The last time the Big Apple experienced a major sports surge was during the mid-to-late ‘90s and early aughts. The New York Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Giants and Rangers were all championship contenders. The ’94 Knicks and Rangers had the city talking “title town,” when both Madison Square Garden tenants reached the final rounds of their respective sport. The Knicks fell to the Houston Rockets in six games and the Rangers went on to be crowned Stanley Cup champions. The Knicks reached the Finals again in ’99 but were eliminated again by them Texas boys– this time it was the San Antonio Spurs. The following year, in 2000, the Yankees three-peated as World Series Champions defeating their Subway Series rivals, the Mets, in five games to claim their 26th title. And that same year, the Giants rode a seven-game win streak to Super Bowl XXXV, but only to concede the title to the Baltimore Ravens.
Since then New York Sports teams have had their share of bad luck. Fortunately, for New Yorkers the tough breaks already looks to be a thing of the past, with the Giants claiming their second Super Bowl title in the last three years in February and the Rangers seated as the top-team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Despite the New York Knicks being bounced by the Miami Heat in the first-round of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, basketball is back in a major way in the Empire State. The Knicks have a promising starting lineup with Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin– that will be competitive for years to come. The borough Brooklyn will welcome the Nets and the New York Islanders to the fresh-mint Barclays Center on Atlantic avenue, that will sure ignite a thrilling subway series with the tenants of MSG. There is no ceiling for how high the Brooklyn Nets can reach. With a new arena and fan base, the days of being the cellar-dwellers of the NBA are over. Basketball is back in the borough that has produced and nurtured so many stars.
On the gridiron, the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants aren’t the only team celebrating down Broadway. Broadway Tebow has arrived in the Big Apple and the New York Jets, can’t wait to unleash him in their wildcat offense with QB Mark Sanchez at the helm. With Eli Manning and Victor Cruz leading the way for the G-Men, the tandem of Sanchez and Tim Tebow are poised to make things interesting in the city. Next season, could we see a MetLife Stadium co-tenant Super Bowl?
New York is a city that demands winning and the Yankees are the winningest sports franchise in the city. Although, the Bronx Bombers are off to a slow start this season –with the great Marino Rivera sidelined for the year– the good sign is Yankees captain Derek Jeter is leading the majors in batting at .420 and in hits with 50. With Jeter batting well, the rest of the Yanks slugger’s bats (Robinson Cano, A-Rod, Teixeira) will awaken in time for a summer surge.
Serving as motivation is the Yanks cross-town rivals the Mets. Winners of five straight, the Mets are starting to resemble the “amazin’s” of old. After completing the sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, the Mets are now five games over .500 for the first time in two years and are ranked third in the National league East and steadily climbing. With a roster of youth, gritty players the “amazin” Mets appear to be back, but let’s see if they have enough to snatch a wild-card spot come September.
New Yorkers are poised for another sports resurgence.