MACLANE: New York sports enterprises have Golden Age on horizon
Opinions Column: Conservative Hot Corner
New York sports has experienced somewhat of a down period since the Yankees domination in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, New York has only witnessed three championships — although two of which were spectacular upsets by the Giants — and a few teams, particularly the Jets, Nets (the Nets are Brooklyn now so they count as New York), Knicks and Mets have just been wholly uncompetitive.
The Knicks have been almost completely uncompetitive since their miraculous run to the NBA championship as the eighth seed in 1999. The Carmelo Anthony years had plenty left to be desired as the team only won one playoff series since in that seven-year era.
The Nets were competitive during the Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd years but that team could not beat the Lakers in the finals and eventually crumbled as the Big Three slowly left New Jersey.
The Jets had two great runs to the AFC championship game but fell short both times. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010 although they finished 10-6 in 2015.
The Mets had an exciting run to the 2006 National League Championship Series (NLCS) but fell short when Carlos Beltran was fooled by Adam Wainwright’s nasty curveball in the bottom of the ninth of game seven. The following two seasons, Mets fans had to endure two of the worst collapses in sports history as the team blew incredible division leads toward the end of the year both years.
The Yankees and the Giants are the only reliable New York teams since they are the only two New York franchises that have championships since then. The last three years, however, have seen an uptick in New York sports success and some hope for fans of the future. New York teams have been reinvigorated with a youth by almost every team. This youth movement began with the Mets in 2015 with the rise of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Michael Conforto. This new young core was an exciting team to watch and brought the Mets to their first World Series since 2000. They also helped the Mets reach consecutive playoff berths for only the second time in franchise history. The Mets just had a down year because of injuries but they should be back competing next year again.
The Knicks' choice to draft Kristaps Porzingis and move on from Carmelo Anthony has allowed Porzingis to flourish in the lead role — in fact, Porzingis just won Eastern Conference player of the week. For the first time in five years, the Knicks are finally exciting to watch with a young core that could potentially compete for a playoff spot. Finally, Knicks fans have hope for the future as another star player along with the continual development of Frank Ntilikina and Kristaps Porzingis will have this team developing into a force in the Eastern Conference in just a couple of years.
The Nets have been the poster child of poor management – although the Knicks have not been doing much better – the past several years. The misguided trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry suffocated the team of young talent in recent years. However, the hiring of Sean Marks away from the Spurs marked a major cultural change within the organization. Marks main move so far has been to bring in D’Angelo Russell who has played fantastic so far in this young season and gives Nets fan hope for the future.
The biggest surprise so far in New York sports is the success of the Jets. Many young players for the Jets have taken surprising steps in their development as players like Robby Anderson, Darron Lee and Jamal Adams are developing into good NFL players. Many experts were picking the Jets to go 0-16 but so far the Jets are 4-5 and have been competitive in pretty much every game except against the Oakland Raiders.
The Yankees, as much as I hate to admit it as a Mets fan, are not only the most exciting team in New York right now but also one of the most exciting teams in all sports. The surprising rise of players like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez propelled the Yankees to a surprise run to The American League Championship Series (ALCS) where they took the soon to be World Series champions to seven games. The Yankees are going to be a force in the MLB with this core for the next five to 10 years.
The Giants are literally the only team in New York right now that is not exciting due to their major underperformance and completely dysfunctional atmosphere. Key players are getting consistently suspended — Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — and Ben McAdoo has seemingly lost the locker room.
New York is on the horizon of a golden age in sports. Every team should be competing or their respective championships either next year or in coming years but almost every team has a reason to be hopeful. In fact, I think there’s a chance we could see a rematch of the 2000 World Series next year between the Mets and the Yankees — if the Mets can get and stay healthy.
Daniel MacLane is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. His column, "Conservative Hot Corner," runs on alternate Wednesdays.