The New York Yankees are baseball’s most storied franchise. They have cultivated more Hall of Famers than any other organization, 24 (the Giants have 25, but twenty of them were with the New York Giants and only 5 have come in San Francisco, but who’s counting?), and they’ve won more World Series rings than any other organization, period. It felt weird to write the word period and then insert a period, but hey, that’s the way that sentence needed to end. The Bronx Bombers have been the iconic Major League Franchise for a long time, but all of a sudden, they may not even be the most popular team in New York.
Mets baseball has been steadily improving while the Yanks officially reached a rebuilding stage when they traded away perennial all stars like Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for prospects last season. The man who sold the organization on a rebuild, Brian Cashman (is there a more Yankees sounding name than Cashman? Maybe Steinbrenner) recently had a feature written about him in the Times. The piece noted that Cashman sold Hal Steinbrenner on the idea of a rebuild before dealing away almost all the organization’s veteran talent for promising young players in a move that he hopes will pan out in coming seasons.
“Things had to be turned over, and it took some courage, especially in this town,” said Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president. “It took some fortitude to go in a new direction. Cash was really the architect. He sold Hal on it, and hopefully it will work.”
Now, New York’s farm system now ranks second among all big league teams. They boast young players like Gary Sanchez, who rocked the baseball world with twenty bombs in just fifty-three games last season.
Young guns like Sanchez still put butts in the seats at Yankee stadium, which averaged more fans than the Mets’ Citi field in 2016, but they’re putting less butts than they’d like in those seats (that felt like too much butt talk for an article about Yankee baseball). According to Baseball Reference, the pinstripes filled an average of 39,430 seats in 2015, and only 37,820 in 2016. The Mets may have averaged less fans, but they are trending up, rather than down. They averaged almost 3,000 more fans per game in ’16 than ’15.
To cap it all off, the Mets ace, Noah Syndergaard (aka Thor) recently noted in an interview on the Dan Patrick Show that New York, “is a Mets town.”
Time will tell, but for the time being, Thor might be right.