To the dismay of New York sports fans, no local pro team has hoisted a championship trophy and been feted with a ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes in over a decade. Who will be next?
Yankee super star Aaron Judge is going to get the keys to the city of New York from Mayor Eric Adams at a City Hall ceremony in the near future. His AL record 62 HRs last year helped power him to the Most Valuable Player award. But where are the rest of his teammates? Back in 2009, the entire Yankees team got their own keys because that team won the World Series.
But lately? Sure, the Mets overachieved in 2015 and made it to the World Series--before losing in five games. The Rangers flirted with the Stanley Cup on a couple of occasions. The Nets talked a good game and loaded up on superstars before injuries, internal bickering and vaccine mandates derailed them last year.
So, which team stands the best chance of winning it all?
I’m picking The Mets: Sure, they lost out on Carlos Correa who went back to the Twins after Los Mets did not like something about his repaired ankle. But Steve Cohen’s team won 101 game in 2022. Even though they bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, the Mets are arguably stronger this year. It is hard to bet against the combination of Justin Verlander, coming off his American League Cy Young season in Houston, and Max Scherzer, who is the best big-game pitcher of his time. Jacob who? They also added Japanese super star pitcher Kodai Senga. And then locked down the lock down closer Edwin Diaz.
And for the rest of the pro franchises that call NY home? The Nets had a recent 12 game winning streak snapped but with Kevin Durant out for at least two weeks with another knee injury they probably will struggle. If Durant is healthy for the playoffs, they could go on a run. But they haven’t convinced me they can go all the way yet.
The Rangers came close last season--and you could say it is a better team this year. Problem is, the Boston Bruins have been astonishing. If Adam Fox, a local star from Jericho, N.Y., can put his stamp on the team the way Brian Leetch used to do, the Rangers could give Boston a tough series.
The Yankees succeeded in re-signing its Mr. Everything, Aaron Judge (and Anthony Rizzo – remember Mr. Everything Else?). They’ve improved their sketchy pitching staff. And with the departure of Cy Yong-winning Verlander from Houston, the American League could be more wide open than it has been in years. If the Yankees get as far as the World Series – for the first time since the franchise won it all, back in 2009 – the Bronx faithful will rejoice. But if the Yankees then proceed to lose, to the hated Mets in a Subway Series, the emotion that Yankees fans will feel all winter will be despair.
The Giants are not that far away and their upset victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday was great to see. But they still probably need additional talented wide receivers for quarterback Daniel Jones. The team added solid pass rushers and the offensive line somehow got it together and with a healthy Saquon Barkley at running back, you have the makings of a good team. I think the team will gain valuable post-season experience, this year as a lead-in for next year’s campaign.
The great thing about being a sports fan is that you know anything can happen.
Miracles can happen. To quote Tug McGraw--whose 73 Mets almost won it all-- you gotta believe.