“That’s right, that’s right. We bad! Uh huh!”
-Richard Pryor, Stir Crazy, 1980
We’ve talked a lot about fandom over the past few months, more specifically when it is acceptable for sports fans to switch allegiances and what rights we have as fans when our teams let us down year after year with piss poor play and hair-pulling, personnel decisions.
If I go to a store, a restaurant, a golf course or any company that provides me with a product or service with which I’m dissatisfied, regardless of how long I’ve been loyal to that establishment, if I don’t feel like they appreciate my patronage, I leave and never return. Don’t you?
The only area of commerce where that logic does not apply is professional sports… yet perhaps it should.
Here are just a few fan bases that have been getting the short end of the stick from their rather, one-sided relationships:
The Milwaukee Bucks have a proud history but that history is so far in their rear view mirror, nobody of this generation, or even the last one, remembers it. This season, the Bucks are 9-42. They haven’t won a playoff series since the 2000-1 season and they play in an Eastern Conference that’s been woefully mediocre during that stretch. I know there’s plenty of beer in Milwaukee to ease the pain but if you were a Bucks fan, why in your right mind would you continue submitting yourself to that torture when the light at the end of your tunnel is barely lit. Probably because the owner is hoping you’re lit too.
The Detroit Pistons have an even prouder history. The Bad Boys ran the NBA right before Michael Jordan took over. They even won themselves a championship in 2004, putting an abrupt end to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers dynasty. Then Joe Dumars drafted Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the rest is history. It has been four long years since the Pistons have made the playoffs yet Dumars still calls the shots from his plush, Auburn Hills office. The Pistons are actually in playoff contention this year but even if they’re lucky enough to squeak in, they’ll likely get swept by a far superior Pacers or Heat team. The organization recently fired Maurice Cheeks who probably couldn’t wait to leave town. At least, Detroit fans have baseball and football season to look forward to.
It’s probably unfair to throw the Cleveland Cavaliers into this mix only because it’s like kicking a man while he’s down. This is an organization that’s still recovering from the loss of LeBron James, not that that’s an easy thing to do. We’d probably have more sympathy for Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert had he not blasted BronBron on his way out the door. Now the Cavs have a new superstar, Kyrie Irving, who’s unhappiness with the organization is also (allegedly) boiling over. Their other number one draft pick recently made headlines for tallying his first career double-double, which only took him forty games to get. Cavs fans go to bed every night praying LeBron James will eventually return but the chances of that happening are about as likely as seeing him shovel up the ashes of his jerseys that Cleveland fans burnt when he left town. He’s gone. It’s time to get over it.
Dr. J is not walking through that door any time soon. If he did, he’d probably shake his head at was has happened with the Philadelphia 76ers over the years. The Sixers actually did win a playoff series three years ago, not that anybody remembers. Nobody has considered this team a serious threat since Allen Iverson talked about practice. This year’s team just lost consecutive games by forty-plus points! They must have thought they were the Washington Generals. They’ve lost their last seven, allowing no fewer than 108 points in each of those games. No wonder Doug Collins quit last year. If I’m a proud Sixers fan, it’s only a matter of time before I bring batteries into the stadium.
I’d like to give the Charlotte Bobcats a pass considering they’ve only been around ten years but how can one ignore the fact that the greatest basketball player of all time has yet to manufacture a single playoff win as a general manager. The Bobcats have made the playoffs only once in their existence, that coming in 2009-10 when they got swept by the Orlando Magic. That was also the only season in their history they finished over .500. And people say the league isn’t watered down. As expected, the ‘Cats rank near the bottom of the league in attendance figures. Fortunately their owner has enough money to cover the cost of mediocrity.
Switching to the National Football League, no discussion of futility would be complete without mentioning the Buffalo Bills. The Bills haven’t finished above .500 since 2004. They haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. I know they’ve been suiting up against Tom Brady and the Patriots for much of that time but even the smartest guy on the set sometimes loses Jeopardy by accident. The Bills once paid a Harvard graduate $70 million to fix their team. The only problem was they expected him to do so as their quarterback. Buffalo fans are among the proudest in the NFL. They’d have to be for rooting for that team for so long.
