Saturday, May 9, 2009

Time for Jerry Manuel to lose second-class attitude

Are the Mets doomed to be second to the Yankees in New York? Not according to the Post's Kevin Kernan. In today's column, titled "Amazin's can make Apple turn over," Kernan writes:

The Mets are baseball's big tease. There is a golden opportunity here, if they can only seize the day. They will never have the sizzle that A-Rod brings the Yankees, but they can get the Ws.

That's a big if, but the Mets have a chance to make New York their town, or at least a big part of it, if they embrace a style of play that their fans have been begging them to play.

Play hard and don't look back.

Not sure I agree with the A-Rod sizzle part, especially these days, but I'm glad to see that there are still sportswriters out there whose memory goes back before 1996.

In the first 31 years of the Mets' existence, from 1962 to 1992, they outdrew the Yankees in 21 of those years, from 1964-1975 and from 1984-1992.

And after the Yankees won the World Series in 1962, for the next 33 years, the two teams won the same number of World Series - two apiece.

Obviously, the two teams' fortunes and popularity diverged greatly after 1992, and I can't argue with calling the Yankees the number one team in town both on the field and in popularity during the overall era that both teams have been in existence. All I am saying is that I'm tired of some people acting as if the Mets have NEVER been the most popular team in town, when that was clearly the case during the late sixties and mid-eighties.

Especially when those people are in Mets' management.

From later in Kernan's column:

Will New York ever be the Mets town?

"How many have the Yankees won?" Manuel asked, knowing the answer is 26 championships.

"How many have we won?" he asked, again knowing the answer is two. Of course, you wouldn't know that by Citi Field, there is no recognition of the Mets two championships at the quirky ballpark.

"We've got a long way to go," Manuel said with a laugh. "A long way to go."

When the Jets introduced Rex Ryan as their new coach, Ryan talked about looking forward to going to the White House after winning the Super Bowl. If Ryan had been asked about competing with the Giants for the heart of the city, I doubt he would have said, "Well, the Giants have won three Super Bowls and have been to four. And we've only won one. We've got a long way to go."

Perhaps Manuel would be more appreciative of the Mets' glory days if, as Kernan also notes, they were acknowledged at Citi Field. Ultimately, the lack of appreciation for Mets' history falls on upper management.

The Jets are second-class citizens in their own home, Giants Stadium, but at least that will change in their new stadium. It sometimes seems as if Mets' management considers them third-class citizens - behind the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Manuel previously managed the Chicago White Sox, a true second-class team in their own city. Even when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, the Cubs still outdrew them the following year, even in their tiny ballpark. Manuel appears to assume that the Mets are like the White Sox - it doesn't matter what they do, the other team will still be more popular.

The Mets have won five in a row and are closing in on first place. If they can keep it up, Manuel can wear a Derek Jeter jersey around town for all I care. But the next time the Mets need a new manager, maybe it's time to find someone from the glory days, or someone who at least appreciates them.

Is New York doomed always to be a Yankee town? Tell us what you think.


Keith said...

The popularity of the Mets in the 60s and early 70s can be attributed mostly to all the old Dodgers and Giants fans who would never root for the Yankees, plus NY had more National League fans back then. The 80s popularity is the best indication that the Mets can be more popular than the Yankees. If the Mets succeed with Wright, Reyes, Santana, etc and become a team that people love, and the Yankees keep repeating 80s history, the Mets can be the number 1 team.

Anonymous said...

I have no issues with what Jerry said. He is very adept at using the media to his advantage. If he wants to play up the 2nd class citizen role, sort of a twist on the underdog thing i suppose, who cares? they win games none of it matters.
As for the lack of mets stuff at the stadium, i could care less. it is time to make new memories for mets fans. it is a great place to see a game and that is what is important.

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