If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve heard Commissioner Don Garber’s latest comments about NY2 … and I’d be willing to bet that you probably hated them.
While scouring my timeline during Garber’s press conference, I came across tweet after tweet bashing the commissioner and coming to the defense of our beloved Red Bulls. In one night, Garber managed to seem more enamored with a team that does not yet exist than he ever has with the Metro Bulls. As the quotes came pouring in, so too did the uproar. But I think the statement that put most Red Bull fans over the edge was the one that graces the front of MLS’ Facebook page today…
The nerve! The audacity!
And while I initially got on the Garber-hate train, his quote got me thinking….
As one of five RBNY fans to actually hail from New York, I feel as if I bring a bit of a different perspective to the ‘Great Debate.’ To all those who say there already is a team in New York, I simply ask …
Perhaps the more important question here is “what makes a team a ‘New York team.” Is it simply the namesake of the team? The location of the stadium? Where the fan base resides? If we truly take a deeper look, it appears that the Red Bulls are New York in name only. It’s quite obvious that a large majority of Red Bulls fans are from New Jersey, and Harrison is … well … Harrison … so what New York ties do the Red Bulls have aside from their name? Unlike the Jets and Giants who currently play in New Jersey, the Red Bulls have never called New York home and have never truly connected with the New York fan base.
So maybe Garber is right. Maybe we do need a team in NYC for MLS to succeed. A league such as MLS that is still quite young could only benefit from placing a team in “the largest and most important city in the world.” Then again, one could argue that the NFL has no team in Los Angeles or New York City, and they seem to be doing just fine. Fair points, but hardly comparable situations. The NFL is an established powerhouse that brings in more money than any other sport. As the most popular sport in America, it doesn’t need to be bolstered by support from a market as large as L.A. As for a team in New York, the Giants and Jets franchises have both called NYC home and their fan bases are a loyal and strong bunch.
Change is scary, I get that. I was initially blinded by my hate for any and all things NY2. But it’s time to face the facts – NY2 IS happening. There’s nothing me, you, or anyone else can do to change that. Perhaps the time is now to embrace this change. If you ask me, Don Garber is an evil genius. He’s already made you hate NY2 more than you can imagine, and this new rivalry will only make both of these teams better and create a great atmosphere for soccer in the NY/NJ area.
Will the introduction of the Queens-based team relegate the Red Bulls to the chasms of oblivion? That depends on your view of the Red Bulls as it currently stands. The team already gets little to no coverage from major media outlets, and most fans get their news from fan-run sites and podcasts. Such is a problem that plagues not only RBNY, but MLS as a whole. Will NY2 usher Red Bulls fans away from Harrison? I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to that, but I tend to doubt it. The fans who have stayed despite 17 years of failure and heartbreak are some of the most loyal around.
Besides, for most Red Bull fans, Red Bull Arena will be a closer commute than crossing the bridge to get to Queens.
At the end of the day, Garber’s actions have made it clear that NY2 will become the poster child for MLS. What will that make of RBNY? I’m not sure anyone knows exactly what will transpire, good or bad, for this franchise. It’s best if we start accepting it now, because the times they are a changing.