A recent ratings release displayed the current dominance of SNY over YES, but the trend goes beyond the figures.
For a full 20 years — two decades — the New York Yankees have been unquestionably atop New York City. For a century, it has been their excellence highlighting the baseball landscape.
Even the slightest hint at a change in tides has not been able to stop the pinstripes. Brilliant front office management and ownership would directly result in a quick return to relevancy.
Perhaps 2016 and beyond may be the ultimate deterioration of what has been an empire; an ‘Evil Empire’ at that.
With the current mindset of the great George Steinbrenner’s successors, the franchise is riding a sinking ship. While organizations such as the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and crosstown rival New York Mets have shown that it must get somewhat ugly before it gets better, the Yankees have stood with their hands in their laps.
Trying to revolutionize logic that has been a staple of baseball since its inception is costing a brand name. As a result, flashes of the 1980s are becoming ever so present as the Mets take the ratings, the excitement, and the upper-end in success for only the second time since their establishment.
Sure, SNY (Mets) currently brings in 27-percent more viewers than YES (Yankees), but it says more than sheer viewership. The preference signifies much more than numbers.
The Mets created a brand of baseball worth watching. Whether they are thriving or scratching heads, the team they have on the field is interesting, engaging, and of championship-caliber. At any moment, the guys in Flushing have the ability to bring that ‘wow’ factor upon a common fan.
The Yankees, on the other hand, have no attraction of viewership. When you flip to the YES Network, you are simply hoping that an aging team can stay healthy for another night, somehow be offensively productive, and not put you to sleep by wasting three hours of your time.
That is the difference between the two, and it is no longer the Yankee name that is going to bring more excitement to their product.
It says something that Yankee Stadium (54,251 capacity) is welcoming only 2,962 more fans per game than Citi Field (45,000 capacity).
Let’s be downright honest here. If the Yanks are taking on the Oakland A’s in a May regular season game, do you really want to attend, have Carlos Beltran out of the lineup because of a ‘sore hamstring’, and only potentially see a dull win or a lifeless loss?
How about going to a Mets-A’s game? Even if the game is worthless in the eyes of many, you may see an exciting young arm, witness a Yoenis Cespedes 440-foot blast, and will certainly reside in a much more fan-friendly venue.
This is not to say that the trend is permanent or that the Mets ‘rule’ the city. This is to say that they are set-up to be the only relevant New York baseball team for years to come.
If the Yanks would have torn it down at a much more convenient time (2013) rather than opening up their checkbook for another splurge (2014), the latter end of a rebuilding stage would be imminent. However, the dragged out nature of the process has brought about a slow and painful decline rather than a quick and easy one.
For the longest time, it was the ownership of the Metropolitans put under the microscope, scrutinized for each and every maneuver, and resented every single year. That general idea is about to take a major twist, and it will be an abrupt one if the Yankees keep their current philosophy.
New York will always be on the long list of pinstriped possessions, but now they have to fight for it harder than ever before. Ironically enough, the only factor standing between the Bronx Bombers and the promise land is themselves.