The Mets fans were jovial, but they might have sensed something ominous in the wind when the No. 7 train sat in Grand Central for 10 minutes without budging Sunday evening. Except for a few bemused regular passengers, the subway car was filled with Mets fans heading for the World Series showdown with the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium.
Bundled in sweaters and jackets, more than a few began to sweat as the stuffy train sat. A lone passenger sported a Harvard sweatshirt and he received a few suspicious stares, but no one asked his allegiance.
A voice crackled over the loudspeaker, making reference to an ``emergency situation in the tube,'' the tunnel under the East River to Queens. In another 10 minutes the same voice suggested that the quickest way to get to Shea was to take an uptown subway, transfer to an R, and catch another No. 7 at Queensboro Plaza.
An ``uh-oh'' emanated from a young woman with a Mets cap a second before the passengers began streaming out of the car to the other subway line.
That ``uh-oh'' seemed appropriate Sunday, as the Mets lost their second game in the World Series. ``I feel horrible, drained, fed-up,'' said Lisa Shelkin, who grew up in a household of Mets fans on Staten Island. She had been at the Sunday game. ``I feel sad . . . but hopeful.''
Further north, Red Sox fans were perhaps understated, but still ecstatic.
``I feel a little bit better than I did a couple days ago,'' said Mark Larocque from Worcester. ``Maybe we'll see a sweep.''
Both cities have been hit hard with excitement over what some call the ``shuttle series.'' In New York, Mets caps are on everyone from cab drivers to mannequins in store windows. Nearly everyone seems to remember where they were at 8:43 p.m. last Wednesday, when the Mets beat the Houston Astros in the 16th inning.
In Boston, city buses blink ``Go Sox.'' In a deserted furniture store on Massachusetts Avenue Saturday, the salesman explained that sales go down during playoffs and championships. Everyone is out on the streets or home watching television.
Sunday night, LuAnne Palmer from Brooklyn went out to Shea Stadium with her mother. They brought folding chairs and blankets, and hoped to sit on the rampway leading down from the subway stop, where they could see a good slice of the field.
Though fans had stayed there the night before, on Sunday the cops shooed them away. LuAnne was outraged. ``Those aren't the real fans in there,'' she said, adding that the ``real'' fans only got a chance at 3,000 tickets for the series.
Ray Mitchell from Queens agreed. ``Last night there were three executives at Queensboro Plaza,'' he said. ``They asked me how to get to Shea Stadium. I said `What?' ''
Inside the stadium in the last row above the left field, Ms. Shelkin said the fans were so quiet.
``Everytime I looked down, the bases were loaded with Red Sox,'' she said sadly. ``Now we're going to Fenway. Maybe we'll hit some home runs and come alive.''
And if the Mets don't?
``Oh, Mets fans always forgive the Mets,'' says Patrick Taylor, who lives on Long Island, and has been watching the Mets since he was five.