Although both the New York Mets and Yankees are playoff bound in 2015, evidence suggests the little brothers are taking over the town.
By Robby Sabo
The younger generation just doesn’t understand. Once upon a time New York City was a New York Mets town.
It’s as simple as that.
Has it ever been a Mets town for a prolonged period of time? No chance. 27 World Series Championships in the Bronx makes sure of that. Still, certain periods in our history have gone way to the orange and blue.
Take the late 1980s for example. While George Steinbrenner struggled to field a team balanced enough to pitch with their constant batch of positional stars, Frank Cashen slowly but surely built a juggernaut in Queens.
1986 turned out to be the only magical season for the Amazin’s despite a talent-base worthy of much more success. Then Gene “Stick” Michael, Buck Showalter and Derek Jeter changed everything.
The Mets had no chance in recent times. Over the last 20 years the Yankees have not just owned the city, they’ve dominated.
It’s a notion that had many thinking it could never change. Regardless of successes or failures of either franchise, the Big Apple would always be about the Bronx Bombers.
That is until now.
Sandy Alderson has now fully executed a plan first started in 2010. His studly young power pitching has come to fruition while the trade deadline acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes added the final ingredient.
He built his organization the right way. The way that’ll garner long-term success instead of short-term patchwork. The type of success which can only be seen in MLB these days after going through many years of failures first.
The Yankees, on the other hand, pose as the same veteran laced group. Sure they’ve exceeded expectations in 2015, but energy, excitement and enthusiasm is lower than it’s ever been.
In a piece written by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, evidence strongly suggests the fresh young face is currently the hot team on the New York City streets.
The Yankees paid attendance at home is currently averaging 39,537 per game. This number is down 5.6 percent compared to this time last year. For anybody who watched the series against the division leading Toronto Blue Jays this weekend, these numbers aren’t surprising.
Empty seats at Yankee Stadium have become a bigger epidemic than Troy Tulowitzki’s injuries.
On the Queens side of things the Mets are currently averaging 31,257 per game – a number that is 17.6 percent higher than this time in 2014.
This is a complete turnaround compared to the dip they experienced after the 2009 inaugural Citi Field season in 2009.
Furthermore, when discussing TV ratings, YES Network’s numbers are falling.
Remember, this is the regional network that revolutionized the way professional teams went about their business. Dedicating an entire network to a single franchise suddenly brought revenue opportunities to the table never thought of before.
YES averaged 454,000 viewers during the 2007 season. In 2015 the station is down to a measly 256,000.
SNY Network, the station the Mets call home, is averaging 240,091 viewers per game. In fact, their number is an astronomic 324,195 per game since acquiring Cespedes during the trade deadline.
It’s truly amazing what winning does.
We all know the Yankees go over-the-top when it comes to ceremonial plaques and retiring numbers in Monument Park. This is one of the themes that interestingly ties into this subject.
The Yankees are no idiots. They understand who their fan is. When Jeter and company were dominating in the 90s with four championships, the kid in middle and high school watched in awe. They all wanted to go in the backyard and hit like Jeter and field like Bernie Williams.
Now that kid is older. He has responsibilities with the wife and kids. He has a mortgage, a 9-to-5 job, and buying tickets to the next Yankees regular season night-cap is a tough thing to fathom.
Having these so-called uncalled for ceremonies with the classic 90’s Yankee brings these 30-something year old’s back to the ballpark. They remember the young core their club used to dominate with and now they’re stuck with aging veterans who continuously break down after half a season (see Mark Teixeira).
These Yankees 90’s babies also see the fresh face coming from Flushing. It can be quite frustrating to understand the other team in New York is out-dueling your own franchise from the front office.
The biggest factor comes down to the casual fan. Let’s be real for a moment, not all baseball fans in New York stick to one team. There is a pocket of baseball fans who go with the hot team. They’re eager to be seen at the stadium fielding the hot celebrities.
Citi Field is that hot stadium and Yoenis Cespedes is that hot player. The most recent winner of the NL Player of the Week just keeps smashing home runs. His latest, his 35th of the season, came on Monday night when he helped his Mets to the 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins.
It propelled the Mets to their eighth straight win and 20th win in their last 26 games. The Cuban Cespedes has been so good that he’s been thrust into illogical NL MVP discussions.
This sort of winning and attention will always be grasped onto in this city and on these streets.
For now, as we sit on Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2015, New York City is still a Yankees town. But today is only one of the last for which we can proclaim this.
The tide has been slowly turning for years now. Only now is it rapidly being noticed.
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