The Washington Redskins made the playoffs two years ago, going 10-6 but that was because they play in a division no team wants to win. They have an owner who treats his team like a toy he opened on Christmas morning. They’ve had seven head coaches since 2000. Their last playoff win came in 2005. They have a quarterback who may, or may not, be healthy and who may, or may not, have lost the confidence of his locker room. You know it’s bad when the most intriguing, football-related question to come out of the nation’s capital is whether the Redskins should change their politically incorrect name.
Can someone please put the Jacksonville Jaguars out of their misery? While those in the area still remember Tim Tebow, the football player, and clamor for the team to sign him, rumors abound about the franchise moving to either Los Angeles or London. Don’t those cities already have enough pollution? Do they really need a football team that has managed a combined 11 wins over the last three years and that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007?
And once again, there’s Cleveland. With the Cavs, Indians and Browns, it is truly amazing Cleveland doesn’t rank higher on the nation’s per capita suicide rate. I have a friend who recently proclaimed himself a Cleveland Browns fan. He grew up in Youngstown so his decision to do so wasn’t all that far-fetched until you consider he’s willingly rooting for the Browns! I suggested he seek therapy. The Browns haven’t won a playoff game since… wait for it… 1994. They’ve been to the playoffs only once since then. They haven’t finished above .500 since 2007. Still, Cleveland fans religiously cook up their brauts, put on their dog pound masks and battle the elements every Sunday to cheer for their team. More power to ‘em. Perhaps they should seek therapy too.
Changing sports once again, it’s about time the good folks in the Windy City stop blaming Bartman for their woes. The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a playoff game since 2003. I’m pretty sure Bartman hasn’t been filling out their lineup sheets since then. Two years ago, this team lost 100 games. In 2011, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, who became famous for reversing the curse in Boston, hoping that he’d do the same in Chicago. As of yet, he has not. I’m assuming I don’t need to remind you that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Did it just get quiet in here?
I don’t mean to ruffle the feathers of my good friend, J-Dub, a long-suffering, Minnesota Twins fans who was just waiting for me to include his team, but the Twinkies haven’t won a playoff game since 2004. Kirby Puckett didn’t even have glaucoma back then. The M&M boys, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, failed to live up to their potential. Morneau hasn’t seen an All-Star Game since 2010 and now plays for the Rockies. Mauer makes $23 million a year and has hit a combined 33 home runs over his last four seasons. This is after hitting 28 home runs in 2009, the year he won the American League MVP. At least they have good weather up there.
And what fun would this list be if I didn’t afford myself an opportunity to crack on the New York Mets? This is a team that year after year spends hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in a team that’s out of playoff contention before the All-Star Break. The Mets last made the playoffs in 2006. They did make it all the way to the World Series in 2000. Other than that, they haven’t been relevant since their roster was doing pre-game cocaine bumps in the 1980s. Fortunately New Yorkers have plenty of distractions, not to mention another baseball team to root for, to take their mind off how bad the Mets really are. I could easily lump the Knicks in here as well but my arms were getting tired of shoveling.
I could continue but you get the point.
Some teams are just hard to root for. I’m not suggesting lifelong fans jump ship but I am suggesting that it’s perfectly alright to question the decision-making process and performance of the organization as a whole.
I get that building a championship team requires more than a Sunday out with the guys drafting fake players, eating chicken wings and drinking warm beer. The hundreds of GMs that been hired and fired in the past twenty years can attest to that.
Only one team can win a championship every year. For everyone else, it’s back to the drawing board. That being said, with so many irrelevant teams out there, you’d think that even a blind squirrel would find a nut. I mean, even the Los Angeles Clippers are finally competitive!
No fans honestly expect their team to win a championship year after year. Expectations vary by city. But for the unwavering fan bases mentioned above, even relevancy would be a welcome change. We just saw what happened when the Seahawks brought Seattle its first major championship since 1979. Those people are still partying.
