Which New York team will bring the next champion trophy to Gotham
To the dismay of New York sports fans, no New York professional team has hoisted a championship trophy and been celebrated with a ticker-tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes in more than a decade. Who will be next?
Yankees superstar Aaron Judge will receive the keys to New York City from Mayor Eric Adams in a City Hall ceremony in the near future. That’s good after his AL-record 62-hour streak last year helped him earn the Most Valuable Player award. But where are the rest of his colleagues?
But in 2009, the entire Yankees team had their own keys because the team made the World Series.
But lately? Sure, the Mets rolled through 2015 and made it to the World Series, before losing in five games. The Rangers flirted with the Stanley Cup on a couple of occasions. The Nets talked a good game and were loaded with superstars before injuries, infighting and vaccine mandates derailed them last year.
So which local franchise will next reward us with a championship and a parade in the Canyon of Heroes? The Yankees? The Mets? Freedom? The Rangers? The Nets? The Jets (just kidding: I threw in the pitiful Jets to make sure you were still paying attention).
So which team has the best chance of winning it all?
I’m picking the Mets: Sure, they lost Carlos Correa, who returned to the Twins after the Mets didn’t like anything about his repaired ankle. But Steve Cohen’s team won 101 games in 2022 before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs, the Mets are arguably stronger this year. It’s hard to bet against the combination of Justin Verlander, coming off his AL Cy Young season in Houston, and Max Scherzer, who is the best big-game pitcher of his time. Jacob who? They also added Japanese superstar pitcher Kodai Senga. And then he locked up closer Edwin Diaz.
And for the rest of the professional franchises that call NY home? The Nets had a 12-game winning streak snapped recently, but with Kevin Durant out for at least two weeks with another knee injury, it’s hard to see them duplicating that in the short term. If Durant is healthy for a playoff run, maybe he could go on a run. But they still haven’t convinced me.
The Rangers came close last season and arguably are a better team this year. The problem is that the Boston Bruins have been amazing. If Adam Fox, a local star from Jericho, New York, can put his stamp on the team like Brian Leetch did, the Rangers could give Boston a tough series.
The Yankees: The Yankees have a lot to prove this season. The team managed to re-sign their Mr. Everything, Aaron Judge (and Anthony Rizzo, remember Mr. Everything Else?). They’ve improved their sketchy pitching staff. And with the departure of Cy Yong winner Justin Verlander from Houston, the American League could be more open than it has been in years. If the Yankees make it all the way to the World Series for the first time since the franchise won it all in 2009, the Bronx faithful will rejoice. But if the Yankees keep losing, to the hated Mets in a metro series, the emotion Yankees fans will feel all winter will be despair.
The Giants aren’t that far off. Once they install some talented wide receivers for quarterback Daniel Jones, the Giants could be scary. The team added solid pass rushers and the offensive line somehow pulled it together. Add to that mix a healthy Saquon Barkley at running back and you have the makings of a good team, if not a great team. The team will gain valuable post-season experience, an entry point into next year’s campaign. Don’t sleep on the G-Men during the 2023 season.
The great thing about being a sports fan is that you know anything can happen.
Miracles can happen. To quote Tug McGraw, whose 73 Mets nearly won it all, you have to believe it.
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