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December 04, 2013

What Happened To New York Sports?


As I was sitting on my couch Sunday watching the Jets lose their third straight game 23-3 to the Miami Dolphins, I tried to think of last time I was confident in any New York sports team. I'm not just talking about ones I root for, I mean any of them, on any given night.

I can probably find some mid-summer Yankees game against the White Sox, but that's about it. New York professional sports are at an all-time low, and we may be years away from seeing drastic improvement.

The Knicks and the Nets won a combined seven games in November. The two teams have two of the three worst records in a very mediocre Eastern Conference. Additionally, if both teams continue to play as poorly as they have at the start the season, the future is even bleaker.

The Nets have a bunch of rapidly aging stars, and in the deal with the Celtics last summer gave up first round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The Knicks could lose their only star, Carmelo Anthony, who has hinted he plans to become a free agent next summer.

The baseball scene has a slightly better outlook, but not by much. Granted, some of this depends on what happens in the remaining three months of the offseason. But, the Mets have stated that they will not spend big money on any free agents. Their ace, Matt Harvey, who took the city by storm last summer, is out for one year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. At this point the Mets current direction for 2014 doesn't appear to be much different than 2013.

The Yankees are coming off their second missed postseason in the past six years. They've lost Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte to retirement, and are still heavily reliant on aging stars such as Derek Jeter, C.C. Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano and potentially Alex Rodriguez. Their signing of Brian McCann was much needed at a position that was a weakness last season. But, the starting rotation has multiple holes.

Elsewhere, it's assumed that Robinson Cano will eventually return, but until he does, it leaves a big hole in the lineup. In a loaded AL East, the Yankees are no guarantee to be playing next October.

The Giants and Jets aren't mathematically eliminated. But, any unbiased observer would agree that both teams' seasons are lost. The Jets don't know who their quarterback of the future is. This was evident after Matt Simms played the entire second half Sunday against the Dolphins. Also, they will need to get a plethora of playmakers in the offseason to drastically improve the offense. Meantime, the Giants could use upgrades on both offensive and defensive lines, along with the running game. The good news for both teams: the NFL has so much parity that every team will have a chance next year.

To cap things off, the local hockey scene is, at best, mediocre. As of Sunday, the Rangers were the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Devils and Islanders were on the outside looking in on the playoff race. The season is still young, but if none of the three locals make the postseason, it shouldn't shock anyone.

Adding insult to injury, New York sports fans are getting very little bang for their buck. The Knicks and Giants have the most expensive tickets in their respective sport. While the Rangers and Nets are in the top 10 of ticket prices. It's a dismal time to be a New York sports fan, and there are no obvious signs of improvement in the near future.

Pete is a lifelong Montauk resident and former sports talk host at 88.7FM WEER. He's currently a Sports Anchor at WCBS 880 and WFAN radio in NYC. He can be reached via email at peterfmundo@gmail.com.

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