The Root of Who you Root For: New York’s Classic Sports Rivalries

This is my second installment for the blog I write for, The Next Great Generation — as originally posted here.

Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders. The New York area has nine professional teams in four professional sports. (Eleven, if you count the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.) As a New Yorker (yes, it is where my birth certificate was issued), how am I supposed to root for three hockey teams, and two football, baseball and basketball (if I followed the NBA) teams? Given our plethora of options, we don’t just root for the home team, we root for our team. Personally, I bleed blue (Giants, Rangers, Yankees — and I would have to pick the Knicks, even though I’m not a big NBA fan).

While some of the rivalries are rather civil, like the Knicks and Nets, the rivalries between the Yankees and Mets (aka the Subway Series rivalry) and the Giants and Jets (they do share the same home stadium) can become much more heated — these rivalries even extend beyond the fans, into the players on the teams.

But even with the hometown rivalries, New Yorkers have greater rivals to the north — that’s right, up in Beantown. Since New York’s teams are not in the same divisions (the Yankees in the AL and Mets in the NL, the Giants in the NFL and the Jets in the AFL), we have bigger rivals in neighboring cities with our divisional rivals. AskMen.com rates the Yankee-Sox rivalry in the Top Five Sports Rivalries.

In 1918, the Red Sox won the World Series and in 1920, Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees  — the Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004. This “trade” became the root of the most intense, most publicized and longest-standing rivalries in the MLB. “1918” and “Yankees suck” chants are only the tip of the iceberg here — just check out YouTube and you will see the fights and brawls that have been caught on tape. Just think of the infamous time Pedro threw Zimmer to the ground. A word to the wise: if you are a Boston fan, don’t come to Yankee Stadium in Sox gear just for kicks.

Just as baseball rivalries exist in NY, so do football rivalries. Giants and Jets fans battle constantly for bragging rights — the rivalry is like that of a little kid trying to step into some rather big shoes (until this year, Jets home games were played at Giants Stadium). With only 16 regular season games, the two see most of their field time against each other in the pre-season — and this year brought along extra rivalry-fueled decisions, most of which were solved by the flip of a coin. Yet again, New York has a battle between the underdog and the well established team. And our underdog here has their divisional rival to the northeast as well, the New England Patriots.

Regardless of if it’s a New York-New York rivalry or a New York-Boston rivalry, it really all boils down to fans rooting for their home team. Whether it’s for bragging rights or a battle of the best city in the northeast, die-hard fans will always root for the home team (if you’re smart you root for the better, “all-American” team). At least with our intra-NY rivalries, the joking and teasing between fans tends to stay superficial and less people get harmed.
For a true, die-hard fan, who you root for defines who you are. It’s not just a game. It’s a lifestyle.

Mary came to visit!

So today I didn’t exactly “travel”. My friend Mary flew out from Denver to visit for a week. Mary and I met while studying abroad in Ireland, details of that adventure can be found here. I spent last night on Long Island at my grandma’s house so I would be closed to JFK to get Mary since she flew in on the red eye. So I picked Mary up and we drove back to CT so she could shower and drop her stuff off at my house.

After that I took Mary on a mini drive through Ridgefield, I mean, what could I really show her besides Main Street? We grabbed breakfast at Steve’s then got coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts before heading to Goldens Bridge to get the train to the city. We spent all morning catching up, which wasn’t too much since we’ve kept in pretty good contact since we’ve been home from Ireland.

The first thing we did in the city was to go down to Wall Street. Mary’s in finance and it made me excited that she wanted to see the financial district (tell tale sign that I’m growing up? I think so). So we saw the NYSE, Trinity Church (commonly known as being the church from National Treasure), the Wall Street bull (which is actually at Bowling Green), Battery Park and Ground Zero. It was weird being at Ground Zero, especially since its in a state of disarray and in my opinion it looked more like something when there was still a pile of debris there, not a construction site that we have sitting there.

We then ventured a walk uptown to SoHo and were fortunate to beat the rain to our location. it started to drizzle a few blocks from where we were headed and we walked into SoHo Park maybe 30 seconds before it began to downpour. SoHo Park is a great little burger joint that is so reasonably priced; I suggest you all try it someday if you ever need a burger in the area.

Then we headed to midtown and took a walk down 5th Ave. we saw the Empire State building and I showed Mary where I work. After our little walk, we headed to Grand Central to take the subway up to the new Yankee Stadium. We were going to the game with another friend from Ireland, Tim, his girlfriend and some of their friends from home. We first went over to Billy’s before the game started and I must say, I rather liked the bar. It’s a great place for drinks near the stadium. Unfortunately the Yankees did lose on Thursday, but I had a good time nonetheless.

Not only was it my first time at the new stadium, but it was my first time taking the train home from the stadium. I was a bit skeptical of how well the whole system would work since I’m not on the Hudson line, but it was really easy and I have definitely found my new way to get to and from the stadium.