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.
1982 was the year the wheels came off for the New York Yankees. Following a string of eight straight seasons of .500 or better which included four pennants and two World Championships, the Yankees lost more than half of their games and did not make it back to the post-season until 1996. This was the longest such period in Yankee history since they acquired Babe Ruth from the Red Sox. 2010 may turn out to be the year the wheels finally come off for the Red Sox.