Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

How Much Are Pro Sports Teams Worth?

I did a rant about the value of pro sports franchises, which seem to never go down in value, even though the owners always claim to be losing money. What’s particularly stinky is that a big part of this value seems to come from facilities and other perks that taxpayers and Innocent property owners are forced to bear the cost of.

The Bond

Holly Brubach, had a nice piece in the Times about the bonds that hold the Steeler Nation together.

“Back in the ’70s, Bob Ryan, an editor for NFL Films, christened the Cowboys “America’s team,” because their following extended far beyond Dallas. Today, however, Steeler Nation seems to outnumber the fans of every other franchise, Dallas included, thanks in large part to the great Pittsburgh diaspora: with the economic devastation that followed the closing of the mills, the population dwindled to less than half what it was in 1950. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Web site lists Steeler bars in all 50 states, more than 20 foreign countries and, in recent seasons, at a research outpost on Antarctica. Steeler fans are literally everywhere.”

It seems to me that there are only three truly mythic fan bases is pro sports and all three have a deep link to memory and tragedy. There’s the Steeler Nation, The Brooklyn Dodger fans and The fan base of New York Yankees. To me rooting for the Yankees is tied to rooting for the Bronx.

Are You One Of These People?

OK, so this is the obligatory Steeler post from the guy who lives in Pittsburgh. There are many false perceptions about the city as it is now, but one that is entirely true, is that the region is mildly interested in the game of football and the Steelers. Hate to break it to you but “Broadway Joe” didn’t learn his moves on Broadway.

So there’s some guys looking to do a coffee table book on the Steeler Nation.”Sean Barrett and Michael Casker are criss-crossing the country in search of Steeler fans and clubs to gather testimonials and photos about Steeler Nation to compile into a coffee table book. Barrett, 24, a writer and recent graduate of Arizona State University, is originally from Cranberry. Michael Casker, 27, a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography who lives in New York City, is from Zelienople. Anyone interested in contributing to the project can e-mail Sean at seanb1104@gmail.com or Michael at michael@michaelcasker.com.”

Out of the closet with my Mets hat on

I come from a long line of Yankee-haters. The history is this: My dad, Brooklyn-born and raised, is still mourning the day in 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, he still cherishes a tee-shirt I bought him when I lived in LA, with a picture of Ebbett’s Field and a quote, “When they left, a part of me died”.

So I was taught to hate the Yankees. In my house, we were Mets fans. And later on, when I went out on my own and moved to Queens, a stone’s throw from Shea Stadium, it just fit. But for a long time, admitting you were a Mets fan was like admitting you voted for Bush in the last election.

These days, I must admit that I root for New York. If the Yanks are playing anyone other than the Mets, I cheer for them. And with a nephew who is a staunch Yankee fan, I find camaraderie with him in cheering on the Mets. Soon the numbers of Brooklyn Dodger torch-bearers will die off. And maybe one day, the Mets will win the Series again. All I know is, so far this summer, I don’t have to feel I am rooting for the underdog. With tabloid stories of Jeter hanging with hookers, and a blonde hanging onto A-Rod’s arm, I can wear my Mets hat without my nephew Tyler asking why I am rooting for losers. “Because”, I say, “a true fan sticks with the team no matter what”.

A customized tennis court?

Now I do know that we all here are big fans of the US Open and probably had been to at least one match at the Arthur Ashe stadium. We all also know that it is a clay court and arguably any clay court fan’s dream field to play in.
But this is the first time I am hearing about a customized tennis court that is half clay and half grass. Yes, you heard me right! This court has been specially designed for a match between Roger Federer (who rules the grass court) and Rafael Nadal (who happens to be a king on clay courts).
Click here to read more about this court.
I wonder if this would be an interesting match to watch. It is definitely unique though!

