As a New York sports fan, my favorite time of the year has begun.
From now until mid to late October — depending on a few hits and pitches — my attention becomes divided between Yankees baseball and Jets football, with sprinklings of college games here and there. In past years, my focus remains on the Yankees’ magic number, potential playoff match-ups and who will make the postseason roster, all the while glancing over to see the Jets lose a few games in September and stumble through an early regular season.
This year has been much different. The Jets have had all the drama of a reality television show (thanks “Hard Knocks”), and between Rex Ryan’s locker room language and the Darrelle Revis holdout forcing me to question the game’s integrity, it has been hard to pull away.
There really hasn’t been much to jaw about in the Bronx anyway. With its expanded roster, the Yankees have stayed .500 in September with not much more than its jayvee squad and continue to mosey along, holding the best record in baseball close to its pinstriped chest. Things are beginning to pick up however, with an important home stand versus the Rays and Red Sox, which should more or less solidify the AL East for good, starting on Monday.
But I won’t be watching Yankees-Rays on Monday. I’ll be glued to the Jets opener on Monday Night football where the team will officially christen New
Meadowlands Stadium against the Ravens, who may be the frontrunners for a Super Bowl berth already.
My dilemma is clear. In my lifetime of serious sports obsession (circa 1999), the Yankees and Jets have never been projected to be this good at the same time. I have never had to seriously choose. Thank baseball that playoff games are generally no longer played during the day, otherwise my brain might split in two. After perusing the Jets’ schedule, I can see one potential conflict. Gang Green hosts the Vikings on Monday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 p.m. I pray that no Yankees playoff game is scheduled for that day lest I wear out the “last” button on my remote.
At this point, it would be reasonable to question my Yankees fandom, considering that I am giving playoff baseball and regular season football the same portion on my sports plate. In reality, if a Yankees playoff game is close, only fire or intense viral illness will pull me away from the screen. On the other hand, if the Yankees game is dragging, or a blowout either way, I may switch over to CBS and check to make sure Mark Sanchez is still in one piece.
Either way, I am more than excited to see how this fall plays out on both fronts. Each team will be playing hard-fought games as the leaves turn and fans dig out wrinkled sweatshirts, and I am looking forward to each step. It is a great time to be a New York sports fan … until around January. Good luck, Amar’e.
Bobby Olivier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.