Are Mets Stuck in Yankees Shadow?

Relationship between New York's teams isn't imbalanced

In advance of the first game of this year's Subway Series, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports opines that the Mets are stuck in the shadow of the Yankees.

In a pinstriped city, they remain the junior varsity, even on a big payroll, even with big stars, even in a beautiful ballpark, even when the Yankees just took an October off.

See, the Yankees define baseball. The Mets just play it.

Hogwash. Feel free to argue which team is better right now, which team is better built to contend for a championship and anything else, but the idea that the Mets somehow exist on a different plane than the Yankees is impossible to comprehend. 

If the Yankees define baseball, that means part of the definition is a thriving fan base, a state of the art stadium and a team-owned cable channel. The Mets have all three. They've also got, as Brown mentions, big stars and a big payroll. How any of that makes them junior varsity is hard to understand. 

Because they haven't won as many titles as the Yankees? Join the club. Because the Yankees, according to a New York Times poll, have more fans? Coke sells more than Pepsi, but both are doing just fine. Such things are temporal anyway as a snapshot of mid-'80's New York City would quickly show you.

Buying into the idea that the Mets down as junior varsity serves the same purpose as buying the nonsensical idea of curses in Boston once did. It excuses losing with a shrug because the cards were all stacked against you anyway. The Yankees aren't the reason why the Red Sox went 76 years between championships, nor are they the reason the Mets collapsed in two straight Septembers.

The Yankees might sweep this weekend or the Mets might win two of three. That's not because of shadows or destiny or anything but who plays better in the games. These teams exist on parallel planes, responsible for their own fortunes or foibles and there's plenty of room for both on the big stage.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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