Saturday, January 28, 2012
How I Rank the New York Tri-State Area Teams
1. New York Yankees. The 1st sports team I ever loved, and the one that has rewarded my loyalty the most -- despite their 18-year title drought from 1978 to 1996.
2. New Jersey Devils. The team closest to my house, if not to my heart. Since the sun set on June 24, 1995 until today, January 28, 2012, in MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL combined, only the Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Red Wings have won more World Championships than the Meadowlands, now Mulberry Street, Marauders -- and, in addition, only the New England Patriots (by cheating) and the Chicago Bulls have won as many.
3. New York Red Bulls. You may not consider Major League Soccer to be, well, a major league, but I do. "Let's go fucking Metro! Let's go fucking Metro! Da-da, da-da! Da-da, da-da!"
4. New York Liberty. You may not consider the WNBA to be a major league, but the Libs are the best basketball team in the Tri-State Area. Well, okay, maybe not. But what cannot be disputed is that, since 1976, they have been the most successful professional basketball team in the Tri-State Area.
5. New Jersey Nets. Though there's only a few weeks left in which they will have that name and play home games in New Jersey -- and, thus, probably only a few more weeks why I should bother.
6. New York Giants. Because they do a better job of beating New England than the Jets, even though the Jets have two (or three) chances to beat them every season.
7. New York Jets. At least they're entertaining. No, at most, they're entertaining. One more season like this, and the Era of Big Mouth is over.
8. New York Knicks. With Pat Riley, and John Starks, who ruined a chance at a glorious era by clotheslining Kenny Anderson, it was easy to hate them. Now, I only pity them. Will I switch to the Knicks after the Nets' move to Brooklyn is absolutely official with tipoff in the fall of 2012? I don't know yet.
9. New York Islanders. I still hate the bastards for beating up the Devils from 1982 to 1988, when the Devils ended up beating them in their first-ever Playoff series -- still the only time the Devs and Isles have met in the postseason, and still one of only 2 Playoff series wins the Devils have over a New York team (the other being the sweep of The Scum in 2006).
10. New York Mets. I keep telling myself that what's happening to them isn't funny anymore... but it's a lie.
11. New York Rangers. The Scum. (Unless we're talking about baseball, in which case that's the Boston Red Sox; or soccer, in which case that's Tottenham -- more than MLS' D.C., Philly or New England teams will ever be.) Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt, duh-unt, Dunt, dunt, dunt! RANGERS SUCK! Stephane Matteau is my Bobby Thomson, and Mark Messier is my Leo Durocher. Except Durocher had more hair.
Or, to put it another way: On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being how much I love the Yankees...
1. Yankees 10.
2. Devils 9.5
3. Red Bulls 7.5 and gaining
4. Liberty 6.0
5. Nets 4.0 and dropping
6. Giants 3.8 and that's mostly a measure of respect, not love
7. Jets 3.5 and that's mostly a sop to my sister, a Jet fan
8. Knicks 2.8 and that's mostly a measure of respect for their pre-Riley work
9. Islanders 2.0 and that's mostly a measure of respect for their 4 Cups and their '93 Playoff run
10. Mets 0.5 and that's entire a measure of respect for 1969 and '73 -- NOT for '86
11. Rangers 0.2 and that's entirely a measure of respect for what they were before there ever was a New Jersey Devils
Of course, it's not just about sentiment. As former Jets coach Herman Edwards taught us, "You play to win the game!" And win enough of them to win a championship.
Since the sun set on June 24, 1995, with the Devils winning their first Stanley Cup at 11:09 PM that night (yes, I know the exact time -- don't bet me), the title roll looks like this:
1. Yankees: 5 World Series wins.
2. Devils: 3 Stanley Cups.
3. Giants: 1 Super Bowl win, with a chance to make it 2 a week from tomorrow.
4. Liberty: 4 Conference Titles.
5. Nets: 2 Conference Titles.
6. Red Bulls: No titles, but reached the Final in both the MLS and the U.S. Open Cups.
7. Mets: 1 Pennant.
8. Knicks: 1 Conference Title.
9. Jets: 3 lost AFC Championship Games.
10. Rangers: 1 Conference Finals.
11. Islanders: Haven't even won a Playoff series.
Since I was old enough to start watching on TV, 1977 onward:
1. Yankees: 7 wins in 10 World Series.
2. Islanders: 4 Stanley Cups, the last 29 years ago, plus 1 other Finals appearance.
3. New York Cosmos: 4 Soccer Bowls, the last 30 years ago -- defunct 1985, and the reborn Cosmos, who have yet to play anything other than a friendly, are connected to them in name only.
4. Giants: 3 Super Bowl wins, with a chance to make it 4 a week from tomorrow, plus 1 other Super Bowl appearance.
5. Devils: 3 Stanley Cups in 5 trips to the Finals
6. Rangers: 1 Stanley Cup, 18 years ago, plus another trip to the Finals.
7. Mets: 1 World Series win, 26 years ago, and 1 other Pennant.
8. Liberty: 4 Conference Titles.
9. Nets: 2 Conference Titles, the last 9 years ago.
10. Knicks: 2 Conference Titles, the last 13 years ago.
11. Red Bulls: No titles, but reached the Final in both the MLS and the U.S. Open Cups.
12. Jets: 4 lost AFC Championship Games.
Compare that to overall, the teams' entire histories:
1. Yankees: 27 wins in 40 World Series appearances.
2. Giants: 7 NFL Championships, with a chance to make it 8 a week from tomorrow, in what will be their 19th NFL Championship Game, 5 of them being called Super Bowls.
3. New York Cosmos: 5 Soccer Bowls, the last 30 years ago. The "New Cosmos," who have yet to play anything other than a friendly, are connected to them in name only.
4. New York Giants (baseball): 5 wins in 14 World Series, the last 58 years ago, defunct 1957.
5. Rangers: 4 Stanley Cups in 10 Finals appearances, the last 18 years ago.
6. Islanders: 4 Stanley Cups, the last 29 years ago, plus 1 other Finals appearance.
7. Devils: 3 Stanley Cups in 5 Finals appearances.
8. Mets: 2 World Series wins, the last 26 years ago, in 4 appearances.
9. Knicks: 2 NBA Championships, the last 39 years ago, in 8 Finals appearances.
10. Jets: 1 Super Bowl win, in their only appearance, 44 years ago.
11. Brooklyn Dodgers: 1 World Series win, 57 years ago, in 9 appearances, defunct 1957.
12. Nets: 2 Conference Titles, 2 ABA Championships.
13. Liberty: 4 Conference Titles.
14. New York Metropolitans: 1 Pennant, defunct 1887. The 1962-born Mets were, sort of, named after them.
15. Red Bulls: No titles, but reached the Final in both the MLS and the U.S. Open Cups.
16. New York Americans: No Stanley Cups, and only once reached the Semifinals.
17. Brooklyn Dodgers (football): Never reached the NFL Playoffs, but finished 2nd to the Giants in the Eastern Division in 1941 and swept the season series, defunct 1944.
Not counting the various AFLs which, unlike the one that was founded with the Titans/Jets in 1960, didn't make it. Or the USFL's New Jersey Generals, or any other football league that didn't quite make it to "major league" status.