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Friday Water Cooler: Hating the Big Apple

(Photo Credit: Time)

Spike Lee, probably the most famous New York area sports fan, seems to will willing to hang out with a graduate of Fordham, even if it is Denzel Washington, probably the most famous graduate of Rose Hill since the Seven Blocks of Granite.

But unless you're one of my five readers from New York City - or have some sort of linkage back there - doesn't this picture make you want to heave? Two showbiz guys, battling over their wish to root for two of the richest sports franchises in sports history? To pretend to be regular people? It couldn't be any more phony if it were Ben Affleck and Jimmy Fallon doing the ribbing at a Celtics game. (Well, OK. Maybe that is a bit worse then Spike and Denzel.)

But it's scenes like this, though, that make me hate the Big Apple. And all their sports teams. (Yes, including the New York Liberty.) How do I hate them? Let me count the ways. (more)

Top Ten Reasons To Hate New York City's Teams
10. A-Roid.
Call him A-Roid, Stray-Rod, A-Hole (note: all headlines that the New York Post has run about the Yankee Third baseman) or whatever you will, can there be a current sports figure that can make Alex Rodriguez such a strong run as a less likeable ballplayer than Barry Bonds or Albert Belle? Can we agree that he makes Gary Sheffield look like a real humantiarian? Can we at least agree he's the least likeable infielder? Argue if you will that Ty Cobb was a racist and that Roberto Alomar was a more despicable human being, (ironically, another ballplayer who "made it here"), but I think, objectively, between cheating on his wife, taking steroids and that "sissy swipe" he took to try to knock the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's mitt in the ALCS (and then claiming that he was railroaded afterwards) - he's got to be in a class of his own.

A-Roid could only be loved in New York.

9. If it's October, It Must Be the Mets... No, Yankees! No, Giants! No, Knicks! The Big Apple has more professional sports teams within its radius, which encompasses three states, than any other American metropolitan area. As a result of having so much to gorge upon, no New York sports fan can realistically go through any sort of sadness, or loathing, about their teams since they just jump from championship-caliber team to championship-caliber team. (Though jumping to the Knicks truly does betray a level of desperation.) If the perennial, 27 World-Championship Yankees weren't enough for you, you could be a fan of the two-time World Champion Mets, the three-time Super Bowl Champion Giants, the one-time Super Bowl Champion New York Jets, the NHL's Rangers (1994), or even the NHL's Islanders (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983). For New York, a "championship drought" is the gap between the 2000 "Subway Series" (won by the Yankees, of course) and the 2007 "miracle Giant" Super Bowl win.

Ask Kansas City fans how they feel about that.

8. Teresa Witherspoon. I don't know why I hate this Louisiana Tech star, an all-star in women's basketball who "happened" to be installed on the team in the largest TV market and who nearly allowed the Liberty to buy win a WNBA championship. But I do, I guess.

7. If There's a Washed-Up Soccer Superstar that Can't Bring It Anymore, He May Be a Red Bull. What to Lothar Matthaus, Youri Djorkaeff, Dave van den Bergh and Thierry Henry have in common? All have been installed - at great bending of the rules by MLS - in the New York area-MLS team in a desperate effort to have the Metrostars Red Bulls compete for the MLS Cup. The latest flame-out, Henry, has scored a whopping 2 goals in 10 games in MLS.

Just think if the other, better run teams in MLS had those rules bent for them. They could take on Manchester United.

6. Giants and Jets Are the Pride Of.... East Rutherford. In New York and Los Angeles, they want their cake (the sports teams) and eat it too (but keep those venues, and taxes, in cities far away from our urban core). But the Giants and Jets - who aren't even in the same state as New York City - really take the cake, especially as they play in the same sports complex that gives us the New Jersey Devils, the only professional sports franchise without a verifiable fan base. They should be called the New Jersey Giants and New Jersey Jets. Just because. (And maybe they should play in a stadium named after governor Chris Christie, too.)

5. What Have the Knicks Done For Anybody Lately? The Knicks, somehow, lay a claim to NBA royalty thanks to their 1970 championship and their remarkable run of almost-success behind Patrick Ewing. Putting them in the same pantheon as Michael Jordan's Bulls teams or even the greatest team to ever play in the NBA, the 1989 Detroit Pistons, would be completely laughable to almost everyone - unless you play in the top media market in the world. Then, somehow, the Knicks become downright respectable. What a joke.

4. Or the Rangers? Ever since they borrowed Mark Messier from the Edmonton Oilers to give the hapless Rangers a Stanley Cup, why are they here? To give WFAN something to talk about in between November and spring training?

3. Derek Jeter. Like every other baseball fan, I've often wished that we had Derek Jeter on our team. But as this fantastic web page shows, there are plenty of reasons to hate him as a Yankee. My favorite:

The shot list during a typical Fox playoff broadcast:

Jeter close-up
Star of brand-new-soon-to-be-cancelled-Fox series
Billy Crystal

Note: does not necessarily have to be a Yankees playoff game.

2. The Ultimate New York Bandwagon Team, the St. John's Redmen. Seemingly invisible all season until the NCAA tournament rolls around, in March New York goes all Lou Carnasecca on us with sweater references and talks of their "great NCAA history" get rolled out as Big Apple fans pretend that this basketball-only member of the Big East - who has the good fortune to play in Madison Square Garden with the Knicks - is anything but a footnote in college basketball history. When was the last time they were truly relevant, when Chris Mullin was there?

1. Rudy Guilliani. As a politician, he's been an interesting guy - mayor of New York, presidential candidate, hero of 9/11. But as a sports fan straddling all the different teams during the Yankees' hegemony, he was absolutely disgusting. Always highly visible down the third base line during the games, and a man who calls himself the "Yankee Fan-In-Chief", he's had everybody from family members to Sarah Palin join him in his "luxury box", pretending to be a man of the people as he eats some specialty foods cooked up by April Bloomfield. (After the photo op, Palin predictably left in the sixth inning.)

There you have it. I made this list with shocking ease. (If only my other "Friday Water Coolers" were this easy to put together.)


This weekend at Goodman features a couple of specials. With your Lehigh ticket stub, you can get discounted tickets for Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circus, which will be appearing at Stabler Arena Sunday and Monday.

See you there!


Anonymous said…
Don't know about Denzel being the most famous Fordham grad since the Seven Blocks of Granite, but many of your other points are well-taken.
Anonymous said…
Chuck - I hope our blogger - reader relationship doesn't get too impacted by this! I wonder what city holds your loyalty? Could it be Philadelphia, the city where the most famous sports hero is a fictional character? :-)

Oh - and the NJ Devils haven't played at the Meadowlands for several years. They now have their own arena - where they do sell out regularly now, especially with Parise and Kovalchuk expected to be there for many years.
Anonymous said…
I didn't know Wilt Chamberlain, Joe frazier and others were fictional characters
Anonymous said…
Correction. Denzel grauated from FU's College at Lincoln Center, not from Rose Hill.
Anonymous said…
WFAN listeners talk baseball 12 months a year without regard to anything else. Any New Yorkers who get po'ed by Chuck's comments remember he is writing from the Lehigh Valley, then bask in your cultural wealth, untroubled but those less fortunate. The hubris is endless...
Anonymous said… flattering New York, while welcome, is a favorite tactic of a critic looking for Gotham's soft-underbelly. You were not craven enough at the beginning, Chuck.

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