Despite their four pennants and two World Series victories, the Mets have embraced the lovable loser narrative. This is a difficult thing to define; and clearly Mets fans to prefer their team to win, but the existence of this narrative, even though its relationship to reality is more tenuous, gives the Mets a more forgiving environment than some teams. This dynamic is, of course, exacerbated, by the more successful, wealthier and, according to most Mets fans, arrogant, team that plays in the Bronx. The Yankees are a great foil for the Mets. The Mets can explain away failure by saying they can never compete with the more wealthy and ruthless Yankees, but can also cultivate a following as New York's kindler and gentler team.
The bigger problem facing the Hall of Fame is that due to the backlog on the ballot, as well as the increased numbers of team, players and thus, eligible candidates, the players from the 1990s and later will be severely underrepresented over time. Finding a way for one of these players to get in will only make the lack of players from the 1990s and later more striking. If Parker gets into the Hall of Fame only a few years after getting rejected by the voters, the cases for more recent corner outfielders like Lance Berkman, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Vladimir Guerrero and others who were better hitters, but with shorter careers like Bobby Abreu and Brian Giles will be much stronger. Similarly, the logic of letting Garvey in, while, as is likely to happen, keeping John Olerud, Jason Giambi and Fred McGriff out, is tough to follow. Garvey or Dave Parker would not be the worst Hall of Fame selections, but perhaps the most puzzling.
Abreu is the kind of player who will be easily forgotten by most fans. His post-season footprint was not large for a player in the wild card era who amassed well over 9,000 regular season plate appearances. He underperformed in black ink and awards voting; and had a personality that rarely drew a great deal of attention. However, he was also a player with both an unusual skill set and career path who managed to put up numbers that would not look out of place in Cooperstown.
In general, the powerful Yankee offense has contributed to a narrative about the Yankees that misses a lot. It is almost as if their extraordinary home run power is treated by the analysts on Fox and TBS as prima facie evidence that the Yankees do not play fundamentally strong baseball. This is supposed to be the strength, according to this paradigm, of the faster and scrappier Twins and Angels. Of course, during both series, so far at least, it is the Yankees that have made fewer mistakes, and particularly fewer mental mistakes.
The Yankees are a great franchise, the most successful in baseball history. They not only have the ability, but also the willingness, to spend money to put a strong team on the field. However, Yankee management has developed some very bad habits over the last few years. It doesn’t look like the next generation of Steinbrenners is any more patient than the first generation was. Moreover, they are already repeating some of their father’s mistakes. It is worth noting that the Yankees’ longest period without a pennant, since Babe Ruth joined the team in 1920, was 1982-1995 and occurred entirely during the elder Steinbrenner’s tenure, when the team was managed much how it is today. I don’t think any Yankee fan wants to go back to that, but this is the direction the franchise is going unless management’s thinking changes.