There is a “Battle of the Boroughs” when one borough challenges another borough in a competition. “Battle of the Boroughs” usually refers to a competition with at least one of the teams officially using a borough name. Baseball “battles of the boroughs” have been between the borough of Manhattan (New York Giants, New York Yankees) or the borough of the Bronx (New York Yankees) playing against the borough of Brooklyn (Brooklyn Dodgers). Staten Island has not had a major league professional sports team, although Staten Island has a minor league baseball team. “Battle of the Boroughs” has been cited in print since at least May 1919, when baseball’s New York Giants defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The baseball “Battles of the Boroughs” occurred infrequently because inter-league play was not allowed for many years. A “Battle of the Boroughs” can be said to occur when the New York Yankees (Bronx) play the New York Mets (Queens), but neither team has a borough name, with both using “New York.” When the Yankees play the Mets, it’s usually called a “subway series,” whether it’s a weekend series of games or a World Series.
Basketball’s Brooklyn Nets began with the 20012-13 season. A November 26, 2012 basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks was dubbed the first “Battle of the Boroughs” by the local media.
30 May 1919, New York (NY) Tribune, pg. 8, col. 1:
Giants Triumph Over Dodgers
By William O. McGeehan
The Battle of the Boroughs, waged by the Giants and the Dodgers, almost ended in one justifiable homicide and a couple of murders at the Polo Grounds yesterday.
New York (NY) Times
GIANTS ARE VICTORS OVER ROBINS, 12-5; Take Tenth Game Out of Twelve Played With Brooklyn Team This Season.
24 June 1924
The once bitter battle of the boroughs has dissolved into a rout. The Giants, who for years have held only one side of the East River, are now in full control on both banks. They completed the subjection of the Brooklyn side yesterday when they defeated the Robins in their own stronghold, 12 to 5.
Nets Beat Knicks In OT To Win First Battle Of The Boroughs
By Derek Evers in News on November 26, 2012 10:22 PM
Forty-eight minutes wasn’t enough to settle the score between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, as the new rivalry lived up to its Battle of the Boroughs billing before a raucous crowd at the Barclays Center. The game ended regulation in an 84-84 tie, before the Nets took the first meeting—and city bragging rights—beating the Knicks 96-89.
Washington (DC) Post
Knicks, Nets: Battle of the boroughs goes to Brooklyn
Posted by Cindy Boren on November 27, 2012 at 9:27 am
The Rivalry — a k a, the Battle of the Boroughs — is off and running, a little late because of Hurricane Sandy.
Originally set for Nov. 1 in the new Barclays Center, the rescheduled game between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets had plenty of panache, with politicos and football players and stars in the stands.
Battle Of The Boroughs II: Will The Knicks Have Their Revenge On The Nets?
By Ben Yakas in News on December 11, 2012 1:15 PM
In the inaugural “Battle of the Boroughs” game last month, the Brooklyn Nets came away with a decisive overtime victory over the Knicks.
Battle Of The Boroughs IV: Can The Nets Even The Season Series?
By Ben Yakas in News on January 21, 2013 11:17 AM
So far, New York has been treated to three compelling, competitive games between the Knicks and Nets, who are battling for the top of the Atlantic Division. The Knicks have a 2-1 season series lead coming into this afternoon’s fourth and final “Battle Of The Boroughs” showdown (or as we like to think of it, “Battle Of The Boroughs: Zoso").