New York is Rooting for The Mets (until next April)

The New York Metropolitans are currently in the playoffs and competing for the National League Championship and the chance to play in the World Series. New Yorkers, though divided among sports loyalties, are fully behind the Mets this year.

The New York Mets will always be New York’s other team. They could win every World Series for the next 20 years and they will still be New York’s other team. It’s not the Mets fault; they are a consolation prize for people who were fans of the Yankees’ two rivals that skipped town (it’s why the Mets’ colors are Dodgers blue and Giants orange).

Fans of the Bronx Bombers look at the Mets as the scrappy but well-meaning younger brother that needs to get a beating every once in a while. They’re friendly rivals but not a threat to our stature as legends of the game. All the reasons people hate the Yankees are why Yankee fans can’t find it in themselves to hate the Mets. A significant part of all Yankee hating is envy. The Mets can’t invent a time machine and play the Yankees in 1927.

It feels like New York City reached its zenith with the subway series of 2000. It was the point in time when things were the most right for our city. Crime had been cleaned up but enough of the old New York character was still there. That both our baseball teams were contending for the world championship made New York that much more of the place to be and that illustrated once more how quintessentially American New York is.

But now the city finds itself in the rare position of seeing the Mets in the postseason longer than the Yankees, and Yankee fans find themselves rooting for the Mets. They are, after all, a New York team.

It was significant that the Mets got to the National League Championship Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers, formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers of course, started the series off with a controversial play that injured a key player. If the Dodgers had won the series, any accolades they won would be accompanied by an asterisk.

And why shouldn’t Mets and Yankee fans dislike the Dodgers more than one another. They are the team that abandoned New York decades ago for the sunny climes of Los Angeles, a second-rate smog-shrouded sinkhole of a city that wears its desperation on its sleeve. But these pretenders are defeated now, and four teams now vie for the crown.

The Mets are currently playing the Chicago Cubs, which are an old and storied franchise with some of the most compelling bad-luck stories in the history of the game, so much of the country is understandably rooting for them. But whatever course these games take, most in the U.S.A. can at least agree we would rather see the trophy stay on our side of the border and not taken to Toronto with the Blue Jays.

But New Yorkers stand firm. Since the Yankees are unfortunately out of the running this year, the Metropolitans must carry the torch for Gotham. We wish them the best of luck until next April.

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