(YES’ Michael Kay, receiving zero credit below for the Yankees’ ratings success)

There’s “a new wrinkle for both the Mets and Yankees” writes the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, surmising one unintended benefit of Citi Field and the Nu Stadium is that fans wary of being gouged by the Wilpons and Steinbrenners are opting to watch baseball from the comfort of their own homes.

The first-half ratings for the Yankees, who appear to be headed in the right direction, and the Mets, who don’t, prove more eyeballs are at the tube in ’09 than they were in ’08. Both the Yankees, on the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and the Mets, on SNY, set first-half ratings records.

On YES, the Bombers averaged a 4.6 rating, up over 2% from the 4.5 registered during the first half of ’08. On SNY, the Mets averaged a 3.2, up 14% from the 2.8 recorded during the first half of ’08.

Considering the inconsistent, inept, unwatchable baseball they have played, made even more dismal by injuries to marquee players Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, the Mets’ rating is stunning.

You want to attribute it to Gary Cohen’s food reviews of Citi Field eateries, or the new ballpark itself? Go ahead. If you want to say the increase may also reflect a first half in ’08 that featured ratings killers, which included 22 late starting times (16 West Coast games and six in Colorado) and six mid-week day games, well, that’s cool too.

Still, the toxic economy cannot be discounted. Not even for the Yankees, a team often portrayed as a bottomless money pit. There are patches of empty seats in the new Stadium, too. Where are those fans, who once filled every seat across the street, watching these games? Only on YES.

The Yankees own about 30% of YES and the Mets own 70% of SNY. Get it? The the economy has also produced a cannibalization effect. Those who once could afford tickets now watch the games on TV.

For better or worse, both teams have got you – coming or going.