“Take me out to the ball game!” In recent years, when a New York area resident felt this call, the most common destination to fulfill the urge was the Bronx and Yankee Stadium to see the ever-winning Bronx Bombers. Today, the most exciting field of play is not in the Bronx, but rather Queens and Citi Field.
For those whose blood runs royal blue and orange, there maybe be some lingering nostalgia for old Shea, but for all baseball fans, Citi Field is an attractive, fan-friendly new ball park, and even more, The Mets who are playing there today are a young, exciting, scrappy, fun, and yes, winning ball club.
Last weekend, The new Mets, in their homey ball park, put on a show to rival anything seen in Major League baseball these days. Not only did they take three straight from the National League’s top hitting team, the Cardinals, but they did so in spectacular fashion. The crowd abandoned their roomy seats and stood for three games, as Johan Santana hurled the first no-hitter in Mets history Friday night; Dickey’s knuckleball shut-out the Cardinals on Saturday; and Jonathan Niese pitched another seven innings of shut-out ball on Sunday. At the same time, the Mets’ bats were ripping the cover off the ball. It was a great weekend if you were lucky enough to have tickets for the Mets at Citi Field.
So, when your entertainment desire is exciting baseball, hop on the 7 train or set that GPS, destination: Flushing, Queens, Citi Field and The New York Mets.
For tickets: www.mets.com
“James Dievler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an American Studies PhD. and published scholarly and creative writer. His links can be found at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/
New York City, the greatest city in the world, has played host to some of the greatest moments in the history of sports. Leading the pack is the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees, whose interlocking NY emblem is recognized worldwide. Madison Square Garden, referred to as the mecca of basketball and coined as the world’s most famous arena, holds a countless number of sporting events each year.
Sports are not only alive and well in New York City, but they are thriving. Residents of the five boroughs and surrounding areas are lucky enough to have so many local teams and sporting events right in their backyard. Tickets for games and events aren’t always easy to find and are rarely cheap, but everyone should experience a sporting event in New York.
The revival of the Knicks has made it hard to purchase tickets. Tickets to see the new-look Knicks are at high demand. The addition of superstar Amar’e Stoudemire has the words “the Knicks are back” on the tip of the tongues of New York basketball fans. New York City is a basketball town and there is nothing better than when the Knicks are doing well. Madison Square Garden hasn’t been lit up like it has at times this year for quite a while. It is a true revival for a franchise that fell on some dark times over the last decade.
New York’s two baseball teams, the Yankees and Mets, both opened up brand new parks in 2009. The Yankees, with its storied and gloried history, christened its new building with a World Series Championship. But ticket prices for both teams, especially in sections surrounding the infield, are sky-high. The good thing is, however, that if you want to get into either stadium, the new Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, for the experience and don’t mind where you sit or against whom the team plays, you can still get tickets for under $20 each directly from Ticketmaster or the team’s official website.
My tip is to buy Yankees or Mets printable tickets from secondary ticket markets, such as StubHub, on the day of the game. With Major League Baseball teams having 81 home games each, the most number of home games among the four major sports, unsold tickets are usually marked down quite a bit on the day of the game due to the seller wanting to get any amount of money for the tickets rather than seeing them go to waste for nothing in return. For instance, I followed the price of tickets in the bleachers for a Yankee-Red Sox game in 2009 and saw the ticket price drop to half the initial asking price on the day of the game. The tickets were still over face value, but not nearly as much as they were weeks before the event.
The Giants and Jets, New York teams at heart who play in New Jersey (about 10 miles from NYC), opened a new stadium together in 2010. To help pay for the New Meadowlands Stadium, both organizations charged its fans PSLs (Personal Seat License). The Giants charge a PSL for every seat in the building while the Jets charge for all seats except for those in the upper deck. As an example, the Jets’ PSLs range between $2,500 and $30,000 per seat depending on where the seat is located in the stadium. Multiply a number in that range by four seats and whoa. Remember, fans still have to pay for each individual game on top of the PSL (ranging from $120 to $700 per ticket per game). Luckily, fans can pay for their PSLs over a period of 5 or 15 years. This all means that buying tickets to a single game can become pricey. You will most likely have to spend well over face value, but the action at a Giants or Jets game is worth the price of admission.
The Rangers, who share a home with the Knicks, have rocked The Garden just as loud as or louder than their counterparts. Who doesn’t remember Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup over his head in 1994? The Islanders, Long Island’s lone professional sports team, may not be having much success in recent years, but they have a rich history. Tickets to both New York’s NHL teams aren’t too hard to get, especially the Islanders who run some great specials to get fans in the stands at Nassau Coliseum.
The fun doesn’t stop at the four major sports, though. New York City hosts other sporting events such as the US Open, Belmont Stakes and NCAA Big East Tournament, just to name a few.
The US Open, held at Arthur Ashe Stadium which neighbors the Mets’ Citi Field, gets packed with over 22,000 tennis fans each day during a two-week span in August and September. Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, is held at Belmont Park in Queens during the early part of June. If a horse has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, tickets to see that horse try to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 can be very hard to find. Lastly, the NCAA Big East Tournament, held at Madison Square Garden each year, is always a tough ticket to come by. Big East basketball is the best in the nation and when you have teams like Syracuse, Connecticut, Villanova, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and hometown St. John’s competing in a tournament at MSG, sparks will fly and instant classics will be made.
