NEW YORK -- It's the most important subway series ever, with both teams having a pennant race in their sights, and with each team's rival playing the role of potential spoiler of at least some of each team's greatest hopes.
"I'm absolutely excited," said Dorothy Tocker. "This time it actually means something."
Tocker is not just any fan. PIX11 News interviewed her right after she'd bought her "Ya Gotta Believe" sweatshirt at Modell's in Times Square.
She was wearing a Mets cap, Mets t-shirt, Mets sneakers, and had a Mets backpack strapped onto her back, and a Mr. Met watch strapped to her wrist, inches past her fingers, whose nails were painted blue and orange.
Her fan loyalty is extreme, but it underscores how devoted New Yorkers are to their teams, especially at a time that's as critical as this.
Outside Citi Field, crowds of Mets and Yankees fans started to gather more than two hours before the first pitch.
"We fight a good amount," said Tommy Guerriero, who was wearing a Mets cap and jersey while standing next to his cousin Danny Fressle, who also wore a jersey and cap, but with Yankees logos on both. "But we get along when the Mets and the Yankees aren't playing," Guerriero said.
Gino Riccoboni also had a Yankees jersey on. He stood next to his son, Peter, who wore a Mets t-shirt. "He bought the ticket," the elder Riccoboni said. He added that he didn't feel like he owed his son anything in exchange for covering his admission. "He pays us to come [to Citi Field]," the lifelong Yankees fan said.
"Eighty-two years I've been waiting," said Mets fan Mary Spiros as she walked into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field, which is designed to look like the entrance to the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. "I grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. It looks like Ebbets Field from the outside," she told PIX11 News, almost beside herself with excitement and nostalgia.
It also happened to be her birthday. "They're going to win for me," she said.