Why has God turned His (or Her) back on New York City sports fans?
Think about it. All we’d need for confirmation of a divine thumbs-down is to witness a Biblical plague of frogs descending on our hometown football fields, baseball stadiums, or basketball hardwoods.
Let me review: The Yankees missed the playoffs for the second straight season and face a highly challenging 2015. The Mets haven’t made the postseason since 2006. Enough said there, though, as always, hope abounds in Flushing because of the team’s stout starting pitching.
The Jets and Giants just completed sub-.500 campaigns and missed the playoffs (again).
Playoffs? Playoffs? Playoffs? Don’t even kid with a serious Knicks fan about it. That team is well on its way to contending for the single worst one-year record in National Basketball Association history, in year one of the Phil Jackson Era at Madison Square Garden, no less.
Only the New York Rangers give the town any hope at all.
The Islanders? Please. They play in another area code, for heaven’s sake.
Yes, the Nets are a legitimate New York City team, but I wouldn’t bet on that squad winning a title any time soon.
Let’s think big picture about this string of disasters. What did we do to rankle the Sports Gods, anyhow?
Yeah, Yankees fans like to yell, “Boston Sucks!” in honor of our hatred for the Boston Red Sox. Sure, Rangers fans loyally chant “Potvin Sucks!” at every home game, in honor of Denis Potvin, because he once checked Rangers star Ulf Nilsson hard (probably a dirty play) into the boards at MSG on Feb. 25, 1979. I was there (Rangers fans don’t forget; even though lots of them weren’t born yet, they im’d that the incident happened).
OK, so we’re vulgar. What sports fan isn’t? OK, we’re crass. Hey, this is NYC, right? We’re practically supposed to be crass here. And we’re spoiled. Again, remember, we live here, in the greatest city on earth.
I suppose this column comes off as small-time stuff, in light of world events. Hizzoner and the NYPD are at war with one another, for instance. We have serious concerns in town, beyond the strength of the Yankees’ pitching or the utter mess that the New York Jets have become.
OK, so I’m being a little petty. Sue me.
Harry Nilsson would understand. Perhaps you don’t know the name. He was a true New Yorker, a balladeer from years gone by. He sang, “Everybody’s Talkin’,” from the Oscar-winning movie Midnight Cowboy. It came out in that magical NYC sports year of 1969.
So what? Well, Nilsson once famously sang, “I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City.” Remember?
At one time, NYC sports fans probably felt exactly that way, too. We really had it going on, once upon a time, you know?
When Nilsson recorded that song in 1969, plenty of New York sports teams were riding high. The Jets had just won their first (and only!) Super Bowl in a huge upset. The Mets were about to win the World Series and be known forever as The Miracle Mets. The Knicks would soon embark on a world championship season with a classy, unselfish, intelligent team, whose legacy still gives diehard hoops fans the tingles.
Now, the Nilsson song title that sums up the plight of the desperate New York sports fan is “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.”
Maybe it’s time for another song?