EL BARIO, BRONX – Deacon Blaber is usually a man of hope – but not recently. In a discussion with one of my mentees, a sad fact dawned on me: 2015 is beckoning and most NY Sports Fans have already decided it is time to start looking to the 2016 season for their teams. This is the earliest there has been such pessimism around NYC sports in a while and applies to all of the city’s 11 teams (I am counting the soccer teams). Let’s a rundown of all the teams:
Major League Baseball
New York Mets: Mets fans live in eternal hope. This is what it means to support the city’s second baseball team. However, if you read any of Big” Al Steinberg’s articles you would know that there is no point in hoping. The team needs a regime change in management and the front office. There are a stock-load of pitchers but not enough hitting and they continue to overpay for bats that are no longer any good.
New York Yankees: The core four have all retired. The team is in the middle of a rebuild. It is not a reload, no matter what any die-hard or front office person tells you. Unfortunately, this is like trying to renovate your living room with a massive structural column in the middle of it. That column is Alex Rodriguez, who ain’t goin’ nowheres, and unless some high level engineering occurs, you’re stuck.
National Football League
New York Jets: Jets fans have been here before. A crap GM and a coach that you like but know it is not going to happen. Still looking for that franchise QB. I hope they do not draft Marcus Mariota because he ain’t the answer – nor is Jameis Winston. The roster needs turnover and more weapons added on offense, however they have a GM couldn’t find has butt with both hands. Next year will be another season where beating the Pats will our Super Bowl.
New York Giants: The end of the road for Tom Coughlin has arrived. He had a good run but the team needs a fresh voice. GM Jerry Reece is good guy and has done well up to a point. However, he seems to have been there for too long himself. The offensive line needs addressing, a proper running back is needed and Eli Manning is just not good enough without a great defense. All of this is not turning around by the start of the 2015 season.
National Basketball Association
Brooklyn Nets: This franchise is trying. They want to be relevant. They want the people of Brooklyn to embrace them. The problem is they have the wrong team chemistry. They have guys that do enough to keep earning their checks in Joe Johnson and a guy who thinks he is better than he is in Deron Williams. However, if you look up and down that roster, you will not see anyone that is clutch. They also won’t have the flexibility to find that driving force. The best they can hope for is a trade. But who do they have that someone will trade for?
New York Knicks: Anyone that thought Phil Jackson could fix this team in 1-2 season is out of their minds. They are already done for this season. Next season is gonna be just as tough. Lord only knows why they signed Carmelo Anthony. Nothing about that kid said NBA franchise player. He will score and not defend. Then you add a maxed-out payroll with a rookie coach – who only got the job because he played for Phil – and this was a textbook recipe for failure. They may make the playoffs in 2015/2016 but 2016/2017 is you best chance at anything real, if they don’t run into LeBron.
National Hockey League
New York Islanders: These guys have been terrible for so long that that the light at the end of the tunnel was a “not so bad” flickering neon. They have reached that not-so bad-level. It took a lot of bad seasons and draft picks. They will make playoffs this year but they won’t win a cup until they become the Brooklyn Islanders – as they still need to cut their playoff teeth before that happens. It will probably be the 2016 season when they challenge the elites… if the process is not bungled.
New York Rangers: It seems early to write them off since they made the Stanley Cup final last season. However, it appears the front office has done a bit too much tinkering. They have lost a bit of defense, grit and leadership with their moves. It doesn’t feel like it will be this season, so we will have to wait til next.
New Jersey Devils: The Devils haven’t been irrelevant in a while. However, this is the post-Brodeur era. They can make a big trade for a top notch goalie and be respectable but that winning culture is gone. It has been diluted by time and the adding of new players who didn’t get the full experience of being a championship side. A new winning mentality has to be developed and it won’t happen soon.
Major League Soccer
New York Red Bulls: It maybe a foreign sport but this team is very New York; makes the Eastern Conference finals… then chokes. Now they just lost their best player to retirement. He won a World Cup, Euro Cup and several club titles in Europe. How is this team going to be better? Just can’t see it.
New York FC: They are a first year expansion team. We all know what to expect from them.
And that’s it for now. Comeback tomorrow for Cheesy Bruin.
P.S: I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa. It is an holiday started by pro-black history leaders in the 1960s. The view is that Christmas is a European concept and not an African one. So Kwanzaa was started the day after Christmas (conveniently) and borrows from other holidays. Africans never heard of it until they came to America. So when you think Kwanzaa, think Diff’s family not Junoir’s family.