Our long national nightmare is over. Well, maybe not, but at least it’s baseball season.
With Opening Day around the corner, one question must be answered: Which New York team do New Yorkers love the most, the Mets or Yankees?
The answer: Yes.
A preseason poll released Friday found that the Mets held a slight edge over their crosstown rivals in the hearts of New York City baseball fans. The poll by Quinnipiac University showed 45 percent of city dwellers surveyed favor the Mets, while 43 percent prefer the Yankees.
But statewide, it was a very different story.
The Bronx Bombers are by far the most popular team, with 48 percent devoted to the Yankees compared to 34 percent who cheer for the Amazins, according to the survey.
But it wasn’t just about which team is the tops in New York. The poll also revealed, or confirmed for most fans, that interest in baseball has slipped among New Yorkers over the past five years.
Quinnipiac found that just 17 percent of New York state residents who were polled said they were “very interested” in baseball, compared to 20 percent who answered a similar survey in 2012. This year, 26 percent said they were “somewhat interested” compared to 32 percent five years ago, and 57 percent responded they were “not interested” in baseball, compared to 47 percent in 2012.
The poll was conducted between March 23 and 27, and surveyed more than 1,600 adults in New York state. Some New Yorkers, alas, are fans of teams from other cities, and said so in the poll.
Other interesting findings to come out of the survey include:
* Upstate New York baseball fans overwhelmingly prefer the Yankees, 54 percent compared to 14 percent for the Mets.
* Suburbanites also cheer harder for the Yanks than the Mets, but by a narrower margin: 49 percent compared to 44 percent.
*Statewide, 5 percent of fans surveyed said the Boston Red Sox are their favorite team.
*With the Chicago Cubs the reigning World Champs, it’s not surprising that 3 percent of fans statewide aligned with the Cubbies.
The Yankees begin the year first, traveling to Tampa to play the Rays on Sunday, at 1:10 p.m. The Yankees have revamped their team, stocking it with some young talent, including Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.
The Mets start the season at home on Monday, against the Atlanta Braves, at 1:10 p.m. The Mets, who already have a stable of solid starting pitchers like Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, are the favorites to win more games in 2017 of the two New York teams.
But, hey, you never know. That’s why they play the games.
And with that, let’s play ball!