It takes a lot more than luck to construct a consistently competitive franchise. We criticize fans for jumping on the bandwagon of teams that are able to do so but after rooting for perennial losers for so long, can anyone blame them?
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I didn’t know Philadelphia still had a professional basketball team…
Decided not to take on the wrath of Junior Nation, huh? 🙂
The ESPN pundits were all making a big deal about losing back-to-back games by 40 plus points but I think the eight straight of allowing 108 or more is more telling.
The two-game stretch can easily be considered a fluke. The eight game stretch is a trend.
Worse than that, however, is that fact that they allow an average of 110 points per game. Talk about matador defense!
That’s not a record as some of those 80s Nuggets teams were allowing 120-130 points per game because of their style of play… but it should be.
He he, c’mon, Beag. We all know I’m a numbskull when it comes to NASCAR but let me ask you this, how many fans actually switch allegiances from one driver to another?
We don’t need the Jaguars being relocated to my home town . Yet I believe downtown Kabul might be interested ?
Jordan can’t manufacture what he has failed to understand since becoming an executive . The game has changed since he last played in the NBA as a Bull and Wizards’ player .
Chris, a terrific piece! Exceeds your usual standards. As bad as the Brooklyn Dodgers were for so many years, it was they who deserted the fans who had lived and died with them. The most treacherous of owners, Walter O’Malley, stabbed a collective fan base in its back, an act for which he was never forgiven. And so began the fleeing of franchises.
How do the Pistons fit with the rest of the teams you mentioned? Their fans should still be happy from winning the championship ten years ago
I’m not so sure about that, Greg. Ever since that last championship it’s been a slow and dramatic turn for the worse. It seems to me like they can’t get over the hump of choosing Darko. I don’t need to tell you what swinging and missing on a top draft pick can do for an NBA franchise.
I think this organization put too much faith in guys like Stuckey, who while a decent player, is not the kind of guy who is going to lead this team to the championship level of play that they’re accustomed to.
This is a franchise that early on had Isiah/Rodman/Salley/Dumars/Edwards/Vinnie/Mahorn/Dantley/Aguirre then another championship with Billups/Prince/Wallace/Wallace and Hamilton.
In my most humble opinion, they’re a far cry from that now and haven’t shown any indication that they’ll even be serious contenders again for some time.
Here’s their record the last six years:
2008-9 – 39-43
2009-10 – 27-55
2010-11 – 30-52
2011-12 – 25-41
2012-13 – 29-53
2013-14 – 22-30
This team, and its fans, are accustomed to championship level play. They haven’t come anywhere close to that lately. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2008. To me, and to the good people of Motor City, I’d say that’s unacceptable.
And the #hit has come home to roost , as the findings by Ted Wells implicates en four players in the Incognito affair in Miami . So now we have homophobia , racism , and misogynistic behavior all contributing to the not so well-being of a league , where its upper hierarchy is completely devoid of common sense and intelligence ! What positives have Roger Goodell brought to the league since his ascent to the position ?
It’s a locker room, Al.
Do you think those kind of comments don’t fly in the NBA or in Major League Baseball?
You can’t possibly believe that.
There are plenty of opportunities with the above mentioned franchises. Gordon Gekko would “short” them all.
Yesterday, I heard some sports radio personality suggest that the Knicks get what they can for Carmelo as well as clear cap space, essentially gutting their roster and starting from scratch.
While not entirely an unfounded idea, how do you think that would fly in the Apple, a town that’s been waiting so desperately for that team to become relevant?
Chris, the Knicks and NY need a marquee player of the Garden’s next sell-out might be the Circus. The subtraction should start with Coach Woodson….tick, tick. Melo has recently said that he’d be willing to take less $$/restructure if Dolan would aggressively go after top free ageent.
Back to NFL. Did you the sex charges lodges again former ProBowl star DSharper. Using date rape drugs on chicks he’d lure to his hotel from clubs? Say goodbye to daylight Sharper.
I think the Knicks have suffered long enough. If ‘Melo is indeed willing to take less money, then why can’t Dolan surround him with talent. He’s starting to make Isiah Thomas look competent. Although I’m disappointed in Amare. One would think that 3-4-5 combo with those two and Chandler would be enough to contend.
I guess poor Darren Sharper couldn’t find himself a Valentine. I mean, seriously. How pathetic must one be to be an NFL player and not be able to get laid without the use of a roofie?
Here’s hoping he gets more than 30 days.
Do you really want a teammate suggesting to you what he’d like to do to your Mom or sister , by way of sexual nature and still think of it as a joke ? Come on ,. not even you would sink that low . Incognito just happened to do so and makes light of it .
Fans seem to think nothing wrong with that type of behavior ? Let me pose this question , if you had been Jonathan Martin , what would have been your response after Incognito’s remarks about a female family member of yours ?
Don’t use apathy as a way to excuse such behavior .
Jeter will be bowing out after a two decade long career . Where would you rank him amongst the all-time great Yankees’ players ?
We love our records ! Not vinyl, but sports’ records
A little bit of understanding
Fans do think there’s something wrong with that. Nobody is suggesting that Richie Incognito was right in the things he said.
Fans also recognize, however, that plenty of ribbing goes on in such environments and that perhaps Jonathan Martin was a tad sensitive.
Good question about Jeter. Don’t think I can put him above either Ruth or Gehrig. The we get into DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Mariano and perhaps Reggie Jackson.
Let’s just say if somebody wanted to put Jeter in their “Yankees Mount Rushmore,” I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with it. The guy does have five championships and more hits, at bats and games played than anyone else who ever put on that uniform.
So it’s being a tad sensitive if a teammates says he’d like to rape your Mom and sister and at the same time subject them to some sexually deviant behavior (to sodomize them both ) . Are you kidding me or is that your way of simply bypassing the issue and behavior ? Like I said I doubt you’d be willing to have a friend say that to you even jest !
I can’t put Jeter above Reggie Jackson at all ! Look at Jackson’s postseason stats and that of Derek Jeter’s . Granted , differing times , but Jackson was known to put a team on his back and there was a reason he <b was known as ” Mr October ” .
And if a friend did say something like that to me, Al, I’d knock his ass out rather than run and tell somebody that someone was mean to me.
I can easily put Jeter ahead of Reggie. Jackson only played five seasons in New York, Al. He wasn’t a lifer like the rest of the guys.
That may well have been the case , and we know Reggie Jackson’s relationship with George Steinbrenner was heated and volatile . But he had an impact there and wherever he’s been over the course of his career .
The ‘melo situation will become embarrassing , and it has been so , with his wife (reality star La-la Velazquez) stating that she believes her husband wants to remain in New York . That’s just what the fans in New York really want to hear isn’t it ? A player’s wife voicing her impression on a player’s impending future . I hear Knicks’ owner , James Dolan consults his wife on which players for the Knicks ought to suit up each night and then instructs Mike Woodson and the coaching staff to make sure that’s the team fielded for the game . Explains a lot doesn’t it about the Knicks , if you just happen to be either impartial observer or an actual fan of the NBA and then see how bad the Knicks have been ?
The Knicks and the Lakers are the only two franchise with an alleged value of close to $1 billion , with the New York franchise still said to be the most profitable . ” Jacked up ticket prices “ and Cablevision’s (Dolan owned company) dubious pricing has a way making things look good for the organization as a whole .
You would have thought that the players in attendance for the NBA All Star Game would have at least given David Stern a parting gift of some sort ?
Base salaries for the players have simply escalated for the athletes within the league , during the outgoing commissioner’s tenure.
Nobody is suggesting Incognito was wrong ? Have you read some of the idiotic responses concerning this on your site ?
