Before the Mets/Yankees second (and final) subway series of the season, Mets closer Frank Francisco did his best to stoke the fires of rivalry by telling the Post, “I can’t wait to face those chickens. I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before.” The Post ran wild with it, juxtaposing Derek Jeter's head onto a chicken's body for their cover yesterday (Jeter's priceless reaction: “I don't understand...Why am I on it?”). Everyone seemed to be having fun with the comment—especially Mets pitcher Tim Byrdak, who bought a live chicken in Chinatown and brought it to the clubhouse before last night's game.
Byrdek later wrote on Twitter: "ok people I bought Franky a chicken from China Town and now he is our mascot.....don't want to see him get whacked.....please help!" He also tweeted a video to prove Franky was real, which you can watch here.
A perplexed Jeter added, "I don't know how I got dragged into this. I don't understand what [chicken] means. I can't be insulted by something I don't understand." Various other Yankees seemed amused by the comment: “We’ll see who’s chicken when he gets in there,” said catcher Russell Martin. He added: “Does this really matter, what he says?” The NY Times had the best take on A-Rod's reaction: "The image-conscious Alex Rodriguez had fun with the topic: 'What kind of chickens? Organic chickens? Rotisserie chickens?'"
There was a possible silver lining for the Yanks: manager Joe Girardi was told by media relations director Jason Zillo that the team was suddenly fielding calls from chicken companies: "Jason informed me we had three chicken companies call us today calling to be sponsors of the Subway Series, so it might work out well for both teams," Girardi said.
In the end, the Mets had the last cluck: they won the series opener 6-4 on Friday night, and Francisco got the save (though he didn't strike out the side). Before and after the game, Mets infielder Justin Turner lightened the mood by playing chicken songs, including the “Chicken Dance” and rapper Project Pat’s song “Chickenhead.” We imagine the Mets clubhouse looked a little bit like this: