All aboard: Subway Series once more

The Mets would have liked to have momentum on their side as they head into Round One of the Subway Series. <P> Mother Nature took care of those plans, as the high sky and bright sun blinded Mike Cameron on Ken Griffey Jr.'s potentially inning-ending fly ball in the seventh inning Thursday, which became a three-run error and opened the door for a 6-2 Reds win.

With the Mets heading into the intimidating structure of Yankee Stadium on a two-game losing streak after winning five straight earlier in the week, the Mets will look to create their own momentum against rookie Brad Halsey and behind starting pitcher Al Leiter.

The Mets fell a game below .500 with Thursday's loss, and outfielder Cliff Floyd admitted that the constant back-and-forth nature of the Mets' break-even mark is starting to become nauseous.

"We hear so much about getting above .500, and this was the fifth or sixth time we've been there and we can't get past it," Floyd told reporters. "You do start to think about it, but we have to stay focused and not let this thing blow up. It's going to be hostile, it's going to be crazy, but we just have to beat it."

Most of the Mets have tried to present a non-chalant attitude about the Subway Series, and maybe that's because of their past experiences against the pinstripers. The Mets were the Washington Generals to the Yankees' Harlem Globetrotters last season, being swept in the six-game season series, and have never taken a series from the Bronx Bombers.

It seems that perhaps only Cameron, Thursday's goat and a newbie to this whole Subway Series deal, seems truly excited about the matchup.

"[Yankee Stadium] is the Mecca, man," Cameron said. "It's going to be crazy. … I'm sure it's going to be a very big playoff atmosphere."

Playing in front of sellout crowds all three nights in the Bronx will be a novel experience for the Mets. 32,423 fans made their way to Shea Stadium for Wednesday's game against the Reds, and it felt like the closest thing to a sellout the Mets have had in weeks.

Meanwhile, as you'd expect, large crowds are nothing new around the Yankees, owners of nearly all the star power in a celebrity-crazed city.

The Yankees have routinely been drawing over 40,000 fans for even their less marquee matchups: in fact, the Yankees drew 44,020 for a getaway day afternoon game against the Baltimore Orioles earlier this month.

That same night, the Mets opened a four-game series against the defending World Champion Florida Marlins, and you could literally hear the cries of each hot dog vendor among the 20,382 at Shea, many of whom came disguised as ugly orange seats.

NOTES: Scott Erickson makes his final rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, after which the Mets will make a determination as to what they'll do with the veteran righthander. Erickson, who is earning a Major League salary since he's on the Mets disabled list, is 1-2 with a 7.20 ERA in four starts for Norfolk.


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