Locker room mentality ? Bull#hit ! You’ve suggested that race relations has advanced ? Clearly even with the makeup of the player personnel , when you a##holes such as Richie Incognito , how can that be the case , never mind the reminder that was said to have been all done in jest . Obviously the Pouncey’s education at Florida was a considerable waste , if Mike Pouncey felt it appropriate to denigrate a teammate with racially insensitive remark as well suggesting that his prefereed choice of sex with Martin’s sister and mother would be akin to multiple sex train party where victims would be the recipients of his bodily fluids . And what of both Pouncey and Incognito’s behavior towards an assistant coach ? How is it that no one on the Dolphins’ staff was unaware ? Ted Wells’ investigation was said to have been in depth , but clearly it didn’t dig deep enough .
These latest allegations against Darren Sharper are making him look like a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Jeffrey Dahmer and Jack The Ripper , without the homicides . Six alleged sexual assaults with at least four more being investigated in various parts of the country ? How many more hits can the NFL take ? Homophobia , racism and now a former player and former employee of the NFL Network , accused of such crimes ? Your thoughts ?
Of course he had an impact and he deserves consideration on that Yankee mountain. He didn’t earn the nickname “Mr. October” for nothing but I still can’t put him ahead of Jeter, or Dimaggio, and certainly not ahead of either Gehrig or Ruth.
Pretty horrific news about Sharper. What a bizarre story. Do you mean to tell me that a wealthy, rich, decent looking professional football player can’t just meet a woman on his own volition? He has to resort to drugging them? Here’s hoping he gets what he deserves if found guilty.
Knicks are horrible and a long ways away from being any good. ‘Melo may have agreed to make less money but will he agree to take less shots?
And the Incognito-Martin case is like a Spike Lee movie where every character in it is wrong. Once again, to be clear, I am not defending Incognito. I am saying that that kind of language has been used in locker room for ages. To single out Incognito as the worst guy ever is in apropos.
Apopros ? Incognito is an @ss and should know better ! What of the Dolphins’ heirarchy itself ? From the owner on down , this organization is beyond moronic ! It embodies what this state is and will remain about , as dumb as #hit !
Darren Sharper’s member ……….. one size doesn’t necessarily fit all .
Dropped this piece if interested ? I know you’re likely to be behind on your reading .
We love our records ! Not vinyl , but sports’ records
A little bit of understanding
‘melo ain’t taking less money , not with his wife ( former VH1 personality La-la Velazquez) . a Kim Kardashian wannabe , but without the porn tape wanting that high and mighty lifestyle . The only reason he’d be likely to take less money, is if it meant , he’d end up with a contender . The trade deadline on 20th February , then and only then , will we actually find out the intent of the Knicks , because the player has not actually expressed his wish publicly , to remain with the team. It is has been however , slight hints and nothing more than that from him .
So at one time Darren Sharper was doing PSA’s (public service announcement ) warning women against sexual predators ? This isn’t the same Sharper , who’s now been indicted on two counts of sexual assault and may well on the way in facing at least another eight counts across five states and counting , via various news’ reports and sources . Image wise this might be the worst it has been for the NFL in some time . The “Sharper Image” has nothing to do with menswear , it’s actually the former NFL player’s nickname for his weapon of pleasure , that he systematically used to “allegedly” torture his victims .
Sad news about the health of Hank Aaron , and his mishap . Broken hip has led to his having surgery and he’s likely to miss a Braves’ opening Spring Schedule and regular season opener for the first time just over two decades . He’s going to be sorely missed by the Braves’ organization at both of these events .
As a Senior Vice President within the organization , Hank Aaron has spent a great deal of time assisting the managerial staff as well as speaking with the seasoned veterans and younger players on the Braves’ roster . Both of the Upton siblings are said to have visited him regularly during the regular and off-season, seeking his advice on hitting and other aspects of the game. I doubt that BJ and Justin Upton could not find anyone better to instruct them on the art of hitting !
Tedium, even in the world of sports … no real stories to be found, unless it meets an agenda
Let me ask you a question. Is Jonathan Martin totally blameless in all of this?
