Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge against the Mets during the...

Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge against the Mets during the first inning at Citi Field on Sept. 12, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Aaron Judge would be looking forward to the Subway Series regardless.

“Just the fans getting into it. It’s always a packed playoff atmosphere,” he said of the games between the Yankees and Mets, no matter the venue. “Always back-and-forth. You never know what’s going to happen.”

That’s year to year in a series that started in 1997 and continues Tuesday night at Citi Field. For one of the few times in the history of the Subway Series, both teams are not only good but by all appearances really good.

The AL East-leading Yankees will bring a 66-31 record into Tuesday night, when Jordan Montgomery will take on Taijuan Walker. They own a 12 1⁄2-game lead over Toronto and a 13 1⁄2-game cushion over Tampa Bay. The NL East-leading Mets are 59-37 and lead Atlanta by two games.

“It’s always good for the city when both New York teams are doing their thing,” said Judge, who leads the majors with 37 homers and has 81 RBIs, one fewer than Pete Alonso’s MLB-leading total for the Mets. “It’s going to be a fun one. They’ve got a great team over there. Looking forward to battling it out.”

Aaron Boone said he’s always appreciated “the buzz that it creates within the city.”

“Obviously, both teams are playing really well, are having really good seasons,” Boone said. “There’s games, there’s series, there’s things that come up in the course of the year, especially in the long grind of it, I think that are little shot-in-the-arm series, and I think any time you have that crosstown rivalry, those games, they add a little extra . . . and certainly I think where the two teams are this year I think will be really good for New York City.”

Boone and Judge have experienced plenty of Subway Series games. Those in the clubhouse who haven’t can’t wait to do so.

“Super-excited,” said Matt Carpenter, who has 14 homers in 93 at-bats since joining the Yankees on May 26. “I’m really looking forward to it, should be great energy. It’s always been fun to watch as a fan on TV, so to get to be a part of one should be really cool.”

Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa grew up a Yankees fan in Honolulu and recalled watching Subway Series games on TV as a youngster. Without prompting, he discussed Roger Clemens whipping the barrel end of a sawed-off bat at Mike Piazza coming out of the batter’s box in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series at old Yankee Stadium. He also mentioned the homer by Derek Jeter, Kiner-Falefa’s childhood idol, against Bobby Jones on the first pitch of Game 4 at Shea Stadium.

“It’s just kind of like that flashback to me as a kid [watching those games],” Kiner-Falefa said of the prospect of playing in the Subway Series. “It just brings back a lot of memories as a kid . . . and for me, too, Benny Agbayani was a Met at the time [from 1998-2001] and, like me, he was from [Honolulu]. He was someone I could look up to, and just being able to play in this series will be pretty cool.”

The Yankee with the most unique situation going into the series is third-base coach Luis Rojas. Rojas was a Mets organizational lifer who managed the club in 2020 and 2021 before being replaced by Buck Showalter last offseason.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Rojas said of any reaction Mets fans might have to him in his Citi Field return. “Obviously, it’s a place that I love. I love Queens. The fan base is unbelievable. They’re so passionate, they love their team. I’m grateful.

“I worked there for 15 years and I was the manager for two. And like I said, the talent the team has this year and how they’ve been playing, for us I think it’s going be really interesting to face them. So I’m really looking forward to that series.”

Aaron Judge's career numbers against the Mets:

At-bats 60

Hits 17

Bat avg. .283

HRs 7

RBIs 11

OPS .683

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