The Mets have it over the Yankees this offseason and the gap between the two franchises will only get wider as on the fence fans choose sides.
The Mets have the face of their team in Francisco Lindor and the best ballplayer in the City of New York.
While the Yankees remain slumbering and circling the airport waiting for DJ LeMahieu to land in their lap, the Mets struck with force and decisiveness, a complete reversal of the teams’ strategies.
Meanwhile, the internet is humming with reports indicating the Dodgers are all in on LeMahieu to replace Justin Turner. In contrast, another report says LeMahieu will not hesitate to leave the Yankees if “he feels he is being disrespected.”
It all sounds so much like a reversal of roles in which the Mets emerge as the adults while the Yankees act like the bully in the neighborhood.
Just desserts it will be if the Mets decide to put the finishing and humiliating touches on the Yankees by jumping into the LeMahieu sweepstakes.
Moving with no hesitation about paying him that fifth year and $25 million the cheap stake Yankees are unwilling to give what is self-described as their most valuable and needed player on the team.
After all, the Mets do have a hole to fill at third base, which JD Davis is currently penciled in for by default.
The Mets Exude What The Yankees Do Not
But it’s more than that. Put your DJ LeMahieu hat on for a minute and ask yourself, just as James McCann, Trevor May, and Marcus Stroman did as they worked their way through the free-agent market this year – where else is there excitement in baseball other than the Mets today?
You’ve felt the vibrations in New York during your time with the Yankees.
And you wonder if laid-back Los Angeles, where fans show up in the third inning and leave during the seventh-inning stretch, is where you really want to finish out your career as opposed to the Mets and their rabid and loyal fans.
Whereas, even as recently as last year when The Yankees were still flying high as The Team players wanted to be part of, a la Gerrit Cole, who may soon be finding himself on a rotation island, watching and waiting for his team to get him some help.
There is a seismic shift underway in New York baseball, and what we see this offseason is only the initial spark that will set off a fire destined to upset the balance of power between the Mets and Yankees.
It’s The Mets Time – And Here’s How I Know That
Regular readers of Reflections On Baseball know that I write about both the Mets and Yankees. Some have figured out that I’m essentially a Yankees fan and have been for more than a half-century.
But more than that, I’m a fan of baseball. When I see a wrong, I try to correct it.
This has meant that with few exceptions, nearly all columns I’ve written about the Mets have been critical of the franchise – the Wilpons and the lackeys they hired like Brodie Van Wagenen to do their dirty deeds.
More recently, though, followers will have noticed a sea change since Steve Cohen came on board as the Mets owner – and Hal Steinbrenner has apparently suffered a severe attack of amnesia in remembering the winning legacy of his father.
But here’s how I know a changing of the guard between the Mets and Yankees is underway.
Interest in columns about the Mets is soaring, while anything I write specifically about the Yankees is becoming a waste of my time in readership terms.
The number of comments from Mets fans and their spirited exchange also overwhelms what is fast becoming a “Yeah, we suck, ho-hum, and Brian has to go” response from the Yankees fans even bother to take the time to respond to a column.
For God’s sake, have we not reached a Waterloo when even the Yankees’ most prestigious supporter (some say lackey) Michael Kaye losing patience with the Yankees dithering over LeMahieu and their lack of action about other holes that need to be filled?
Mets And Yankees: SNY vs. YES Ratings Will Settle The Matter
Let’s put it another way. More than likely, COVID-19 will once again make its presence known about the 2021 Regular Season.
Fans will be barred altogether. Depending on how the recent Governor Cuomo concession to the Buffalo Bills fans works out, a limited number of seats will be filled until the “All Clear” smoke signal rises from the Governor’s mansion in Albany.
Reduced to watching games on television, where will casual baseball fans go?
Unless, of course, there are still enough Yankees fans who take pleasure in seeing Gary Sanchez go 1-5 with a solo home run and four strikeouts with runners in scoring position, and a passed ball.
Notice The Pendulum As It Swings
These things go in cycles in baseball. Teams that were once up like the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians can’t get out of each other’s way as they purge their best players’ salaries because they can’t afford to keep them.
A year ago, the Mets had nowhere to go but up. They were a franchise distinguished by dysfunction and ineptitude.
Their ownership group, led by Fred And Jeff Wilpon, was still trying to salvage their crumbling fortune, so closely tied to the greed and misfortunes of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
The Wilpons kicked the tires on a sale of the team to Steve Cohen a year ago, only to have Jeff Wilpon throw a wrench in the deal with his disillusionment when Cohen said, “No way, Jeffie. You’re out!” when Cohen realized Jeff Wilpon would have operations control for the first five years of the agreement, and the deal fell apart.
Mets: Ya Got Me
It happens every day, ya know. People switch political parties or allegiances based on a new landscape being presented to them.
To wit, the Favorites button on my TV remote will default to SNY and the Mets, or wherever the convoluted MLB broadcasting schedule has them available.
Call me a carpetbagger, traitor, or a staunch defender of a person’s right to opt for the best entertainment value at their disposal.
I don’t care, just as the Yankees don’t seem to care as they sit there with the Steinbrenner family’s $3.8 billion (as valued by Forbes), clinging fast to the luxury tax threshold of $210 million in team payroll.
This, while letting talent like Lindor and Carlos Carrasco pass them by while the Mets go about their business.
Making it even worse from a Yankees fan’s perspective is that while the Mets are all-in to do what they have to do to compete with the Atlanta Braves and the now respectable Washington Nationals, who just added Kyle Schwerber to their lineup, the Yankees are comfortable in knowing that other than the Toronto Blue Jays, the AL East is theirs.
Give the people and the stockholders what they want – another appearance in the AL playoffs – only to die another unfulfilled death while Number 27 remains a distant memory.
Sorry, it’s no contest. The Mets have it, and the Yankees are now the wannabes of New York City.