New York sports fans are lucky to have some of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. The rivalries between the Yankees and Mets, Giants and Jets, Islanders and Rangers and Knicks and Nets are some of the most exciting that the four major sports have to offer.
Unfortunately for Yankees and Mets fans, the rivalry between these two teams seems to be taking a backseat to the others. Each rivalry offers fans something different, but it's easy to see that the two baseball clubs are not bringing as much excitement to the table as they have in recent memory.
For starters, the games can barely sell out. The Yankees and Mets play six times each year, all of which are usually sold out by March or April when the tickets go on sale. It's been a struggle to sell out the games at Citi Field, though, as tickets are still on sale as we head into the series.
Sure, the economy isn't great and neither team really has all that much talent to show off at this point in the season (regardless of the Yankees' record). Even still, the Yankees and Mets have one of the most famous interleague rivalries in baseball.
The rivalry reached the pinnacle during the Subway Series in 2000. In the years following (when the Mets were still a competitive team), this matchup was still fun to watch. In the past three or four seasons, though, the games simply haven't had the same level of excitement.
The mediocrity of the Mets has had something to do with that, but I'm not here to critique the Mets. Overall, these two teams have not been capable of putting together an exciting product on the field.
There are players who have the potential to make this interleague matchup a strong rivalry again. Matt Harvey could bring some new excitement to the series by stifling the Yankee bats, while Robinson Cano and David Wright bring the star power necessary to attract fans to the stadium.
Compare this rivalry to the Giants and Jets, and it's easy to see the differences. Even though the Giants and Jets don't play each other every regular season (once every four years, plus one preseason game every season), their rivalry may be one of the fiercest in football.
As the only two teams in the NFL that share a stadium, such a rivalry is inherent and great for fans who love bragging rights.
The Jets may have been the butt of everyone's jokes in recent memory (sorry, Mark Sanchez), but that hasn't stopped the fact that the rivalry is still exciting. Eli Manning and Co. have won two Super Bowls since the 2007-08 season, so Giants fans have had much more to cheer about than Jets fans.
Both teams have the media surrounding them, but the rivalry is enhanced by the differences in media attention. The Jets have been accused of headline-grabbing recently, likely in an effort to steal the back pages away from the Super Bowl-winning Giants. This adds more fuel to the fire, even if it's just for getting on the back page of a local newspaper.
Even the NHL rivalry in New York is more exciting than the one in baseball. The NHL may be the lesser of the four major sports in terms of viewership, but that doesn't stop the Islanders and Rangers from putting on a show whenever they play each other.
The "Battle of New York" takes place each season, with each club hosting three home games. The winner of the season series is awarded the Pat LaFontaine trophy.
Prior to this season's playoff berth, the Islanders had been a poorly constructed hockey team. They lost a ton of games, didn't have much talent and had issues attracting fans to Nassau Coliseum. That didn't affect the rivalry, as fans still continued to pour into the Coliseum and Madison Square Garden to watch the games.
Now that the Islanders are back into the playoff picture for the next few seasons, expect the rivalry to continue to grow. Hockey is an exciting sport no matter how talented the teams are, but throw two playoff teams together in a rivalry for hometown bragging rights and watch the craziness that ensues.
The growth of this rivalry over the past season or two is what makes it so much more appealing than the dwindling feud between the Mets and Yankees.
The biggest rivalry in New York, however, is not in the NHL, NFL or even the MLB. It's in the NBA. The Nets and Knicks are one of the best up-and-coming rivalries in all of sports, let alone New York.
Now that the Nets are in Brooklyn (and provide the Eastern Conference with legitimate competition during the regular season and playoffs), the Knicks are no longer the unquestioned top dog in the Big Apple. This rivalry is exciting simply because of its "newcomer" appeal. Because the Nets are new in town, the Knicks are fighting to maintain control of their city, which they managed to do this season.
Even though both teams made the playoffs, the Knicks had a better run and were a much more talented team than the Nets. The regular season series was split 2-2, but the games were extremely competitive and either team could have easily won all four contests.
Hype is the biggest factor in any rivalry, and both of these teams are arguably the two most hyped-up teams in the city. The Knicks are back to being a competitive team, and the Nets' new style represents the change the franchise needed after several terrible seasons in New Jersey.
Which rivalry is the best?
It's easy to tell that the Yankees and Mets are not the best rivalry in New York any longer. The three aforementioned matchups are all much more appealing for the fans and offer a ton more excitement.
Don't get me wrong—I'm going to watch all of the games between the Yankees and Mets. That's partly because I watch nearly all Yankees games, and partly because I also watch nearly all New York sports matchups.
As a fan, it's hard to say you can't watch inter-city rivalries. It's the perfect time to flex your respective team's muscles and show the opposition who runs the city.
If there were two such games on, though, and one of them was the Yankees vs. Mets, I'd probably choose the other game to watch. I watch sports for excitement, and the Yankees-Mets have lacked that recently.