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It was better when New York teams hated one another

Rob Manfred says he is “confident” the Yankees and the Mets haven’t engaged in the old-time baseball game of collusion when it comes to Aaron Judge, and maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t.

Maybe the Mets are simply looking for other ways to distribute some of Steve Cohen’s petty cash and maybe that makes Hal Steinbrenner confident the spare millions stuck in the cushions of Cohen’s living room couch won’t be shaken to make for an all-out bidding war.

Either way, the feeling is the same. As Charlie Brown said: “Sigh.”

Even if there is nothing nefarious going on between Cohen and Steinbrenner, it has been made abundantly clear that the two of them aren’t likely to engage in anything resembling a Hatfield/McCoy feud. In truth, as cozy as their professional relationship seems to be by all accounts, you could see them being text buddies.

Steve C: Good luck w/AJdge.

Hal S: Thx. Same w JDG.

Steve C: Did u c “Yellowstone” premiere Sun?

Hal S: Yes. That Beth is going 2 go 2 far 1 of these days.

Steve C: IKR!?

The cozy relationship between Hal Steinbrenner's Yankees and Steve Cohen's Mets makes Post columnist Mike Vaccaro long for the days when New York teams despised each other.
The cozy relationship between Hal Steinbrenner’s Yankees and Steve Cohen’s Mets makes Post columnist Mike Vaccaro long for the days when New York teams despised each other.
Photo Illustration: Jen Cozzolino

Yes, we are very much thigh-deep in an Era of Good Feeling in New York. Where is the hate? Where is the antagonism? Time was, owning a team in our town not only made you a somebody, it made you somebody who automatically detested the guy who owned the other team in your sport. Whatever happened to that?

The Giants and Jets are business partners, of all unlikely things, co-owning MetLife Stadium, which has actually even helped unify their fans because Jets fans and Giants fans equally dislike that building, especially when they look longingly at the new football palaces in LA and Vegas — and even that infernal JerryWorld, outside Dallas — and wonder: Why couldn’t we have something like that.

There were some genuine hard feelings between the Knicks and the Nets back when Mikhail Prokhorov owned the Nets, capped by those Jay-Z ads planted across the street from Madison Square Garden that drove James Dolan positively batty with rage.

Now that was fun.

But that was more than 12 years ago.

Where has all the hate gone?

Hell, even the most vicious trace evidence of our time-was intramural mudslinging is a little tired. Rangers fans may still enjoy reminding Denis Potvin that he isn’t particularly welcome at the Garden and it’s still kind of funny. But Potvin has been retired for 34 years. ]He last played for the Islanders when Johnny Hates Jazz and Pet Shop Boys lived atop the Billboard charts. It’s been awhile.

Seriously. Where is our next John J. McGraw? Muggsy was so incensed at the mere notion of the Yankees he kicked them out of the Polo Grounds — all the way out of Manhattan, in fact — and took great satisfaction exiling them up in the farmland of the South Bronx.

“I’m afraid we’ll never hear from them again,” he joked when those eviction papers were served. And when that proved to be a bit mistaken, and the Yankees started to outdraw the Giants, McGraw out of spite ordered construction to his Coogan’s Bluff stadium so fans couldn’t see Yankee Stadium looming on the other side of the Harlem River.

Years later, in 1934, when Bill Terry managed the Giants, he famously quipped (exclusively, of course, to The New York Evening Post): “Is Brooklyn still in the league?” when asked if his defending champs worried about their allegedly heated rivals. Nine months later, tied atop the NL with the Cardinals, the Giants lost their last two games of the season to the Dodgers — at home, no less.

On the eve of that series Dodgers president Judge McKeever shook his cane and said, with respect to Terry: “We’ll make him eat those words!”

Manager Casey Stengel added, “Yes, and if it chokes him, that will be all right, too!”

Seriously. Isn’t that better? Isn’t that more fun?

Wasn’t it fantastic when just saying the word “Jets” in Wellington Mara’s company would redden Mara’s cheeks and ignite his eyes, a visceral disgust that spread to his players?

“We were staying in the same hotel once, and we wanted to get a card game going,” the late Don Maynard, the Jets’ Hall of Fame receiver (and an ex-Giant), recalled a few years ago, “and the Giants wouldn’t sit at the same card table with us.”

Those were the days. These days? Everyone plays, and everyone plays nice, and nobody seems to even mildly dislike anyone anymore, much less loathe them.

“Sigh.”

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