Governor George Pataki should be really pleased with himself today. By declaring the No. 7 Train free back to Manhattan after Wednesday night’s game, he made it a true subway series. As I arrived on the platform, I saw a familiar face waiting for the train to pull in: Yankee starting pitcher Denny Neagle—and his crew. The irony, of course, is that no one else seemed to recognize him. Clad in black jeans, black penny loafers, a cream V-neck, and a black leather blazer, he looked every bit the dressed-down investment banker or entertainment lawyer with enough juice to score series tickets…and a cheap streak just deep enough so that he couldn’t turn down a free ride.
While Neagle plopped himself down mid-car next to his wife, with his dad straphanging by the door, the Mets fans bemoaned their misfortune, oblivious to the man who helped put them on the brink of extinction. “We traveled 13, 1400 miles to see this,” said a man from Florida dressed in blue and orange. “To see our team lose,” quipped his girlfriend. But alas, the trip was not for naught. There were, afterall, celebrities on the train. “See that guy in the red jacket,” whispered the woman. “He’s an actor.”
“What’s his name?” asked the guy.
“I dunno, but he was in a lot of ’80s Brat Pack movies,” she replied hesitatingly. “Weird Science? No.”
When one of the other patrons used his point-and-shoot camera to immortalize this brush with greatness, she sidled over for a positive ID.
“It’s Johnny Silverman,” announced the young woman with long brown hair.
“He wasn’t a leading man,” she explains. “He was always a secondhand man.”
Just then, Silverman—it really was Silverman—piped up over the banter. “I knew where all the big parties are in L.A.,” he said, shouting into a cell phone. “But where are big parties in New York?” Can’t blame a guy for trying to make his week in New York as fun as a Weekend at Bernie’s.
Meanwhile, Neagle closed his eyes as the train rumbled past Queensboro Plaza on its way to Hunters’ Point, no doubt dreaming about striking out Mike Piazza on a backdoor slider.
Happier, if not happy, Mr. and Mrs. Florida disembarked at Grand Central Station, while Neagle and his crew continued to Times Square, taking turns filling the now empty train with highly realistic rabid Doberman noises.
“That’s good,” said Neagle, himself a virtuoso of the faux train whistle. As the hands of his stainless Rolex swept past 1:30, the Yankee lefthander disembarks at the last stop, and after a brief group meeting with Silverman and his family, planned his next move. The free transfer. To the 1 and 9. Bronxbound. Or maybe just bound for Trump Tower.
And speaking of Major Leaguers sneaking under the radar, who was seen schmoozing in virtual anonymity at the Mets postgame spread in the center-field tent? None other than the soon-to-be richest man in baseball, Alex Rodriquez. Wearing a sage-colored blazer and chic baggy Armanis, A-Rod munched bloody filet mingon and drank bottled water, while the assembled crowd oohed and ahhed at the Yankee and Met ice sculpture (“Weren’t they here yesterday? How do they keep them from melting?”). What’s not clear is whether Mr. Rodriquez was there at the invitation of pal Derek Jeter or his potential future employers, the New York Mets. Trend hunters will note that he was accompanied by agent Scott Boras, who was considerably less natty, and drank a free Bud that A-Rod snagged for him. Let’s see—what’s 15 percent of $20 million?