For sports teams in New York, the competition is always more than just within the division. The Yankees compete with the Mets, the Giants with the Jets, the Knicks with the Nets, and the Rangers with the Islanders and Devils, for attention and fan interest within the city, for ticket sales, for TV ratings, and for headlines in The Times, The Post, and the Daily News. For this reason, the Yankees and Mets are not afforded the luxury of being able to rebuild slowly through their farm system like the Red Sox or Phillies might. At least for the Yankees, they have produced results, winning the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009, and winning the American League Pennant in 2001 and 2003 as well. Since the Mets’ improbable (and devastating for Red Sox fans) World Series victory in 1986, they have only won the National League Pennant once… when they lost to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series.
Both teams have used the method of signing expensive free agents to bolster their rosters, but while the Yankees brought in guys like Jason Giambi, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira, the Mets have overpaid for the likes of Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, and Johan Santana. The Yankees are in danger of missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1995, while the Mets are have not made the playoffs since 2006, when they choked the National League Championship Series away against the eventual World Series winning St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets’ ownership group ran into financial trouble after losing money to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and they lost good players like 2011 National League Batting Champion Jose Reyes to free agency. It looked like things would be turning around for the Mets, not for this season, but for the future, with the emergence of starting pitcher Matt Harvey.
Harvey was awesome this season. The 24 year old righty started the All-Star Game for the National League, which the Mets hosted. He’s been a bright spot for a mediocre Mets team, and with the circus going on in the Bronx all season, it gave people hope that the Mets might be better than the Yankees going forward while the Yanks continue to be weighed down by expensive contracts for aging and injury prone players. Then Harvey hurt his elbow this past week.
Harvey has an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his throwing elbow. It has yet to be determined whether or not he will undergo Tommy John Surgery to reconstruct his elbow, which would put him out for the entire 2014 season, but it’s bad news no matter what. The Tommy John Surgery might make him a stronger thrower, but there’s always risk in a procedure like that. This is just business as usual for the Bad Luck Mets. Just when they have a legitimate young start to build around, he suffers a devastating injury.