Subway sandwich

Low & Outside - and High & Inside, for that matter - may be culpable in the vilification of the New York baseball teams. Call it an inferiority complex, if you will. But it wouldn't be fair to simply dismiss the Subway Series that begins today (after last night's rainout) as another run-of-the mill interleague matchup. The Yankees-Mets series is an attraction, and if Philadelphia had a similar rivalry, the city would be salivating over the showdown like it does the Eagles. Of course, if Philly still had two pro teams, we're not sure if a crosstown meeting would be called a Subway Series. (How about a Schuylkill Series?) The Yanks-Mets series is of added note this season because both teams are playing their last seasons in their respective ballyards. This weekend's set takes place at Yankee Stadium, the second at Shea from June 27 to 29. But enough with the pleasantries. Both teams enter the series amid turmoil. The Yanks are last in the American League East entering today's game and are dealing with early demands from owner Hank Steinbrenner. The Mets are idling at 20-19 with clubhouse squabbling having a September air about it. And all is right with the world.

Politics as usual

Earlier this week, it was reported that President Bush chose Phillies second baseman Chase Utley as the one everyday player he would select if given just one choice. The president also picked the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay as his one pitcher. Here are the less-publicized endorsements from the two remaining likely presidential candidates: Barack Obama favored Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Joe Kennedy and Mets third baseman David "Reverend" Wright. John McCain chose Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer and, oddly, the just-retired Julio Franco.

Much ado about . . .

As if Yankees fans didn't have enough to worry about - like Bobby Abreu or being in last place - the latest furor from the city of smug is that Alex Rodriguez taped a message for Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez upon his entrance into the 500-homer club, according to the New York Daily News. The message will be played at Fenway Park as soon as Ramirez hits two more homers. Yankees fans, meanwhile, got their pinstripes in a bunch and whined to Mike and the Mad Dog for two days straight. "This is bigger than the Yankees and Red Sox," Rodriguez said. When asked what he thought about the controversy, Ramirez said, "Who's this A-Rod?"

Rodriguez, meanwhile, reported no problems with his strained quadriceps, one day after running the bases for the first since being sidelined last month, according to the Associated Press. A-Rod is scheduled to play in the first of three extended-spring-training games today. Barring any setbacks, he is slated to rejoin the team Tuesday.

Notable

Cleveland Indians lefthander Jeremy Sowers was recalled to start last night's game against the Cincinnati Reds. To make room for Sowers, the club designated outfielder Jason Tyner for assignment.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.