The New York Mets have forever played the second dog to the New York Yankees in the Big Apple. However, that’s all about to change.
The New York Mets have fought the Evil Empire on the field since June 1997 when the inaugural Subway Series game was played at Yankee Stadium. In case you were wondering, the Mets, led by Dave Mlicki, shut out the Yankees that day by a final of 6-0.
The more intriguing rivalry between the teams, though, has been conducted off the field in other arenas like SNY vs. YES, the teams’ respective television networks that battle yearly to win the ratings war. The Mets also engage the Yankees in a fight over coverage on the back pages of the New York Daily News and The New York Post.
Despite what the rest of the nation might believe, New Yorkers (and I’m not one of them) are driven by their heart. It’s New Yorkers who feed the homeless who invade their streets. It’s New Yorkers who climbed the World Trade Center to save fellow New Yorkers. It’s New Yorkers who provide free breakfast and lunch to all children attending their schools.
And it’s New Yorkers who attend Mets games at Citi Field, where the heart of New York baseball now resides.
The Yankees shook the rafters of Yankee Stadium, the city, and all of Major League Baseball with their acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. The fallout within each of these entities has yet to be seen, but what stands out already is another element within New York City to which the Yankees have gravitated towards far too many times, and that’s pure and simple greed.
Greed that is personified no better than in the 1987 film Wall Street, and in case you missed it, here’s the trailer. You’ll get the idea quickly.
The Yankees don’t need Stanton. They just wanted him in their harem in the same fashion they wanted Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees do this because they can. Meanwhile, the Mets are desperately trying to feed off scraps from the plate the Yankees discarded in the trade by engaging the Marlins in talks about acquiring Starlin Castro.
This is the plight of the New York Mets. But you know what? What the Mets are doing has more validity than what George, I mean Hal Steinbrenner, only remembered for a New York minute from last season, now forgotten, when the Yankees surprised everyone connected with baseball by building a team over the course of a season that came within a hair of the World Series.
I read with interest yesterday Mike Lupica’s column in the New York Daily News which he accurately sub-titled, “Moneyball, Bronx Style.” Lupica has questions about the direction the Yankees are taking and, as you can probably tell, so do I.
And the reason is simple. The Mets in 2018 are what the Yankees were before the 2017 season began. The Mets are filled with intrigue while the Yankees merely have to ensure they don’t shoot themselves in the foot this season. And in that way, the Mets, in a case of what Yogi Berra would say is “deja vu all over again,” have the Yankees right where they want them.
If the Yankees win the AL East, good for them. They were expected to win it with the powerhouse they now have. And if they don’t win their 28th title this season, the atmosphere around the team that had so much fun last season will suddenly switch to a “there will be hell to pay” scenario, reminding of the days of future passed for the Yankees and their fans.
Meanwhile, the Mets have an opportunity to put together a season like the Yankees had last year. Under what promises to be the dynamic leadership of Mickey Callaway, together with rebound seasons from Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, plus the added energy of Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, and the healthy return of Michael Conforto, this will be a team to watch and follow.
And if you haven’t bought into Mickey Callaway yet, give this a look:
Can the Mets knock off the Washington Nationals? On paper, you’d have to say no. Then again, that’s what they said of the Yankees at this time last year before the Bombers took the BoSox to the very last days of the season.
The Mets always seem to be playing catch-up with the Yankees. While that still holds at least for the present, 162 games remain on the schedule, yet to be played.
Ask yourself a simple question: which team do you think holds more intrigue for you and the city of New York in 2018? If you answered “Mets,” then you’ve got the gist of what I’m talking about, as well as a reason why this Yankees fan will be making a concerted effort to look more closely at “the other” team in New York this season.
It would be wonderful if actions on the field during the upcoming season met the expectations of the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” theme of this video. Because (then) we would have a baseball season to remember in New York City.
At least one Yankees fan is rooting for it to happen.