The Great Baseball Divide

You can’t split the state into North and South Jersey by I-195, says Steve Chernoski, producer of New Jersey: The Movie. And you can’t divide N.J.-based Yankees and Phillies fans by that highway either.

For over two years, Chernoski tromped around New Jersey in hunt of the state’s dividing line. The result is New Jersey: The Movie, which will be out on DVD in December (full disclosure: I’m interviewed in the documentary).

One factor in creating that line is whether residents cheer of Philadelphia of New York sports teams – a concept that’s taken on fresh meaning as the Phillies and Yankees gear up for a Turnpike World Series.

“I-195 is a very sexy line to use, and it’s convenient because you can point to it on a map,” says Chernoski, who grew up in Ewing, teaches in Hoboken, and is a Phillies fan.

The real split, says Chernoski, is more along what’s call the Keith Line – a division drawn by surveyor George Keith in the 1686 that divided New Jersey into East and West provinces.

The divide, pictured here, starts north in Phillipsburg and ends south in LBI. Phillies fans are west of the line and Yankee fans to the east.

Chernoski spent last weekend speaking to fans on that barrier, which he put on video.

Rather than fearing a fan battle around him, he’s excited for the series.

“It’s going to be great for New Jersey and bring a lot of business to bars along the dividing line,” he says.

On which side of the Great Baseball Divide for you stand? Share your thoughts on New Jersey Monthly’s special Turnpike Series blog.

For more on Chernoski’s documentary, click here.

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