All New York teams could make playoffs except Yankees, Mets

Here is something that New York should not have in common with the rest of the country, but suddenly does: The end of summer is marking the beginning of the sports calendar.

All five of our NBA and NHL teams made the playoffs in the spring for the first time since 1994. The Giants are coming off their first playoff win since the 2011 season. The Jets are the belle of the preseason ball.

That makes seven teams with some degree of relevance starting their seasons between now and late October.

The two we have playing games right now are relevant only for their failings.

New York is now part of the reality that most of the country outside of the Northeast has lived in since the 1980s. Baseball is second fiddle.

Brian Daboll walks the Giants sideline during a preseason game against the Lions.
Brian Daboll is trying to steer the Giants back to the postseason after last season’s breakthrough.
Getty Images

Unlike most of those other places, that is no permanent state of affairs. This is not Tuscaloosa or Dallas, after all.

Come April 2024, this will again feel like a baseball town, no matter what the Knicks or Rangers have done. That’s fine.

Right now, though? We’re headed for what might be the only time in the city’s history that the Yankees and Mets are decidedly ranked eighth and ninth in the hierarchy of New York-area MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams.

As The Post’s Mike Vaccaro opined, football can’t come soon enough.

The Mets' Pete Alonso walks back to the dugout after striking out.
Pete Alonso reacts after striking out in the Mets’ loss to the Braves on Saturday night.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

If the Giants and Jets both reach the playoffs after the Yankees and Mets both miss, 2023 will be the only time ever that every big-four-league New York team makes it except in baseball.

The Yankees sit in last place after dropping two of three in Miami while the Mets remain tenuously in fourth, just half a game ahead of the Nationals, after Sunday night’s 7-6 win let them avoid a humiliating sweep of a four-game set with the Braves.

We’ve never had a year where every baseball team in New York finished in last place, mostly because the Yankees have done so just three times, in 1908, 1912 and 1966.

Josh Bell crosses home plate with the game-tying run in the Marlins' win over the Yankees.
Josh Bell and the Marlins stunned the Yankees and catcher Ben Rortvedt with a five-run rally in the ninth inning for an 8-7 win on Sunday.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

The Yankees are still ostensibly in contention for a wild-card spot, five games back, but no one who’s watched this team all year — and especially on Sunday, when they surrendered five runs in the ninth inning of a stunning 8-7 loss to the Marlins — could make a compelling case that they’ll make that ground up or that they’ll offer anything compelling in the postseason if they do get in.

It is the kind of season that should prompt a harsh self-examination in The Bronx and has already done so in Queens, where the Mets have reset expectations for next season and keep digging their hole in this one deeper.

New York has long been an exception to baseball’s declining relevance nationwide. For the next few months, though, we’ll be right with everyone else.

Josh Hart celebrates during a Knicks playoff win over the Cavaliers.
Josh Hart and the Knicks will look to improve upon last season’s result of winning one playoff round.
Getty Images

The Knicks are energetic, fun and just won a playoff series for the first time in a long time. The Rangers and Devils are bona fide Stanley Cup contenders going into this season. The Nets and Islanders both should fight for playoff spots. (The WNBA’s Liberty, winners of 10 of their past 11 games and a powerhouse at 24-6, deserve mention here.)

The ceilings of the Jets and Giants are a mystery right now, but they’re both a lot higher than last place.

All of those teams look a lot more exciting than a Yankees lineup of over-the-hill sluggers or a Mets team suffering chronic underperformance.

The baseball season can make you forget it, but this is one of the most successful periods the city’s sports teams have had in recent memory. That’s a relative bar for a city that last won a big-four championship in 2011 (apologies to NYCFC), but it counts all the same.

Barclay Goodrow celebrates his goal with Rangers teammates as the Devils' Kevin Bahl skates away.
The Rangers and Devils are favorites to return to the playoffs after last season’s seven-game first-round showdown.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

For the past decade, nearly every local team has endured pronounced patches of misery. But not the Yankees, who almost perennially contend for something. The Mets, meanwhile, are the last team in the city to play for a championship.

The shoe is on the other foot now. Even the Knicks — the Knicks! — look closer to title contention than the Yankees do.

We are well-acquainted with despair. But not like this.

Today’s back page

The back cover of the New York Post on Aug. 14, 2023
New York Post

Read more:

Wander Franco not traveling with Rays as MLB probes allegations of improper relationship with minor

🏈 SCHWARTZ: Giants’ Brian Daboll not about to change emotional coaching style

🏀 Knicks’ Jalen Brunson has perfect shooting night to lift Team USA over Spain … and RJ Barrett drops 31 for Canada

Beard’s weird stalemate

If you are Daryl Morey, what looks like the better choice right now: Trading your mercurial, soon-to-be-34-year-old superstar who played just 58 games last season and whose scoring has dropped off precipitously in the past four years, or hanging on and hoping he doesn’t show up at training camp determined to leave?

Given James Harden’s history once he wants out of a situation, the news from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski late Saturday afternoon that the Sixers plan to bring him back to training camp after abandoning trade talks did count as surprising.

The 76ers' James Harden reacts to a foul called on him.
The 76ers are risking headaches if they bring the disgruntled James Harden to training camp.

If merely it’s a play for trade leverage, well, it’s hard to keep it private when a player has grievances.

Otherwise, the Sixers are putting a lot of faith in someone — as Nets observers will attest, twice over — whose history indicates he will happily prioritize getting to his preferred team at the expense of his current one.

If you’re waking up early …

The overnight portion of the Women’s World Cup is almost over — Tuesday morning’s 4 a.m. semifinal tilt between Spain and Sweden will be the last meaningful match of the competition that requires nocturnal East Coast hours to watch. (If you are shouting about the third-place match, then please, we beg you, get some sleep).

The good news for American viewers is the more compelling semifinal (on paper at least) between Australia and England is at 6 a.m. Wednesday — a semi-accessible hour that will not result in heavy sleep deprivation.

Australia players celebrate after winning a penalty-kick shootout against France to reach the 2023 World Cup semifinals.
Sam Kerr (middle) and Australia celebrates after prevailing in a penalty-kick shootout to reach Wednesday morning’s World Cup semifinal against England.

Having already provided the tournament’s best moment so far in its heart-palpitating shootout win over France, Australia looks in strong position to advance to the final on home soil with England star Lauren James suspended.

Sam Kerr, whose calf injury has dominated headlines in the host nation, played a tournament-high 65 minutes against France and could be in line to play a full 90 in the semifinal.

If Australia can win the whole thing, it likely would be the biggest sporting achievement in the history of the country, where the current No. 1 is generally considered to be either a 1983 America’s Cup victory over the U.S., one of five Cricket World Cup wins or one of two Rugby World Cup wins.

Australia, by the way, did beat England in the 2021 Olympics.

The scenes in Sydney’s Stadium Australia might be worth an hour or two of lost sleep.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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