When the Mets decided to ink a glorified former quarterback a minor league deal, the dynamic between themselves and their crosstown rivals completed a full 180-degree swing.
2015 represented a change of tides in New York City baseball.
While the New York Yankees declined in the second half, rotting away with old age while possessing no true future plan, their foes in Flushing, the Mets, surged their way to the World Series behind a brilliant young core of starting pitching and a seasoned and determined lineup.
The highlights of the Yankee season were extraordinary outputs from a fragile-as-glass Mark Teixeira, an aging and out-of-shape Alex Rodriguez, and a declining Brian McCann. Even their ace, Masahiro Tanaka, could not deliver five breaking balls in a row without the surfacing concern that his ulnar collateral ligament would give out.
Conversely, the boys in Flushing reeked excitement. The dark night, Matt Harvey, had a brilliant comeback campaign, Jacob deGrom had an outstanding, Cy Young caliber season, Noah Syndergaard electrified baseball when he burst upon the scene, and Steven Matz signified a bright future for an already dynamic staff.
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Yoenis Cespedes went on an absolute tear in the second half, stunning the fanatics in Queens.
Fittingly enough, the Yankees were silenced in a dull AL Wild Card game, disappointing 50,000+ at Yankee Stadium, and the Mets, on the other hand, willed their way past the Dodgers and Cubs, stealing every headline before squandering the Fall Classic.
One year later, and, in an utterly shocking fashion, nothing remains the same.
Heading into 2016, the dynamic was a constant. The Mets were destined to be a 95-win team while the Yankees withered away with their aging, unreliable, inconsistent roster.
Today, on Friday, September 9, the Mets’ pitching is no longer historical, their offense is often dull, and their injury-plagued nature has them merely fighting for a Wild Card spot.
On the contrary, the Yankees have shocked baseball after dealing or releasing the majority of their aging stars, receiving contributions from the minor league assets fans have been waiting to see for years – Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. With the return from the August 1 deadline, those assets are just the initial makings of a dynasty.
More importantly, though, is the change in front office mindsets – the direct flip-flopping of perspectives.
When the Yankees parted ways with A-Rod, they were absolutely done with sagas of any type.
Yesterday, the Mets, unfortunately enough, began utilizing that dreaded avenue. They signed Tim Tebow, who, for the record, will never play a major league game.
In fact, it is downright self-centered that a failed football star would remotely attempt to make it big in a sport he never played past the high school level.
Sandy Alderson and the Mets, who are coming up short on the headlines and intrigue front, felt the need to snag news from the big boys. Given that their glory was short-lived, and the Yankee prosper is soon to return, they took the unfavorable route which, quite frankly, never works.
Sure, Tebow will sell out their Single-A stadium and give them some extra dollars on the payroll. Yes, he may or may not create some actual excitement.
That does not dismiss the fact that the tables have turned, the tides have changed, and general motives have completely reversed.
When George Steinbrenner was around, he would do anything for the headlines. If the Mets ever took one, which was rare, he would pursue any endeavor to earn it back.
Now, the new regime in the Bronx — finally executed by Hal Steinbrenner — is taking the 2010-2014 Mets model, a rebuild which produced the basis of excellence. The main difference: the Yankees do not have to wait — they are instant contenders.
The Mets are looking more and more like a jealous franchise, losing attention in a year which they were supposed to seize it. From an organizational standpoint, the Tebow move was a direct reaction.
It is saddening; it truly is.
From a Yankees perspective, all you can say is, “They cannot possibly be making that mistake.”
From a Mets perspective, being blindsided, and ultimately shielded, is the name of the game.
It is incredible how much can change in a calendar year.