“Imagine a world without Yankees,” sneers Newsday‘s resident Met-baiter Wallace Matthews.  “no 26 world championship banners flying in the Bronx, no Monument Park to remind us of all the exalted ghosts who helped hoist the…no Bob Sheppard, no Robert Merrill, no Challenger the Bald Eagle, no Ronan Tynan. No John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. No – heaven forbid! – Derek Jeter….In a world without Yankees, the Mets would have a whole lot more to answer for.”

In a town that prides itself on giving no free rides, the Mets have enjoyed a lifetime Metro card into blissful anonymity for most of their 47-year history.

They build an $800-million ballpark (Troubled Assets Relief Program Field) financed in large part by government subsidies and taxpayer bailout money, and nobody gives a damn because the Yankees did the same thing, only on a bigger scale, in the Bronx.

The Mets raise their highest ticket prices to nearly $300 a seat, which in most locales would be a scandal and an obscenity, and compared to the Yankees, they look like a discount store.

The Mets spend more on ballplayers than all but one other team in Major League Baseball. But because that one team is the Yankees, who outspend their nearest competitor by the value of the entire Colorado Rockies roster, nobody cares.

I would submit that never in the history of organized professional sports has a team benefited so greatly from constantly running second in a two-horse race.

“Nobody cares?”  That’s a hell of a way to talk about Joe Benigno-Gazingo and his loyal listeners.