Carlos Mendoza as Mets manager in 2024, left, and as...

Carlos Mendoza as Mets manager in 2024, left, and as Yankees bench coach in 2023, right.

For six seasons, Carlos Mendoza sat in the other dugout and watched all of the most memorable recent Subway Series moments up close as a Yankees coach.

Amed Rosario’s walk-off home run when the Mets were the home team at Yankee Stadium in 2020.

Dellin Betances’ game-ending wild pitch against his former team a day later, one of the final appearances of his career.

An Independence Day doubleheader split in 2021.

An emotional pregame ceremony at Citi Field on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The benches-clearing episode during Francisco Lindor’s three-homer game the next night.

This week, for the first time, Mendoza will experience the other side of the intracity rivalry when the Mets and their manager host the Yankees on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Joining Mendoza as ex-Yankees and Queens-side first-timers are Harrison Bader and Luis Severino (who won’t pitch).

Mendoza indicated he’ll reach out to Yankees manager Aaron Boone beforehand, “checking in on each other.”

“It’ll be strange, exciting,” said Mendoza, whose spring training exhibitions against the Yankees were marked by smiley reunions. “You look back and there’s a lot of people on that side that you have a lot of respect for. But at the end of the day, we’re here to win baseball games. They have a good team, we have a good team. I think it’s just great for the sport.

“For me in particular, I’m going to treat it as another day. We’re facing another good baseball club. We’ll do what we need to do to win a baseball game.”

For many Mets, that has been a common sentiment over the past couple of years: Mets-Yankees is just another game.

Yes, it gets more attention from the fans, the media and the baseball-watching world. And that certainly adds buzz. But there hasn’t been a ton of heat between the clubs of late. The rivalry hasn’t been at the level of, say, Mets-Atlanta or Yankees-Astros. And obviously, they’re not competing against each other in the standings.

What is the difference between playing for the Mets against the Yankees and playing for the Yankees against the Mets?

“There’s not really any difference,” said Adam Ottavino, who has been with the Mets the past three seasons and spent 2019-20 with the Yankees. “It’s a fun game because the crowd is so into it. They’re always a good opponent no matter what. It just feels like a really cool day in the major leagues, but it’s not any different on either side. You’re just trying to win the game.

“We’re at the point now where there’s not any big brother/little brother feelings as much as maybe before.”

That dynamic has dissipated for a bunch of reasons, Ottavino said.

Steve Cohen’s financial might has leveled the payroll playing field. The Yankees, though they have been very good this season, haven’t been their powerhouse selves of yesteryear and missed the playoffs last season.

Heck, with the way the teams have played lately — the Mets red hot, the Yankees suddenly injury-ridden and slowing down — their records alone might not tell the whole story going into this two-game set. The Mets are 37-39, the Yankees 52-28.

“There’s no, like, puffing out your chest as much, probably,” Ottavino said.

Ottavino also noted that it’s “all about the crowd and the energy in the building.”

With attendance at Citi Field down this year, a loud, enthusiastic crowd might seem even louder and more enthusiastic than usual.

Mendoza echoed that, albeit while keeping the actual goal in mind.

“It’ll be electric,” he said. “The fan bases are very passionate. Both teams are trying to not only win games but get the final goal of winning a World Series. That’s what we’re here for.”


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