Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Can the Yankees end New York's sports championship drought?

Aaron Judge of the Yankees dumps champagne on

Aaron Judge of the Yankees dumps champagne on teammate Giancarlo Stanton as they celebfrate in the clubhouse after defeating the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 22, 2018. Credit: Jim McIsaac

I hate to bother Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and their pals at a time like this, when they presumably are putting on their game faces in the bathroom mirror or banging out sets of biceps curls or whatever they do to prepare for big games.

But just for the record, gentlemen, keep in mind this message, which I deliver on behalf of New York-area sports fans, talk radio hosts and newspaper editors in charge of writing backpage headlines: Win!

I say this not as a Yankees partisan, because cranky old sportswriters do not root for teams, we root for ourselves. And in this case it is obvious what is in everyone’s best interests. Yes, even you, Mets fans.

Because if the Yankees do not defeat the Athletics in the American League wild-card game in the Bronx on Wednesday night, all of us face a bleak, barren vista that stretches all the way to, well, Opening Day 2019.

The Giants and Jets have combined to win two games, the same number as the Jaguars have won against the Giants and Jets. One has a quarterback that is too old, the other a quarterback that is too young.

The Knicks and Rangers are in rebuilding mode, and executives from both teams openly and repeatedly have admitted as much. For the foreseeable future, we can’t even watch Kristaps Porzingis develop amid the losses.

The Nets presumably still are rebuilding, too. It’s difficult to keep track. The Islanders lost their best player, John Tavares, in free agency.

The Devils reportedly could be pretty good, but there are so many rivers between Long Island and there, who really knows?

We already are in the longest drought between New York-area championships in the four major North American team sports since 1905-21, and if the Yankees do not win the World Series there is no end in sight.

The last time someone won it all around here – that includes Major League Soccer and the WNBA – was the Giants’ victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. There are people old enough to follow sports now who were not born then.

We are raising a generation of cynical, bitter first-graders.

Anyway, back to the Yankees. Will they beat the A’s? They should.

They won 100 games! They hit more home runs – especially at Yankee Stadium. They have starting pitchers who pitch for several innings, unlike what Oakland might try to pull off in the wild-card game.

And if they survive the A’s, they could well do what they did last year and go on a run, with the first steps being a delicious division series against the Red Sox.

The only good thing about a Yankees loss for fans of the other local teams would be the Giants or Jets signing Judge to play tight end the rest of the season.

Again: This is not only about Yankees fans rooting for their team. The rest of us have a stake in this, too.

Even if you hate the Bombers, you will hate it even more when you wake up on Friday without a chance to root against them in Boston that night.

So do this for everyone, Aaron and Giancarlo. It’s your civic duty.

If that is not enough motivation, consider this: Wednesday is my birthday. Don’t make me wait until the next one to cover another local playoff game.

New York Sports