With increased success comes increased expectations, especially in the world of sports. This is even truer in the world of New York sports, as evidenced by a new Siena College Research poll out this week.
As baseball season begins this week, 45 percent of New Yorkers think the Yankees are more likely to make the playoffs this year compared to 35 percent who say the Mets are more likely to be playing in October. Compared to last year, this represents a drop in confidence for the Yanks and a 17-percent jump for the Amazins.
“Ninety wins and a trip to the World Series has changed a lot of minds. Last year by over three to one, New Yorkers predicted Yankee rather than Met success. Today … Mets have nearly doubled their believers overall and are seen as more likely to make the playoffs among those that call themselves sports fans,” said Don Levy, director of the Siena Poll.
In just the past eight years, the number of people in New York who describe themselves as sports fans has dropped dramatically — from 63 percent in February 2008 to 53 percent this month.
This drop off could be attributed to lack of recent success among New York sports teams. No New York team has won a championship since the football Giants in the 2011-2012 season, and the Rangers and Mets are the only teams to have come close since then.
In 2008, the Giants were fresh off a Super Bowl win, the Yankees and Mets were both competitive, and the Rangers and Devils had a playoff series against one another.
Baseball has long been considered America’s pastime, but if you ask New York sports fans, there may be a changing of the guard. The March 2008 Siena poll showed that 39 percent of people considered a baseball team to be their favorite New York sports team, with 27 and 12 percent for the Yankees and Mets respectively.
In the same poll, New York football teams combined for 15 percent of that same vote.
In the eight years since, there has been almost a complete overhaul, as 26 percent of people now identify a New York-area football team as their favorite sports team, with12 percent for the Giants, 8 percent for the Bills, and 6 percent for the Jets.
The Yankees and Mets now have 22 and 13 percent of the same poll that they once dominated, and the numbers are continuing to trend in the wrong direction for baseball teams.
“Is baseball still the national pastime? Only one in five New York adults name baseball as their favorite sport while a quarter prefer football and 18 percent say basketball,” Levy said.
The inconsistency of New York sports teams may be affecting fans’ expectations. The only consistent New York sports team of recent memory has been the Rangers, who have reached the playoffs 10 of the last 11 years, including reaching the Eastern Conference Final three out of the past four years and one Stanley Cup Final appearance.