I would like to preface this article by saying that the chances of this happening are pretty much non-existent. That said, I’m a big fan of baseball history and having grown up in New York City, I wish that I could’ve been around for when the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants were around.
Now comes my crazy idea…. what if the owners of the New York Mets traded franchises with the owners of the San Francisco Giants? The franchises become the New York Giants and the San Francisco Seals. They already have stadiums and this wouldn’t affect the divisional structure. However, why would they do this? It would actually benefit both sides.
New York City is basically a one team city. The New York Mets are not more popular than the New York Yankees anywhere in the city, not even next to their own stadium. Worse for the Mets, the Yankees won far mor championships and pennants; preceded them in the city; have a storied history with such legends as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Derek Jeter and even beat them the only time the the two teams faced each other in the World Series. The New York Mets won 2 championships and 5 pennants. Those 2 championships include a World Series that is famous for an unbelievable error that cost their opponents the World Series. Had Bill Buckner been able to simply pick up the slowly rolling ball and step on first base, Boston would’ve won that World Series 4-2 and the Mets would’ve only won 1 championship, back in 1969. Bottom line is it’s a very one-sided rivalry.
The New York Giants were around before the New York Yankees, won 5 championships and 17 pennants. They also beat the New York Yankees twice in the World Series, as well as were in New York City first. There’s also that player you may have heard of… Willie Mays and arguably the greatest catch in World Series history:
Photo courtesy of MLB.com.
The Mets even pay homage to the Giants with their logo. The San Francisco incarnation of the Giants didn’t win any World Series for decades, in fact from their debut season of 1958 until 2010. It’s 2010 that changes things, until that year the Giants were largely unsuccessful in San Francisco, but after their 2010-2014 run, it’s hard to imagine them being replaced by a team that has never won the World Series in San Francisco.
There is however another argument… the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams have never won a Super Bowl before moving to St. Louis and winning a Super Bowl there. They’re now back in Los Angeles and St. Louis didn’t even get a replacement team. Despite the Super Bowl win, they were seen as a Team with too much of a history in Los Angeles. The same is true for the Giants. Willie Mays played for both incarnations of the team, but “The Catch” and his only World Series win happened in New York. The New York Giants also have John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, the three straight pennants in 1911-1913, the four straight pennants in 1921-1924 and Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round The World”. What do the San Francisco Giants have? Their recent dynasty and Barry Bonds’s tainted home run record. The Giants are simply more important to New York than San Francisco and more important to New York than the Mets.
We can even get crazier and see if they can’t do this compromise: the San Francisco Seals keep all of the pennants and championships of the San Francisco Giants and the New York Giants only keep their accomplishments. There’s precedent to this, as when the NFL’s Cleveland Browns moves to Baltimore, they didn’t keep their history and were treated as an expansion team now known as the Baltimore Ravens. The actual expansion Cleveland Browns team was treated as if they were simply reinstated after a break with a new roster. The same happened in the NBA when the Charlotte Hornets and the Seattle SuperSonics moved.
The New York Mets will always be “that other New York team”, while the New York Giants have a legacy and can use it to boost their popularity. The San Francisco Giants have too many roots in New York, but the Mets can start over to an extent in San Francisco.
What do you think of my “crazy” idea?
Let me know on Twitter @NeilfromNYC and in the comments.