BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
As a kid growing up in the 90s, I remembered New York would have bragging rights for championships. We boasted the Devils, Yankees and Knicks contending year in and year out. Shoot, the Mets, Giants, Jets and Rangers made cameo appearances for big games, too. It was so cool to be a New York sports fan. There was nothing like the electricity of a big game in town during the playoffs. I saw enough championships in that era that would last a lifetime.
I am old enough to remember when everyone in the country hated our teams because they won a lot. It was a sign of respect. Who didn’t like it when New England sports fans loathed our teams because they were so good?
Those were the days. The glory days had us be loud and proud then.
Now those days are over. Our teams here flat-out stink. The Yankees haven’t won a championship since 2009. The Mets haven’t made the World Series since 2015, and they haven’t made the playoffs since Connor Gilespie hit a three-run blast against Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the wild-card game in 2016. The Knicks have been awful for most of James Dolan’s failed regime, and they are likely going to miss the playoffs. The Nets super team blew up after James Harden was traded since he and Kyrie Irving couldn’t play together, and they have yet to win anything in Brooklyn. The Islanders bombed against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals the last two seasons, and they have a look of a team that won’t make the playoffs. The Devils stink. The Rangers are the only team worth watching, and they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1994.
Our college basketball teams in Seton Hall and Rutgers are nice, but not imposing. St. John’s has been awful since Ron Artest left. Rutgers football has had one good moment in 2006, and the program is finding its footing in the Big Ten.
Los Angeles is what New York wishes it could be. After the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl on Sunday night, this is a city that celebrated the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers winning a championship just two years ago. The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, which included defeating the Devils in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals and the Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. USC and UCLA boast great college athletics.
It’s cool to be a Los Angeles sports fan, isn’t it? Just like it was to be a New York sports fan back in the day.
It’s been a long time since New Yorkers enjoyed moments like this. We took it for granted back in the 90s thinking this would be easy. Now we appreciate those teams because it’s hard to do.
It stinks that Los Angeles is reaping its glory. It is a terrible sports town. The fans here don’t care much about sports like we do here. In fact, not many people in that city even noticed the Rams were participating in the Super Bowl. What does tell you? This is a city that focused on other things. Not that there’s nothing wrong with it. But why should a sports city be rewarded with championships when no one cares?
In New York, our lives revolve around sports. That’s a great thing. Sports help us rally around our community in the tri-state area. It makes friends, and it helps create a bond whether it’s family, relatives or barflies. When our teams do well, there really is nothing like it in this town. Nothing comes close to it.
No one can say the same about Los Angeles. People look at sports as just whatever here. It makes me furious that the Cincinnatti fans greeted their heroes at the airport on Monday night for a welcome back parade. They were showing appreciation for a great postseason ride by their team. In LA, it seemed no one cared the Rams won it all.
It’s a joke.
The sad thing is LA has it better than us right now. They got great teams, beautiful weather and terrific food. LA is that rich snotty kid that we can’t help but admire.
LA also has this advantage where its teams can get players whenever they want. LA has the money to get them. New York has that, too, but here’s where LA has an advantage over NY: There’s no pressure for players to win in Los Angeles. There’s no media coverage or fans to chronicle a player’s struggles. It makes it a relaxing environment for the players, which is why they often play there than here in New York.
It’s something New York can be helpless.
It won’t get better here because most of the owners here are terrible from John Mara to Woody Johnson to James Dolan to Joshua Harris to Hal Steinbrenner. The Islanders ownership duo of Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin and Mets owner Steve Cohen are our only hopes to get that championship where it really belongs.
Until then, we better get used to LA being the city of champs. The teams that play there are built to last.
It’s disgusting enough to make a grown man cry.