The New York Mets 2013 season is approaching, and although Mets fans have had little to cheer about in the last few years, it appears as though they are (hopefully) headed in the right direction. However, that will not protect Mets’ fans from the scrutiny that comes with rooting for the second best baseball team in their own city. Similarly, fans of the other second teams of New York: the New York Jets, and the Brooklyn Nets also have to deal with the inferiority complex that comes with being a fan of “the other team”.
All three of these teams are considered second-class citizens in New York City. Each has had their chances to overtake their more popular/successful counterpart, but ultimately has not.
The New York Jets had the Lombardi trophy in their hands and the biggest star in the league (Joe Willie Namath) in the late 1960s, and it still was not enough for them to overtake the beloved but struggling New York Giants. The same Giants, that had no playoff appearances between 1964-1980 and no Super Bowls until 1986. Current Jets head coach Rex Ryan came to town vowing to overtake the city. He talked a big game and promised a Super Bowl, only to see the quieter (as a franchise), more successful Giants win a second championship in five years and his Jets become the laughing stock of the league despite some recent success.
The Brooklyn Nets (New Jersey then) saw one of their more prosperous streaks as a franchise in the early 2000s with a MVP-caliber Jason Kidd, and two NBA Finals appearances. Although the Nets ultimately failed to win a championship, the New York Knicks were consistently one of the worst teams in the league at the same time. And yet, Madison Square Garden was consistently sold out, and Continental Airlines was far under capacity, even in the playoffs. However, with the Nets having already bounced back from being one of the worst teams ever just a few years ago, they certainly have the best chance of the three to overtake their cross-borough rival. The issues are that the Knicks are a good team once again, and that the Garden will forever be in Midtown Manhattan and the Barclays Center is still in that other borough.
The Mets, unfortunately, have not had the same luck as many of their best years are often overshadowed by the best franchise in sports, The New York Yankees. Even after the Mets were on top of the world in 1986 and the Yankees were going through a little drought, they never really had a chance to overtake them. As the Yankees have come back to prominence with 5 championships in recent memory, the Mets have fallen back into mediocrity and worse. Not one franchise in sports can touch 27 Championships, and the Mets are no different.
Even though these teams have shown at times that they could be the number one New York team in their sport, it is still unlikely that the Jets, Nets or Mets will ever overtake their more popular counterpart. Despite this fact, there is something very endearing about all three franchises, in particular their fans. I’m not talking the fans that pop out of nowhere when the teams are good, but the fans that never give up on their team, who still have hope after many lost seasons, which have been through so much disappointment but still come back.
Dedicated, Jets, Nets and Mets fans may not have the history or the championships, but they definitely have as much heart as any fan could.