The few times Mariano Rivera has failed in a big game have been devastating – a feeling almost as bad as the one felt after the Yankees lose three straight games to a bitter rival. Surely, then, a trail of emotionally ruined Yankees fans have been left in the wake of the 0-3 start to their four game stint against the Mets – which included the “Amazin’s” rallying through Rivera for a walk-off win on Tuesday night.
Or maybe, because it’s the Mets, Yankees fans really don’t care.
Maybe the losses hurt in much the same way three losses to the Astros or Royals would hurt. Maybe they think more than proximity is needed to build a rivalry. Maybe they just don’t see the point in getting worked up about it.
They’re not trying to take anything away from the Mets – they recognize that the only correct way to see this series is as a one-sided, vicious, almost embarrassing ass-kicking. They have no problem with Mets fans reveling in the moment. They’re not making excuses. They’re not even trying to say that it doesn’t hurt – it does, anytime a team loses four-straight times it hurts. But they’re just telling this truth: the Mets mean nothing more to them than any other team.
And if I’m telling the truth, I’m one of them. The Mets mean nothing more to me than any other random team.
I’ve tried to find a way to incite for them the same emotion I reserve for other teams, but it’s just not there – the fact that Citi Field and Yankee Stadium are close just isn’t enough. Some would argue that competition and struggle are needed for vitriol to be sparked. And that we don’t have that given the fact that the Mets have been bad for years now . “Why would anyone who isn’t an 85-loss team care about beating an 85-loss team?” they would ask. “Does the hammer have a rivalry with the nail?” they’d phrase it.
And while they may have a case, to me, those people are missing the larger point. At least the hammer and the nail meet each other with some frequency. At least one affects the other. It would be more apt to, keeping the hardware theme, ask whether the bulldozer has a rivalry with the plastic shovel that children bring to the beach. Because while matching abilities alone can build a rivalry, what most are truly built on is consequence. And in different leagues, these two teams are independent of one another. One bears no consequence on the other.
In a 162 game season, what really happens if the Yankees lose to Mets? Is there any real repercussion tied to Wednesday’s 9-4 demolishing at their hands? Year in and year out the Yankees fight the Red Sox for a playoff spot. A loss to the crimson hosers from the northeast’s other city has ramifications beyond another notch in the loss column. But a loss to the Mets carries the same weight as one to the Indians – and I don’t care about the Indians.
I’m not trying to take away from Mets fans. By all means, bask in your warm glow.
But if you’re looking for me to be destroyed the way I would be if the Red Sox won four-straight – if you’re hoping to dance on my grave – I’m sorry, but I’ll have to disappoint. Because the Red Sox I care about beating.
The Mets, well, I nothing the Mets. If I had to be fully truthful, I actually kind of like them a little bit. Blasphemy, I know.
Author: Joe Bianchino
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.