Men’s Roller Derby

gse_multipart19825.jpg In the long ago far away history of roller derby, back in the 60′s and 70′s when it was televised on ABC Sports alongside baseball and the like, and was popular enough to support exploitation films like “Kansas City Bomber” and “Unholy Rollers,” the sport was co-ed. Men and women sometimes skated together, and sometimes alternated periods, but there were always men and women on the tracks. The 21st century revival of the game has been a grassroots movement led by women who wanted to claim a sport for themselves and the vast majority of the teams have been all-girl teams. But the times they are a changin’! New York City now has it’s very own men’s derby team, The New York Shock Exchange! They are strictly an exhibition team at this point, (since there is no national men’s league as of yet) but they are having their first bout at the end of the month in Kendall Park, NJ. They are going to be alternating periods with two of the NJ women’s teams. It will be Shock Exchange vs. the Dirty Dozen, a men’s team out of Massachusetts, and on the women’s side it’s the NJ Dirty Dames vs. the Hub City Hellrazors. So for derby fans there’s a little taste of the history of the sport, the way it used to be played. Come on over to NJ and support the new boys in town!

(Just for full disclosure: I designed the logo for the Shock Exchange.)

Bowlmor? Bowl-Less!!!!

BowlmorLanes.jpgA couple weekends ago, I had an experience at Bowlmor Lanes on 13th and University Place that I feel I must share with the general MetroBlogging public… It was both unbelievable and stupifying, even in a city where a $20 drink is not uncommon, and nightclubs often sport a 2 hour wait for entrance (unless you have breasts). Now, I must say that I knew going in that the night would be expensive. I mean, it is a large three-story building totally devoted to entertainment, and it is just a block and a half from Union Square! But between the cost, the staff attitude, and the customer service, this place is a total bust, and I will be unlikely to ever go again.
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Snow boarding Vs Skiing

After the relatively warm winter we had so far, when the weather finally decided to dump foot upon foot of snow upstate, snow sports was all I had on my mind. I keep on getting jolted out of my nightmares on the subway about me falling through a crevasse that stays hidden in ice and snow. That was when I realised that I had developed this mental block against skiing, after my fall 2 winters back, on the Blue Mountain, PA.
I am an intermediate in skiing and I was just starting to come off the bigger slopes, back in ’05. Then it had to happen. A fellow snow boarder, also from NYC, slipped and crashed into me. He had a broken knee and I ended up tearing a lot of stuff in my knees, but thanks to therapy, after 6 months, I am more fitter than ever.
That put the age old saying in mind – “Skiing is easy to learn, but tough to master” and “Snow Boarding is tough to learn but easy to master”. So I decided to give snow boarding a try last season and I did feel it was tough to board…but once you had the hang of it, that pretty much was it.
I am raring to snow board this season, which is suddenly in full swing. There is a wonderful sale price going on at most of the resorts in the Catskill Moutains, hardly 2 hrs drive from NYC. I am opting for the Windham Mountain….lets see how that goes!

And next year, we’ll ride to hounds

When I read my invitation to the Dalton School’s alumni golf outing, I initially thought it was a joke. Golf? For kids who grew up in Manhattan? Maybe for Scarsdale or Greenwich High reunions, sure, but how the heck were Daltonians expected to play a game that requires more square footage than a terrace?

When I went to Dalton, it was the least suburban, least plaid-wearing, least sporty school you could imagine. We had a few teams that played in Central Park, but Friday Night Lights it was not. You could take Modern Dance for gym credit, and you could even get out of that by signing a “Missed the Gym Bus” sheet on the Phys Ed department door. Back then, the gym was on 92nd Street, and you weren’t permitted to walk there from the main building on 89th Street because it was Too Dangerous to stroll the Upper East Side on a Tuesday morning. We’d scrawl our names on the “Missed the Gym Bus” sheet, then sneak out for coffee and cigarettes.
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Weekly Poll: NY Sports

pennington.jpgWith both the Giants and Jets losing yesterday, the NFL season is over for the tri-state area fans… But, while the local media is chastising the Giants and questioning their direction, they are praising the Jets resolve, which allowed this underdog team to turn what was to be considered a “rebuilding year” into a successful playoff campaign. As we watch the final 8 teams battle for the Lombardi, it makes me wonder which of these teams is better set up for next year, and who is more likely to win…

Also, as we get closer and closer to April, it brings my mind to the baseball season! The Mets and Yankees both have massive expectations this year, so who is better suited to meet them?

[photo courtesy NYTimes]

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