Return to Canyon of Heroes? Why 2024 Yankees could be one to end NY sports' title drought

NEW YORK – The city of Las Vegas officially became a hockey town on Oct. 6, 2017, so you probably have items in a sock drawer older than the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

One year ago Thursday, the Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup.

That anniversary is yet another reminder of how long it has been since a major New York professional sports team paraded up the Canyon of Heroes.

We asked Siri: As of Wednesday, it was 4,509 days ago, when the New York Giants were celebrated by New York City after winning Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012.

The New York Giants have their parade up Broadway, being honored as Super Bowl champions. Co-owner Steve Tisch and Eli Manning celebrate as their float goes up Broadway on Feb. 7, 2012.
The New York Giants have their parade up Broadway, being honored as Super Bowl champions. Co-owner Steve Tisch and Eli Manning celebrate as their float goes up Broadway on Feb. 7, 2012.

That title by Eli Manning and the Giants against Tom Brady’s New England Patriots took one away from Boston.

But Boston has now celebrated six titles in the Hub since New York’s last − three by the Patriots, two by the Red Sox, one by the Bruins − and they’re moving toward a seventh with the Celtics leading the NBA Finals.

Once the exciting playoff runs by the Knicks and Rangers ended this spring, the Associated Press highlighted that New York’s eight major pro teams had gone 100 combined seasons without a championship since the Giants won the Lombardi Trophy.

uMay 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) walks off the floor after losing in game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
uMay 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) walks off the floor after losing in game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

And that drought doesn’t include the New Jersey Devils, who last lifted the Stanley Cup in 2003.

Now, NYCFC were crowned Major League Soccer champions in 2021, but New York hasn’t celebrated a championship in the four major pro sports leagues in over 12 years.

To review, the Jets haven’t won since the ‘60s, the Knicks since the ‘70s, the Mets and Islanders since the ‘80s, the Rangers since the ‘90s, and the Yankees since 2009.

The Nets franchise won two ABA titles in the ‘70s but have never won an NBA title.

This is a lousy return for teams residing in the world’s financial capital, with the Mets and Yankees leading the way.

How Yankees' retired legendary broadcaster John Sterling sees it

Expansion and added rounds of playoffs have placed extra hurdles toward a championship, “and I thought it when the Yankees were winning all those titles,’’ said John Sterling, the retired legendary Yankees’ radio voice who broadcast their championships in 1996, 1998-2000, and 2009.

“It was much tougher than the Yankee teams of way back, because they’d win the pennant and go on to the World Series. Here, you have to win three rounds, which is very tough to do," Sterling said.

Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) celebrates his three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with right fielder Aaron Judge (99) during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Trent Grisham (12) celebrates his three run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with right fielder Aaron Judge (99) during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“And one thing since being retired, I watch every game – every basketball playoff, every hockey playoff and obviously all the baseball games. And it is tough to have your team ready in every round."

Across the New York sports landscape, “the one that’s amazing is the Rangers,’’ said Sterling, who also broadcast Nets and Islanders games during their title years.

The Rangers "have won one Cup in 84 years, and they sell out (Madison Square Garden)."

Tribute: Tip of the cap to John Sterling, a Yankees legend with the most unique storytelling style

Multi-billionaire Mets owner Steve Cohen could see his club miss the 12-team MLB playoff format again despite having the game’s highest payroll ($308.5 million per Spotrac.com).

Can the Yankees finally end this New York title drought?

They have a great shot to be the last team standing in October, entering Wednesday with the AL’s best record, accomplished without the league’s best pitcher in 2023.

Ace right-hander Gerrit Cole could return to the Yankees’ rotation later this month, and his first opponent might be the Baltimore Orioles, the AL team with the best shot at upsetting the Yankees’ 2024 hopes.

May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium.

Incidentally, the Orioles' $101 million payroll is $6 million less than just three Yankees players – Cole, Aaron Judge and Juan Soto.

Meanwhile, it’s been a down year for the Yankees’ biggest October nemesis in the last decade, the Houston Astros, whose incredible run of seven straight AL Championship Series appearances is in jeopardy.

“I would say the Yankees certainly have a chance this year," said Sterling. “I’m not saying they’re going to win… no one knows.

“But the Yankees have a good enough of a team that they have a chance.’’

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Can 2024 Yankees end New York pro sports championship drought?

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