The New York sports market is one of the most unique, peculiar ones in all of professional sports.
While big cities like Boston or Philadelphia can only boast four major sports teams, the New York City-area boasts nine teams in the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL.
Obviously, the chances of having successful teams are higher, especially when juggernauts like the Yankees are in the conversation. But the odds of mediocrity and at times, dysfunction, are just as great.
We’ve seen plenty of that over the past year with disappointing campaigns from the Giants, Jets, Mets, Islanders, Rangers, Knicks and Nets. That’s a whole lot of bad in 365 days.
Among that septet of misery, there is a pair that could very well be two of the poorest-run franchises in North American sports.
And it all comes down to ownership.
Knicks owner James Dolan has often drawn the ire of fans over the past two decades since taking over in 1999.
While his team improbably made the NBA Finals that year, Dolan’s decision-making has continuously limited the team’s chances of attaining any sort of success.
Whether it’s been the hiring of Isiah Thomas, Allan Houston’s exorbitant contract (though injuries played their part), the carousel of head coaches or the end of Phil Jackson’s regime, things haven’t necessarily worked out for the Knicks.
One must remember though that Dolan is at the helm of the Rangers, who have been one of the more successful teams in the NHL’s Eastern Conference over the last decade.
Yet there is another ownership group in the Big Apple that is deserving of just as much scrutiny, if not more. That’s the Wilpon family of father Fred and son Jeff, who are tasked with running the Mets.
This is a franchise that isn’t deserving of having “New York” in front of its name due to the fact that it’s run like a small-market organization from Pittsburgh or Tampa.
After being rocked by the Bernie Madoff scandal, the Mets have been nothing short of cheap over the past decade as they’ve shied away from big stars that would make the team relevant. The ones that they do take a chance on are either busts or riddled by injuries due to inept management and staff members on their payroll.
While the world basically crumbles around the Mets for yet another year (and it’s only June), there is no accountability from the Wilpons. Instead, they act like children being kept from an ice cream sundae because they acted out at the restaurant.
Just remember what Fred Wilpon was reported to have said after the Yankees signed Giancarlo Stanton (h/t New York Post) this winter:
“‘Fred is pissed every time the Yankees make a move,’ said a person who speaks to Wilpon regarding baseball matters. ‘And he always seems surprised.’”
You can’t be angry because the Yankees can navigate the market better than anyone. They have the means, the success, the exposure to get anyone they want. If they don’t, they get the next best thing.
If every team in the majors had the means, they’d be doing the same thing, too. Instead, Mets and MLB fans are relegated to feelings of overwhelming jealousy.
It’s clear that the Mets owners have the same feeling, too. Especially after a Subway Series this past weekend in which the Mets were outclassed in just about every way by their crosstown rivals.
It’s not like they’re going to do anything about it, either. Instead, they’ll just continue to blame the players or bad breaks while fans spend money to fill the seats at Citi Field while ripping their hair out.