I keep reading how this is the time for the New York Mets to “take control of the city and make this their town.’’
That’s an impossible venture based on history as the Yankees have a huge head start. I’ve been told this was once a National League town, but how can this be if the Yankees usually won?
Math says the Yankees have 27 World Series titles while the New York Mets, Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers won a combined eight. I was never good at math in school, but understand those numbers.
Only the 1921, 1922 Giants and 1955 Dodgers beat the Yankees head-to-head in a World Series.
The Mets will never take permanent control of the city. Just as the Jets won’t take it from the Giants; the Nets from the Knicks; and Islanders from the Rangers.
Those teams will always be the younger brother.
But, that doesn’t mean for one glorious summer, or two, or three, the Mets can’t be New York’s darlings. It happened in 1969 and 1986. But, temper that because from then to the present the Yankees won seven titles.
The Yankees’ mission statement always has been to win the World Series. That hasn’t changed since George Steinbrenner’s passing and won’t as long as long as the team remains in that family. The Mets want to win, but that’s not their mission statement. And, for readers of this blog who have long complained about their spending, you understand that concept. Worry about the perception of who owns the city once the Mets change their philosophy.
I’m not interested in the Mets catching the Yankees. That’s beating their head against a brick wall. What I am interested in is seeing the Mets catch the Washington Nationals, St. Louis and whoever comes out of the West.
You can also throw in the Braves and Marlins in that group. Those are their real rivals. The Mets and Mets’ fans should keep their eyes on the real prize, which is winning their corner of the world.
I didn’t grow up here, but can’t count the number of times I’ve walked through the concourses at Shea Stadium and Citi Field after a Mets’ victory and heard fans chant, “Yankees suck.’’ And this wasn’t after an interleague game with them. Why couldn’t they enjoy what they had just seen? Somebody please explain that to me.
Boston fans did the same for years. Even at a Patriots’ Super Bowl rally Bostonians chanted “Yankees suck.’’ I also heard it when the Red Sox finally won as I walked from Busch Stadium back to my St. Louis hotel.
The Mets – and I include Mets’ fans in this – should ignore what the Yankees are doing and take care of their own business. If they do that, they’ll own the damned back pages of the tabloids. It’s the hot team, the one that makes the most noise, that grab the back pages.
Growing up in Cleveland, Indians’ fans had that same fascination with the Yankees. I always thought it was acknowledging an inferiority complex. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Yankees’ Joneses and take care of your own house and you’ll get the attention.
The Mets will never convert a true Yankees’ fan just as the opposite is true. But, for one summer they can get those straddling the fence to find their way to Queens instead of the Bronx.
The Mets have their own history and it is worth cherishing. Never forget that.