The history of sports in New York City is rich and plentiful. An epic moment can happen at any time on the world’s biggest and brightest stage. Will you be there to witness it?
Rich Santonocito writes the sports blog Empire Sports Now, a New York sports blog that covers the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Belmont Stakes and other New York sports, events and rumors.
One of the wonderful things about being a New Yorker besides the best pastrami, pizza and most refreshing drink ever concocted, is that we have multiple teams to root for in every major sport. But in order to be a TRUE NY SPORTS FAN, you must pick one team per sport. If one roots for the NY Mets, you can’t root for the NY Yankees. It’s ideologically impossible. It’s like being an atheist who enjoys going to church services or being a fan of both Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh, it’s just not possible.
Some non-sports fans have a hard time grasping this way of sporting life. In 2009 two teams I despise the NY Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies met in the World Series. This was a test by the Baseball Gods of the resolve of Mets fans (the tribe I belong to) as to how much pain and suffering we can endure. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked who I was rooting for in that World Series, I would have enough money to buy out Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo’s contracts and a minority share of the Mets. When my answer was “no one, I’m rooting for the ground at Yankee Stadium to open up during game one and swallow both teams and their fans so they are never heard from again” it was met with shock! Yes I was serious.
New York baseball has the most intense fan rivalry. The only other sport that comes close is hockey although the intensity is not as fierce as it was twenty to twenty five years ago when the New York Islanders went from expansion punching bags to Stanley Cup champions at the expense of the established New York Rangers. When the Islanders fell on hard times another hockey team crept into the NY area from Colorado (by way of Kansas City) and settled in the swaps of Secaucus New Jersey and called themselves Devils. While all three teams have won Stanley Cups while calling the area home, the team that’s won the least championships is the team that is the King of the Rink in NYC and that’s the New York Rangers. NY hockey fans are the most loyal of all NY sports fans. I have yet to meet someone who calls himself a fan of all three teams. The NY Rangers have been playing hockey in NYC for eighty-five years and have THE most loyal fan base of any NY sports team. The Islanders fan base grew during the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s when they captured four Stanley Cups. The rivalry between the NY Rangers and NY Islanders is the most hotly contested and nasty of any rivalry in all of sports. Yankees-Red Sox are church picnics compared to Rangers-Isles. To this day during every NY Ranger home game at MSG the screams of POTVIN SUCKS! Ring out as retaliation of the Isles defenseman dirty hit from behind on Ranger star Ulf Nilsson that caused Nillson’s ankle to break. This happened on February 25th 1979 and has not and never will be forgotten by Rangers fans (disclaimer: I am a loyal NY Ranger fan who held season tickets in the Blue Seats for 15 years until the section I sat in 432 was renovated for luxury boxes. Instead of moving to the Green Seats, one section down I just bought tickets on game to game basis as I still do now) ever. As for the NJ Devils, I’ve seen a scattering of folks in Devils attire around the tri-state area but in the city itself they are as scarce as a hearing country music from a speaker outside a South Bronx bodega.
When it comes to a violent game like pro football, there are not two sets of fans who co-exist better than NY Giants and NY Jets fans. As a fan of the Giants, I hold no animosity against the NY Jets or their fans. I think it’s the fact that the teams only play each other in a meaningless exhibition game every August and only play for real once every four years due to residing in two different conferences. Even as my Giants folded up down the stretch of this past NFL season and the Jets were a game away from the Super Bowl, I didn’t feel the anger I do when the Yankees win, just indifference. Both fan bases are loyal with the Giants base being a bit older and more subdued whereas the Jets fans are much more raucous.
As for basketball in this metropolis, the NY Knicks are tops but once the Nets lose that New Jersey next to their name and replace it with BROOKLYN, the rivalry could heat up. In fact after baseball, the second big time sport in this town is basketball -The City Game. There is hardly anyone who grew up in the five boroughs of NYC who hasn’t played the game. The Knicks have not won an NBA title since 1973 but during the 90’s they were one of the elite teams in the league held back from winning a title or two due to legendary Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls dynasty. Even when the Knicks hit hard times, they still sell out Madison Square Garden and show solid TV ratings as well.
If I were to rank the teams in NYC by popularity, loyalty and passion it would look like this:
NJ Devils, NJ Nets
I chose the Rangers first because I feel their fan base fits all three criteria’s, especially the loyalty and passion part. They kind of drag a bit on the popularity especially with the baseball and football teams but I think the Rangers fan base is bigger than most folks especially the sports media in this city gives it credit for. The one team that ranks with the Rangers on the passion scale are the Mets however on the loyalty scale the Mets fan comes up short of the Rangers fan. The Giants and Jets could have been in either position but my being a Giants fan broke the tie. The Knick fan has the potential to leap over the football teams especially if they make a playoff run. The Yankees fan is the biggest front running fan and the team that folks who are not born and bred New Yorkers claim as their team of choice. So that hurt them in two areas, loyalty and passion. As badly run as the Islanders are and the fact they play in the worst venue in the state, I have to give their fans points for loyalty and passion. The two Jersey teams finished last, well, because they play in New Jersey.
So, pick a side NY sports fans; are you a Met or a Yankee? A Jet or a Giant? A Ranger ,Islander or Devil? A Knick or a Net? You have to pick one side of the fence to stand on. Straddlers will not be tolerated.