I don’t know that we’re going to see much action before this NBA trading deadline but how sweet would it be to see Carmelo moved. I actually think Chicago would be an ideal landing spot. Just don’t know what they’d have to offer.
I hadn’t heard the news about Aaron, Al. That is too bad. I’m telling you. Pick up his biography “I Had A Hammer.” It’ll be one of the best sports books you’ll ever read.
Jonathan Martin suffers from ADHD (advised the team of that at the time of his being drafted) and beyond that my issue with this whole matter is when the first of these incidents happened where the hell were the coaching staff in the midst of this all ? As a kid in school Jonathan Martin was said to have been bullied and intimidated by his antagonists but was given little assistance . I see the much like how iw I view the issue of of Robert Champion who was being bullied and it led to his death at Florida A&M . Everyone seeks to absolve anyone of any damn responsibility by passing the ##ck . No different from military servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are pi##ed on by the state , federal government and even the public at large . It’s the NIMBY Effect (Not In My Backyard ) ! Let me ask you this , the NFL knows this is amongst a litany of issues going on in the league ,but what the hell have they done about it over the years ? I mean , they still have done nothing with regard to the issue in season testing for PED’s , albeit that the league hierarchy and union (NFLPA) agreed in principal to testing as far back as the 2010 season , as part of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) . So please don’t use this crap about what about Martin ? He made the medical staff within the organization of his medical history and the medication needed for his issues .
Josh Freeman being the pi#s ant that he is , sought to lie about his medical issues of ADHD and look at where it got his dumb @ss ?
All of this machismo , homophobia and misogyny and yet the league remains in denial and the apathetic fans continue with their lame @ss excuses and opinions on the matter !
I’ve read the biography on Hank Aaron as well as several other books on the Braves’ great .
Baseball now , has so few of its real heroes from a bygone age , with so many of them reaching an old age , having lived a rich and fruitful life . Now it’s about living out these last few days with dignity . Can the same be said with a number of the senior retired NFL veterans . ?
I recently had one individual who suggested recently that Junior Seau took his own life , because of his personal issues having had several business deals go “South ” . Seau suffered from clinical depression amongst a litany of other medical issues , including spinal contusions that at times cost him limited ambulatory movement . Bears’ Superbowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon is no longer allowed to drive or even leave his property (Mesa , Arizona) because of memory loss and the early onsets of Alzheimer’s . Bernie Kosar can barely stand without the use of a cane to aid him to walk for any mere distance of more than 100 yards . All of this idiocy as to how much the NFL cares and does for its veterans , remains a complete crock of fecal matter .
The Buccaneers seeking to change the team’s colors (logo) , along with the changes within the front office , s coaching staff and possible player acquisitions . Do you actually believe that things will change for the team overall ? The offense remains a work in progress and the defense is not only lackluster but the guys do not play with any passion .
Thursday Reveal: Enhanced Logo & Helmet from official Buccaneers’ website .
Way too early for Spring Cleaning ?
Vick coming to the Bucs as a backup ? What the hell is that meant to achieve ?
Michael Vick is way past his prime and the NFL recycling players of his alleged talent level is simply a joke !
At this stage of his career what is it that Vick is going to teach Mike Glennon ?
It is my understanding that the NFL, along with other professional sports leagues, puts their players through sensitivity training, just as every other workplace in the United States. That’s not going to stop numbskulls like Darren Sharper from doing what they do and it probably won’t stop the ribbing that goes on in the locker rooms either.
I’m not sure if you if you subscribe to ESPN the Magazine but Howard Bryant wrote a scathing article on Goodell’s handling of the concussion crisis. Here’s a link for ya:
I heard about the Bucs changing their logo? Not sure why they’re doing that. That logo once represented a positive change and a championship level team. Here’s hoping the front office is worrying more about just the logo on the helmets.
Vick coming to Tampa will obviously meet with mixed reactions. Aren’t there any other experienced quarterbacks out there that can help this team?