I grew up a Mets fans surrounded by Yankees fans. But since my childhood was in the 1980s, those Yankee fans weren’t nearly as loud about the greatness of their franchise at that time. Fast-forward to the 1990s and Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Joe Torre. Mix in a dash of unfulfilled promise, like the hope/hype of Generation K, and you get the foundation for a fan base convinced that the glass is half-empty.
The 1998 Yankees were wire-to-wire World Series Champions. They did trade for Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch and signed David Cone and David Wells. But the core of the team – Jeter, Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera – were acquired via either the amateur draft or amateur free agents.
They had the second-highest payroll in the league behind Baltimore, who finished fourth with 79 wins. Meanwhile the Amazin’s, who had the eighth-highest payroll, finished second in the NL East and missed the lone wild-card spot by two games.
The amateur acquisitions on that roster include Rey Ordonez, Edgardo Alfonzo and Butch Huskey. The core of that team – Mike Piazza, John Olerud, Al Leiter, Rick Reed, Brian McRae – all were free agents and/or traded for.
The point: It was a team that wasn’t built to last.
Fast forward nearly 20 years to today. The Yankees are still near the top of the payroll list, but the Mets are somewhere in the middle. Last year, small-market cities like Milwaukee, Colorado and Cincinnati all started with higher payrolls…
But please remind me who the defending National League champions are?
Read the entire article on Mets Merized Online.