Whether or not you agree with his recent comments that the New York Yankees are "chickens," you have to admire his brash approach in creating a buzz around the weekend-long three-game set between his team and its Bronx neighbors.
"I can't wait to face those chickens," Mets closer Frank Francisco told The New York Post when asked about playing the Yankees in this weekend's Subway Series at Citi Field. "I want to strike out the side against them. I've done it before."
Furthermore, he didn't take his comments back when pressed on the matter. "I said what I said," Francisco said June 22, as reported by MLB.com. "I'm not sorry. That's what I think. I think they complain too much about everything."
Maybe I just take an old-school approach to baseball, but I like my favorite teams to have a true dislike for their opponents.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, you would never see the "palling around" that you see between players in today's game. In 2012, players from opposing teams will chit-chat with each other before the game, and some even have mini conversations with opposing first basemen after notching a hit.
I love that Francisco isn't afraid to trash-talk about a cross-town rival. When you really think about it, calling someone a "chicken" is rather mild when it comes to verbal jabs.
It was the perfect comment to ruffle some feathers, while keeping within the boundaries of a good-natured rivalry.
The matchups between the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the late-90s used to have a playoff-caliber intensity due to the true dislike between Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens.
In one famous incident, Clemens threw a piece of a splintered bat at Piazza during the 2000 World Series. Francisco calling the Yankees a bunch of "chickens" pales in comparison to that situation.
The Mets-Yankees rivalry had been losing steam over the past few years, as players with mild personalities filled the rosters on both sides. Athletes like Carlos Beltran, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and David Wright avoid making controversial comments at all costs.
In 2012, the Mets have a few guys like Francisco who will provide juicy quotes, and the Yankees have Nick Swisher, who was one of the few 'Bombers' to respond with some harsh words of his own.
"I don't even know this dude and I don't think he knows any of us," Swisher said of Francisco's comments. "Those are some big words."
Francisco backed up his words with a scoreless ninth inning on June 22 in the first game of the Subway Series for his 18th save of the season.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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- New York Mets
- Frank Francisco
- the New York Yankees