Cain and Abel; Union and Confederate; Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader; Pepsi and Coke; chocolate and vanilla.
Rivalries have always been with us, but none punctuates our daily family life like the intra-city baseball rivalry between the Yankees and Mets.
My father-in-law married into a Yankees family, but somehow managed to raise his children as Mets fans. When our son was old enough to start playing , we assumed his love for the Mets would naturally follow.
But since our son is a natural-born contrarian, we shouldn’t have been that surprised that he chose pinstripes over family.
Once baseball season started, and the Jeter shirt made it out of his drawer for daily wearing, we started closely. We soon discovered that Mr. Steinbrenner’s wanna-be adopted son actually showed a genuine and shockingly equitable interest in both the Mets and Yankees.
At least it seemed equitable until the last two Subway Series. Both the Yankees and Mets (and the Orioles and Phillies and Red Sox) started the season a bit out of the ordinary. The “never-out-of-first” Yankees uncharacteristically couldn’t seem to get anyone to cross home plate; and the “always-out-of-first” Mets were uncharacteristically above .500 going into May.
Perhaps even more extraordinary than watching the Yankees lose and the Mets win was following the R. A. Dickey knuckleball phenomenon. My husband, who rolled his eyes at Dickey’s tweets from Kilimanjaro, now scours the paper daily for a chance to read more about his new hero.
At last, the Mets fans in our house had something to cheer about!
But sadly, the balance of power in the universe started shifting back to the Yankees, especially after the Bombers swept the Mets during the first Subway Series. Our oldest son decided to take the broom out of the closet to demonstrate for us what the Yankees had just done. Not to be outdone, we replied that the sweep meant that he had to sweep the kitchen floor.
Though our spirits had been slightly squashed, the announcement that Dickey would pitch the last game of the second Subway Series revived our hopes.
We even went to our favorite pizzeria to watch our knuckleball hero make Jeter, Granderson, Swisher and gang whiff their way back to the dugout and send obnoxious Jeter Jr. to bed without anything to cheer about.
But in no time at all the Yankees were, well, the Yankees. It was as is some mysterious (cue the Darth Vader music) made the previously unhittable Dickey knuckleball land exactly where they wanted it.
If Steinbrenner is Emperor Palpatine and Joe Girardi is Darth Vader, then Nick Swisher was Grand Moff Tarkin blasting Alderaan with his Louisville Death Star Slugger bat during the last game.
How do they do it? Why do bad things happen to good people?
Some questions will never be answered in this life, but this latest Yankees victory confirms my suspicion that the Yankees are from the Dark Side.