Is Baseball Back in New York?

Bobby Tuzzio ’20
Chief Sports Editor

It is safe to say that major professional sports teams in New York have been hit or miss over the last decade. One need not look at the Giants and the Knicks as evidence. However, I’ll save the discussion about those teams for another day. This article is going to be reserved for baseball.

Let’s start with the Yankees. The Yanks last World Series win was in 2009, and, while they are in a very strong position to win it all this year, the 2010s has certainly not been a memorable decade for the Bronx Bombers. It seems that this decade for the Yankees has been built around restructuring the franchise with the goal of creating a new MLB dynasty. Mixed in with this notion is the end of the old and the welcoming of the new. Mariano Rivera, at the age of 43, called it a career. The entire Yankees’ 2014 season can best be summed up as Derek Jeter’s season-long curtain call.

With that said, the Yankees have really bounced back in the latter-end of the decade. With stars such as Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and former MVP Giancarlo Stanton, it looks as though the Bronx Bombers have found the pieces they need to retain their former glory.

The Yankees made it far in the postseason last year, but ultimately, they lost in the ALCS to their rival Boston Red Sox. However, the Yanks have not skipped a beat this season. In a season filled with injuries, the Yankees have dominated virtually all of their opponents (especially the Baltimore Orioles). They sat at the top of the AL East for pretty much the whole season, and, even better, their rival Red Sox did not even make the postseason. With that said, the Yankees have a very good chance to win the World Series this year.

In Queens, the Mets have had interesting last 30 or so years. In ‘86, every Mets fan alive at the time was on cloud 9. However, since then, the Mets have still been chasing that third World Series title. They were close in 2000, but, unfortunately, their cross-town rival Yankees beat them pretty handily. The Mets returned to the World Series in 2015, but saw themselves bested again, this time by the Kansas City Royals.

In the years that followed that World Series appearance, the Mets, like the Yankees, have undergone some major restructuring. Terry Collins left as manager, with Mickey Callaway taking over. They also hired former sports agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their General Manager. In one of his first moves as GM, he acquired Edwin Diaz and veteran Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners. On paper, this move broke away from previous Mets decisions. Well, I suppose getting an aging player in Cano is a total Mets move. However, at the time, Diaz was a huge pickup. The 24-year old closer had come off one of the best seasons for a reliever in recent memory.

Diaz even showed flashes of his dominant 2018 campaign very early on this past season. While watching these early season games, I thought to myself, “Damn…this guy is gonna be really good for us.” Boy, was I way off. He sucked. Every time I watched him play for pretty much the whole season, I had my eyes closed, or I would turn it off because I knew he was gonna blow it. He wouldn’t just give up one or two run games, he would blow three or even four runs games, in one inning! He, alone, cost the Mets at least six or seven wins this season. To be fair, the Mets also had some problems other than Diaz, including their bullpen as a whole, as well as their lackluster defense.

However, after this season, Mets fans can be optimistic about the future. They had a strong second half, and they actually made things interesting by putting themselves back in the Wild Card race, which, back in late June, was pretty much given up on.

This lineup can also be pretty dangerous in the coming years. Jacob deGrom had a Cy Young caliber season, and second-year Major Leaguer Jeff McNeill proved to be unstoppable at the plate, leading the NL in batting average for most of the season. However, the big star in Queens this season was rookie Pete Alonso, who got selected as an All-Star, won the Home Run Derby, and broke Aaron Judge’s MLB HR rookie record. As a Met fan, it is going to be fun watching these guys play over the coming years.

In sum, while baseball has been hit or miss over the last decade, Yankees and Mets fans have something to look forward to. Who knows? The Yanks and the Mets could have a World Series rematch in the not-so-distant future. Only time will tell.

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