The Mets have always been the “other” team in New York. With the losers tag now planted on the Yankees, there’s a door left open for the Mets.
In a rapid twist of fate, the Mets are up, and the Yankees are down for having failed miserably again this year to claim the World Title they were favored to win.
In a city that welcomes only winners, the Mets have developed a breed of fans known for its faith and forgiveness, resilient of the past, and always looking to the future – just around the corner.
With the benefit of the second-highest payroll in baseball, the Yankees always manage to win during the regular season, and sometimes as in the last two years, they win big with two consecutive 100+ win seasons.
Even so, the Mets and their fans have watched as the Yankees have been denied that elusive 28th World Championship, despite having appeared in the playoffs eight times since claiming the trophy in 2009.
Mets Watch As The Yankees Light Dims
The spotlight is shining brightly on the Yankees now as a losing team following their dismantling by the upstart Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.
Made even brighter by the failed trickery employed in Game 2, the Yankees organization is given the same treatment that has followed the Mets in recent years as a franchise with dysfunction from the tippy-top on down.
The Mets and Yankees, at the moment, are two teams heading in different directions – and for once, it’s the Mets who seem to have a direction – while the Yankees are in disarray.
While the Mets are making long-overdue changes in their organization, headed by the ousting of the Wilpons and the introduction of some new, enthusiastic, and rich blood in Steve Cohen, the Yankees are looking at a long winter of indecision when big ones are needed.
While the Yankees are saddled with expensive long-term and questionable contracts, including Giancarlo Stanton‘s remaining $180+ million, the dual – why did they do that – $70 million deals offered to Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks that extends to 2026 – the Mets have none of that unless you want to throw Jacob deGrom into the mix.
The Mets have the choice of moving forward with Michael Conforto on a contract extension in place of his 2021 walk-year. Still, the rest of their payroll is set, subject only to the addition of salary (again, a Mets choice) via trades or signings from the Class of 2021 free agents.
This, while the Yankees need to struggle with Masahiro Tanaka and DJ LeMahieu, both of whom become free agents five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
Once thought to be a given that the Yankees would heavily pursue both, the tremors from the loss to the Rays have yet to be felt, and if a makeover is in order, there’s no need to sign either player.
Mets: New York City Is Waiting For You
In sum, the Mets have a golden opportunity to take over the city of New York. It won’t be about Yankees fans switching allegiances to the Mets. It doesn’t have to be. Instead, there are millions of baseball fans who choose not to follow a team.
These fans up for grabs, and much like the Padres, Marlins, and yes – the Rays this year, the Mets have the kind of team with players like Conforto, Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith, and Brandon Nimmo who are like a fan-attracting magnet, and more than capable of stealing the spotlight from the Yankees.
Besides the money, Gerrit Cole chose the Yankees to win championships, earned when it counts and not during the exhibition “regular” season.
Aaron Judge was disillusioned last year when his team fell to the Astros in 2019. We can only imagine how he feels today -or even on the flip side – how the Yankees feel about him.
Trevor Bauer, who will be the most sought after free-agent pitcher, will go where the money is greatest. And that’s fine as a reason why the Mets should shy away in the sweepstakes. But what about a player like J.T. Realmuto?
Realmuto can be the player who recalls the days of Mike Piazza and Gary Carter, both of whom took to New York and vice versa like they were pre-ordained to be here.
Expensive, but so what? Bring in a player of the caliber of Realmuto, a catcher no less, and watch the city of New York light up with soaring ticket sales and back-page newspaper print.
The Mets And That Door Left Open A Crack
The Mets have an opportunity, but that’s all it is. Everything in the organization is upbeat, and Mets fans are standing by in anticipation of the New Mets Era.
As we know, the Mets have stumbled before in these situations. Brodie Van Wagenen had a plan to fix everything, and Carlos Beltran was supposedly THE Mets manager they’d been seeking for a long time.
We know too that it’s not only the “moves” the Mets are expected to make, but it’s the quality of those moves that will determine their future.
Having the money to sign another Jason Bay, or for that matter, Trevor Bauer is only part of the equation. It cascades down to this.
Does any move made by the Mets answer one question? Is the team better with the addition or subtraction of the player(s)?
Sideline general managers like myself and Mets fans can play that game all day long, but we are kidding no one.
The power to destroy, weaken, or uplift the Mets rests firmly in the hands of Steve Cohen and, for the moment at least, Sandy Alderson.
New York City is up for grabs, and why can’t it be the Mets instead of the Yankees who capture the attention of fans and media?
Sit back to recall 1986 and the magic that grasped the city and its suburbs. Are we that far away from that spirit?
I think not, but soon we’ll know for sure.