Baseball in New York: Who Will Own the City?

By Robby Sabo,

Rucker Park, The Cage and other top-notch venues host the most competitive games in the city. As you drive through certain parts you can witness it first-hand. Basketball is the city’s game, but New York is a Baseball-Town. It started a long time ago and remains this way to this day.

Turn on any New York air-wave and it knocks you out with obscene passion.

Last night, the New York Yankees defeated the New York Mets, 1-0, to earn the split (2-2), FoxNews.com. As the Subway Series ends, the focus quickly shifts to each team’s future and where they stand in the hearts of New Yorkers.

There is little doubt that right now New York City is a Yankees town first. But for the youngsters out there: It was not always like this and it absolutely won’t stay this way forever, despite the financial wherewithal of the Yanks.

Prior to 1996, New York City was a National League-Town, plain and simple. The last champion New York laid eyes on was the 86’ Mets. Keith Hernandez, Daryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden and company captured the city’s heart as they stunned the Red Sox in Game 6 and created the curse-word “Buckner” in Boston.

The Mets owned New York in the 80’s. Much the same way the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants owned the city before their move to the west-coast. Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Duke Snyder, Pee-Wee Reese and many more were the talk of the town in the 50’s. While Mantle, DiMagio, Berra and the Yanks were winning a ridiculous number of championships, having two teams in the National League fully entrenched the town.

That Giants/Dodgers rivalry was everything. Remember, pennants were just as important as World Series Championships in those days and the Giants/Dodgers rivalry always took center stage. There’s no doubt that the Yankees are the most storied franchise in sports history, but New York was always a NL baseball-town until 1996.

The New York Mets goal? Get New York on that NL bandwagon again because as the old Giants and Dodgers get older, more Yankee fans are being raised.

2014 is yet another year in which the Yanks are supposed to contend and the Mets are supposed to fail and it gets tiring after a while. The Yanks do everything right, and the Mets unwillingly become the butt of many jokes throughout the summer.

Smart bystanders realize that big changes are coming.

While the Yankees have the financial stability to guarantee them a certain level of success every season, it does not mean they have things “cooking.” Their farm is very thin right now, and baseball people know that the farm is the core of any great franchise.

Many small-market teams currently thrive in the current baseball structure (no salary-cap, hard luxury tax). They have figured out the ways of baseball-finance and the Tampa Bay Rays are the prime example of that.

The Mets have their fan-base frustrated right now because they are mimicking a small-market team, as their payroll hovers around $82 million, MLB.com. For a New York baseball team to be under $100 million in salary is down-right embarrassing. Most feel now they are waiting for 2015.

But, the Mets have something the Yanks don’t, and that is a core of young, talented, stud pitching that is undeniable. Young starting pitchers in baseball are by far the most valuable asset in the game. Guys like Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, Dillon Gee and Jon Neise are all huge chips.

Having as many guys in the pipeline as they do will allow for much needed flexibility when acquiring a corner-stone position player and guaranteeing a nasty rotation.

Yankee fans must realize this: While spending money is great, it is not what transformed them into what they are today. Buck Showalter and Gene “Stick” Michael built the late-90’s dynasty through patience and young talent, not spending. It all started while George Steinbrenner was suspended, and what resulted was 4 championships with the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.

Since that dynasty, the Yankees have spent like drunken-sailors and it is Boston who is reaping the more positive results (3 Championships).

For the 2014 Mets, Matt Harvey going down with Tommy John gave them the excuse to not spend, but once 2015 rolls around, the spending will start as their young pitching will all be entrenched in the big-leagues. This along with trading one or two of those young arms for a corner-stone position player will have the Mets in a more enviable position than the Yanks. One that New Yorkers haven’t seen since the late 90’s with the team from the Bronx. One where the Mets will possess the strong core while the Yanks are just getting by because of spending.

After six Major League seasons, a baseball player becomes an unrestricted free-agent. This means free-agents are always a little later in their career once scooped up by the Bombers. As seen in the past couple seasons, injuries are a heavy price tag when operating a franchise like this.

Enjoy owning the town in 2014 Yankee fans, the pulse of the city could change in a heart-beat. While it’s been a long, slow and painful process, the Mets are coming.



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