And it wouldn't be a Subway Series without drama, right? Thankfully, Francisco Lindor and Giancarlo Stanton were there to make sure we got a healthy dose. Homers were hit, taunts were delivered, and the benches cleared as both teams fought hard to secure a win and gain a foothold in their respective divisions' wild-card races.
How it started
To understand what happened on Sunday, you have to go back to Saturday's game first. Mets infielder Jonathan Villar called a meeting on the mound with pitcher Taijuan Walker because he was hearing whistles from the Yankees dugout. He thought Walker might be tipping his pitches and the Yankees were using the whistles to identify which pitch he was about to throw.
Jonathan Villar told me that he called a mound meeting last night because he thought Taijuan Walker was tipping pitches when the Yankees took a 5-0 lead. He realized during an Aaron Judge at bat that the Yankees dugout seemed to use different whistles to identify pitches.
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) September 13, 2021
Walker retired 16 straight batters after that mound meeting, though the Mets eventually lost the game 8-7.
How it went
The Mets didn't forget the whistling, and it became an issue in Sunday's game when Mets shortstop Lindor made a whistling motion toward the Yankees dugout during his home run trot in the sixth inning.
Francisco Lindor with the whistle towards that Yankees dugout 😂😂😂pic.twitter.com/Rvv39oIuti
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) September 13, 2021
Unsurprisingly, the Yankees did not enjoy being taunted. Down 6-4 in the seventh inning, Stanton jacked a game-tying two-run homer and used his trot around the bases to jaw at Lindor. Stanton practically slowed down to a complete stop between second and third base to give Lindor a piece of his mind. Then, of course, the benches cleared.
Giancarlo Stanton hits a home run to tie the game and has some words for Francisco Lindor as he rounds the bases so benches clear pic.twitter.com/l4eAdOI3f8
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 13, 2021
No one actually came to blows. There were a lot of hand motions and yelling, but no punches. A few Yankees players came over to the Mets players to try and calm things down. Stanton was in the dugout putting his bat and helmet away and wasn't even involved until the very end.
Lindor ended up getting the last laugh. He hit his third homer of the game — a career first for him — in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 7-6 lead they'd hold onto until the end.
How it ended
As with most controversies between baseball teams, this one ended with players giving quotes to reporters. Yankees slugger Joey Gallo told the media that the whistling was Wandy Peralta, and he was just doing it to "liven up" the dugout. In fact, it seemed like Gallo actually hates the whistling.
Joey Gallo on Wandy Peralta's whistle: "It’s just Wandy trying to liven up the dugout. ... It’s a loud whistle. It’s definitely not for pitch-tipping or anything like that. It’s just him trying to bring energy to the dugout ... It’s been hurting my ear honestly." https://t.co/0aUBYZgxQB
— Greg Joyce (@GJoyce9) September 13, 2021
Stanton told the media that he took issue with Lindor taunting the entire dugout since it was just Peralta doing the whistling.
Giancarlo Stanton on what happened between him and Francisco Lindor:
"If you've got a problem with Wandy, give it to Wandy. Don't be talking to multiple people, bringing everybody into it, especially running around the bases." pic.twitter.com/OM9ugc6gRE
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) September 13, 2021
It's not clear how Lindor was supposed to know it was Peralta whistling, but that barely matters. Lindor was more focused on the whistling itself. He said he wasn't accusing the Yankees of cheating, but by saying that, he pretty much was.
"I know what I heard and I felt like there was something out of the ordinary going on and yeah, I heard what I heard," Lindor said Sunday via The Athletic. "I’m not accusing them. I’m not saying they’re doing it 100 percent because I don’t know 100 percent, but it definitely felt that way. And I took that personal. I took that personal and I wanted to put runs on the board to help my team win."
While this chapter in the years-long story of the Subway Series has come to an end, the story itself is far from over. The Mets and Yankees don't play again this season, but the next time they meet, this incident is bound to come up. Baseball teams (and their fans) have memories like elephants: They never forget.