The Mets have crossed the threshold of futility few other franchises even approach. Sure, they aren’t mired in the longest active World Series drought in baseball or hamstrung by owners who can’t afford a large payroll, but the Mets manage to remain cellar-dwellers year after year. They endure the constant insult of playing second fiddle to the Yankees in the biggest media market in the country. Perhaps the biggest indignity is that the Yankees' theme song is sung by smooth crooner Frank Sinatra while the Mets boast the constantly made-fun-of jingle "Meet the Mets."
Are you a sad second-class fan? You're not alone. Here's a look at some other teams who are overshadowed by opponents who share the same city.
Manchester City FC
Manchester City and Manchester United have a complicated history, with United having the upper hand and the lion’s share of the success — Man U has 19 titles in the top flight of English football and 11 FA Cup titles; City has two and five, respectively. But until City gets closer in the title count and the head-to-head record (United has 67 wins to City’s 43), United will be viewed as the first-class team of Manchester.
UCLA football/ USC basketball
As college rivalries go, UCLA and USC are as bitter as it gets. Unfortunately, the two schools are not traditional powers in the same sport. UCLA is the gold standard in college basketball, from a men’s-record 88-game winning streak under John Wooden (1970-74) to an NCAA-record 11 national championships. USC, on the other hand, has made its name on the gridiron with 11 national titles of their own and six Heisman Trophy winners (a seventh by Reggie Bush was subsequently vacated). But when it comes to UCLA football and USC basketball (a combined one split national championship — UCLA in football) ... there isn’t quite as much pride among Bruins and Trojans fans.
This is a classic case of poor versus rich ... literally. Atletico Madrid is backed by the working class of the Spanish capital city. Meanwhile, Real Madrid, supported by the royals, is the richest soccer team in the world. Real has never been relegated from La Liga — Spain’s top league — in its century-plus of existence, winning a record 31 league titles. While playing with fewer resources and a smaller stadium, Atletico has managed some success on the field, winning nine La Liga titles. However, in head-to-head competition, Real has 80 wins to Atletico’s 35.
AFP/Getty ImagesPIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
New York Islanders
If championships are the barometer, this one’s a wash. Both the Islanders and Rangers have four Stanley Cups — the Isles were the last professional team in the US to win four consecutive. But perhaps that is part of the reason for the disparity in the perceptions of the franchises. Take away that early-'80s run and the Islanders' history book doesn’t have many pages to it. The Rangers, on the other hand, are an Original Six franchise. They became somewhat of a lovable loser in the second half of the 1900s, their Cup in 1994 ending a famed 54-year drought and igniting celebrations that spanned far beyond the Big Apple. Then there are the digs. While the Islanders play at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, the Rangers’ home needs only a nickname — The Garden.
New Jersey Nets
The Nets are part of the tri-state area, so their closest NBA competition is the New York Knicks. But in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers, there is no competition. The Nets will have a hard time ever supplanting the Knicks — even after a potential move to Brooklyn — with the franchise’s unimpressive overall record, dismal seasons as of late and losses in their only two Finals appearances. The Knicks have made the Finals eight times, winning twice (1970, 1973).
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are always trying to get away from the Cubs. They're doing their part to hang the title of "Chicago’s Favorite Team" on their mantle, having won the World Series in 2005, and they've brought some entertaining baseball to the city of Chicago. The Sox also claim a very famous fan — President Obama. Despite the efforts, however, they're constantly fighting an uphill battle against the team that holds Chicago’s collective heart — the Cubs. The lovable losers may not have won a World Series since 1908, but they'll forever be the team the city loves most, no matter what the Sox do.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels will always be known as the second Los Angeles baseball team, primarily because the Dodgers literally got there first. The Dodgers arrived in Los Angeles in 1958, whereas the Angels were born in 1961. Of course, there's one other small fact to consider, which is that the Angels actually play 40 miles outside of Los Angeles ... in Anaheim. Oh well, that doesn't deter owner Arturo Moreno from demanding they have the Los Angeles first name. The Angels haev actually had the more successful team over the last 10-20 years, having won their only World Series in 2002 and winning countless AL West titles. However, the Dodgers are one of the best franchises in baseball history, with 18 World Series appearances and six rings, five of them coming during their days in LA, the most recent one in 1988.
New York Jets
The Jets find themselves falling second to another New York football team which is aptly named … the Giants. The Jets have experienced a resurgence in recent years thanks to outspoken head coach Rex Ryan and a few forays into the postseason. Despite two straight AFC Championship Game runs, the fact remains the Jets haven't won a Super Bowl since the famed Joe Namath guarantee in Super Bowl III. Meanwhile, the Giants have three titles, the most recent coming in 2007 when they upset the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
Wake Forest basketball
Asking any college basketball team to compete with Duke and UNC in North Carolina is asking quite a bit. That becomes crystal clear when examining the case of Wake Forest and their college basketball success. Geographically, Wake Forest is in the same vicinity as Duke, but athletically they might as well be on Mars. While Wake Forest is sometimes competitive in the ACC, and have won multiple conference titles, the Demon Deacons have never won an NCAA championship, while North Carolina (5), Duke (4) and N.C. State (2) have combined to win 11.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are commonly known as the perennial losers of the NBA. It doesn’t help that they share the same city — and arena — with one of the two greatest franchises in the sport: the Lakers. The two professional basketball teams in LA demonstrate what life is like at opposite ends of the NBA spectrum. The Clippers are one of the least successful franchises in history, with no playoff appearance ever beyond the second round and a losing overall playoff mark of 20-27. The Lakers, on the other hand, have been to the NBA Finals 32 times with a remarkable 17 championship trophies.