.
2. I recently read some articles suggesting that all inter-league rivalry series like Mets/Yankees and Cardinals/Royals be reduced to three games per season instead of six. Chipper Jones spoke out against playing six games last year citing that it’s unfair to some teams, and it’s picking up steam. What are your thoughts on that?
Lisa: Other than the fact that Larry Jones gets on my last nerve (something I have in common with Met fans!) I don’t want to see the big rivalry games cut, especially not with the new ballparks. With the exception of Opening Day, the Subway Series tickets are the toughest tickets to get at either ballpark this year, so fans are still very much into it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Subway Series games be spaced further apart from the Phillies and Sox games, though.
Jon: Having a home-and-home rivalry series is great for New York fans and I hope it continues. But how many other inter-league rivalries have the intensity of Mets-Yankees? If Orioles-Nationals is more the norm, I can see the point of having all teams in a division play the same schedule. Just as long as Lar-ry doesn’t get credit for the idea!
3. Do the both of you ever attend a Mets or Yankees games together?
Lisa: Yes, and we usually have a good time. Jon gets annoyed whenever I wear a Yankee shirt to Citi Field, though. I think he’d prefer that I go incognito or something when entering enemy territory!
Jon: I don’t wear any Met gear to Yankee Stadium unless it’s the Subway Series, and that’s the only time I want to see Yankee jerseys at Citi Field. But I do enjoy going to Met games with Lisa, especially since she likes Citi Field as much as I do. I don’t mind the occasional Yankee game, but I would much rather see the Mets.
4. For both of you – Who is your favorite player ever to play for both the Mets and Yankees?
Lisa: Darryl Strawberry. Despite all his struggles – or maybe because of them – I find him a compelling figure.
Jon: David Cone. Someone who had a good career as both a Met and a Yankee. And someone who has always appreciated being an important part of both teams.
5. Do the both of you take jabs at each other after a particularly brutal loss?
Lisa: Yes and no. We make jokes about our teams, but we try to heed the old adage about how comedy is tragedy plus time. For example, Squawker Jon wanted to do a jig after the Red Sox won the 2004 ALCS. But when I called Jon on the phone, literally weeping on the Staten Island Ferry after witnessing the horror of Game 7 in person, he had the good sense not to gloat or tease me that night.
A few days later, though, Jon toasted the Sox’s victory with champagne in front of me. Then I mocked him for celebrating in the first place, given that his team didn’t even make the playoffs that year! It would have been like me buying champagne to toast the Phillies winning it all last year.
Jon: We do make fun of many losses, but often the other person is making even bigger fun of his or her team’s screwups. But when it comes to the really brutal losses, we do tend to wait a little while. Lisa held her tongue after the Mets lost the 2006 NLCS. But, starting the following spring, she has voted for Yadier Molina for the NL All-Star team three years in a row!
6. Have you reached a consensus as to which new park is your favorite, Citi Field or the new Yankee Stadium?
Lisa: Jon and I both like – make that love – the food at Citi Field. Yankee Stadium food is decidedly mediocre, at least the stuff that’s available to the average fan. Also, the seats at Citi Field are closer to the action, while the Yanks moved the upper deck back 30 feet.
What Citi Field gets wrong is the breathtaking lack of Mets’ history in the park. True, the Mets will never be able to outdo the Yankees’ rich history. But romanticism aside, the Mets actually have won more championships – and have had much better attendance – than Fred Wilpon’s beloved Brooklyn Dodgers ever did. It would be nice if the Mets’ ownership would celebrate their own team in their own ballpark.
Jon: Citi Field is a great place to watch a ballgame and has fantastic food. The new Yankee Stadium is big and cold and just a newer version of the old place. The Mets may have had an advantage in that nobody wanted a newer version of Shea, so they were to incorporate the best ideas from other new ballparks. While Citi Field does fail on honoring Mets’ history, the new Yankee Stadium could also do a much better job of showcasing the many championships and Monument Park.
7. Jon, what will the Mets need most at the trade deadline?
What the Mets need most is not to give up what’s left of their farm system in a panic move. Unfortunately, the Mets are a lot more than one player away at this point. But if they did not have to give up too much, I would like to see the Mets get an outfielder who could also play first.
8. Jon, Jerry Manuel – Boom or Bust?
Boom last year, somewhat of a bust this year with his odd treatment of some players. But as the injuries mount, I am admiring more his ability to keep the Mets in the race. Now if he would just stop batting Gary Sheffield cleanup.
9. Lisa, Joe Girardi – Boom or Bust?
Boom. He was the right choice after the Joe Torre era. He was a little tentative the first year, but, Red Sox aside, he’s been coming into his own this season.
10. Lisa, you’re an expert on rivalries, does the Phillies/Mets compare to the Red Sox/Yankees from what you’ve seen and heard lately?
The Phillies-Mets rivalry has a lot more trash talk!
Yankees-Red Sox used to have that, but now the players on both sides try to downplay the rivalry.
11. Last one, predictions for the weekend series?
Lisa: Yankees will win the Subway Series, two games to one. And if I’m wrong, I predict I will hear it from Mets fans – and my writing partner!
Jon: With Maine now hurt, things could get ugly for the Mets in the first two games. But Johan Santana will salvage the final game.
Thanks guys for taking some time out for our readers. I love your site Subway Squawkers and I’ll keep checking in everyday!