Thursday, April 30, 2015

New York Sports

I've been a New York sports fan my whole life.  I have my dad to thank for this.  I don't think his father was as interested in sports (except for professional wrestling), but I'm glad he is.  The Mets and the Giants are his two favorite teams, but he'll also pull for the Jets, the Rangers, the Islanders, the Knicks, and the Nets.  Anybody but the Yankees.  He hates them.  He's an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, so I don't blame him.  The longer I live away from New York, the easier it is for me to like the Yankees because they're usually the only New York team that wins.  They give us what little bragging rights we have.  Let's face it.  It sucks to be a New York sports fan.  Our teams get the most amount of attention and have the highest expectations, but always seem to fail.  And, of course, my two favorite teams are the Mets and the Jets.  The two worst.

Since the NFL draft is tonight, I'll start with the Jets.  There isn't much to say, really.  The best thing about being a Jets fan (since Joe Namath) is that the Giants beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl.  How sad and pathetic is that?  Our biggest thrill in the last 45 years has been watching our crosstown rivals beat our arch-nemesis.  Here I'll say it - draft a fucking quarterback worth a damn!  Mark Sanchez wasn't the answer (although I believe the loudmouth, foot-sniffing Rex Ryan ruined his career), and neither is Geno Smith.  For the love of God, no.  Not Geno.  If Marcus Mariota is available and the Jets pass him up, I'll ... I'll ... I'll do the same thing I do every year.  Pay a million bucks for Sunday Ticket so I can shout and curse at the TV (like my dad taught me) while watching them lose.  After all, we're the team that passed up Dan Marino for Kenny O'Brien.  At least we had the Sack Exchange.  At least we had that.

Then there's the Mets.  They've won the World Series twice.  I was only a few months old the first time, so I can't remember that magical year; however, their great players lasted for a few years (took us back in 1973), and I still remember Tom Seaver's tearful goodbye to the city.

Their '86 team was a different story, however.  I was 17 years-old.  I watched every single game that season.  We lived in Phoenix by then, and my dad installed a gigantic satellite dish in the backyard for the sole purpose of watching New York sports on television.  I'm not talking about one of those dinky dishes you see today in suburbia attached to the roofs of houses like Mickey Mouse ears, either.  I'm talking about fucking NASA satellites, the kind that search for extra-terrestrial life in the universe.

Keith Hernandez was (and will always be) my favorite player.  I can't tell you how excited I was when he appeared on my favorite show, Seinfeld, a few years later.  But we also had (I'll go around the horn with Bob Murphy's voice playing in my head) Wally Backman, Rafael Santana, Ray Knight, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, and Dwight Gooden.  What a lineup!  If I'd managed that team, I would've won several championships.  Davey Johnson - what a worthless piece of shit he was!  Couldn't control his own team.  And damn his fucking platoon system.  I could strike out Tim Teufel right now.

By the way, I feel the same way about the 1990's Atlanta Braves and the worst manager of all-time - Bobby Cox.  Who the hell has Greg Maddux, Tommy Glavine, and John Smoltz on the mound for all those years and walks away with only one ring?  Terrible.  And they weren't even snorting cocaine (that I know of).  At least that gave Davey Johnson some sort of excuse, as pitiful as it may be.

Back to the Mets.  Everybody remembers the Billy Buckner error, as well they should.  But that entire season was pure magic.  Dare I say, amazin'?  You win 108 games in the MLB, and you're doing something special.  No doubt.  But it's been all down hill from there.  Even their most recent 11-game win streak was tough to get jazzed about.  I know they're doomed to fail.  They're losers.  That's what they do best.  Sure, pitching wins championships (they have that), but you need offense to make it to the playoffs (they don't have that).  They'll sputter and cough like the dying engine of my old '79 Nova.  They always do.  That's why it sucks to be their fan.  I can hear my uncle (a huge Boston sports fan, but I still love him) telling me, "Forget the Mets, Tommy.  Forget the Mets."  But I can't.  Loyalty is our most important quality.  I'm an Italian from Brooklyn, after all.  My great-grandmother cooked meals for Al Capone!  What do you expect?

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