Friday, October 12, 2012
Better to be anywhere but Buffalo
By DJ Gallo
October is sports heaven. Every major sport is in play or at least in preseason play.
But having every sport in action can also be depressing. If your city is cursed with bad teams, October is nothing but a constant reminder of its failure. October is really only a true sports heaven if you’re fortunate enough to root for good teams.
Looking through the prism of October 2012, let’s see which sports cities currently have it the best and worst off.
Buffalo always seems to be near the “top” of rankings like this. Nothing going on right now changes that sad status. The Bills signed Mario Williams in the offseason and built some hope -- at least as much hope as a Buffalo sports fan would realistically allow -- but the team is now 2-3, and the three losses have been by an average of 28.6 points. The Bills are led by a retread coach, and they invested in a quarterback who can’t seem to remember which jersey color is his. Pretty hard to find a Harvard grad with that type of cognitive issue. Only in Buffalo.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills are great role models -- if you don't care about trophies and wins and all that good stuff.
Perhaps most depressing of all, Buffalo’s “good” team, the Sabres, doesn’t really exist right now. So it’s nothing but Bills Bills Bills as far as the eye can see/mouth can vomit. The fact that the city’s name is easily changed to BuffaLOL for Internet-mocking purposes is just the bitter icing on the cruelty cake.
Cleveland: home of the NFL’s only winless team. Similar to how Buffalo managed to get stuck with a Harvard grad who struggles making decisions, the Browns somehow drafted a “quarterback of the future” in the first round who is about to turn 29. Strange how the Browns are never good.
The Indians were above .500 as late as July 26 but finished 68-94 -- an 18-45 finish. Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers are the current bright spot on the Cleveland sports scene. That’s extremely depressing since Vegas has set their 2012-13 over/under win total at 31.5. LeBron and the Heat won more than half that many games in the 2012 postseason alone.
3. Kansas City
The Royals just wrapped up their ninth consecutive losing season and fourth in a row with 90 losses or more. What else? Oh, right! The Chiefs. They’re so bad that fans are cheering their quarterback’s injury or expressing their frustration at the team’s woeful management by cheering their quarterback’s injury or just yelling in pain. Whatever. Let’s just say it’s bad, and no amount of delicious barbecue sauce can make the crap sandwich that is Kansas City sports taste better.
The Blue Jays always at least had the Orioles to look down on in the AL East. Not anymore. The Raptors will be bad again, and who isn’t still reeling over the Argonauts’ blowout loss to Saskatchewan on Monday on Canadian Thanksgiving?
It should be a blessing to Torontonians that the Maple Leafs aren’t around to depress them right now, but vast numbers of residents there have somehow not given up on hockey yet.
The misery will all come to a head on Dec. 16 when the Bills play in Toronto. It could create a failure-dense black hole that triggers the Mayan’s end times five days later.
No one feels bad for Pittsburgh. Their sports teams have had much success in recent years. But things aren’t so swell currently. The Pirates just completed the worst collapse in the entire history of baseball and made a strong case for most depressing team ever. Pitt football is 2-3, 0-2 in the Big East and 1-1 against FCS teams. The Steelers are 2-3 and are currently little more than Ben Roethlisberger and a roll of duct tape. QBs Carson Palmer and Matt Hasselbeck have both beaten Pittsburgh’s defense, which is maybe something that wouldn’t have been humiliating seven years ago.
But all is not lost! Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the absurdly talented Penguins will save the day! Playing 12 games a week in a shortened season won’t be bad for Crosby’s health, right?
As the saying goes: “Everything is bigger in Texas.” Unfortunately, this includes the choking. The Rangers and Tony Romo have yet to see a lead they couldn’t lose or potential they can reach. It’s a two-team, intra-market choke-off.
At least the Mavericks won’t disappoint anyone this season, as no one expects anything from them.
7. New Orleans
The Hornets' over/under for wins this upcoming season is 25.5. That’s also roughly the number of players commissioner Roger Goodell wants to suspend from the 1-4 Saints.
The Absolute Middle
It all depends on which teams a New Yorker roots for. If you’re a Yankees and Giants fan? Things are great! If you’re a Mets and Jets fan? May as well just move to Buffalo.
“But you forgot basketball!” Oh, sorry. My mistake. New York gets to be treated by the Knicks and Nets battling it out all season for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. As it says above: The Absolute Middle.
The Cities of Champions
6. St. Louis
Everyone overlooks the Cardinals, but they always show up in September and October. That’s usually convenient for St. Louis sports fans because the Rams never show up in September and October. But now they’re 3-2! That’s almost good enough that soon the Rams won’t have to tell people how to cheer at their games.
The Falcons are undefeated and the Braves made the “playoffs” this year and are built to contend for years. And don’t forget about the Hawks. They’ll do their part by not chipping in with a sub-.500 record. Probably.
Ohio State has a legitimate shot at going undefeated in the Big Ten in Urban Meyer’s first year with the Buckeyes. Best of all, they can’t go to a bowl, so fans can convince themselves they’re the best team in the country. Ohio State basketball is expected to be a Final Four contender again this season, and the Blue Jackets are on pace to have significantly fewer losses than last season.
3. Washington, D.C.
Natitude! RG3! Lots of terms that get Washington sports fans excited and help them forget about other terms such as “Wizards” and “lockout” and “Randy Edsall”!
Wearing bright orange and purple together has never looked so good. I mean, it still looks awful. But it’s never going to look less awful than right now.
1. San Francisco
The Giants are in the NLCS. The 49ers are in the 1990s. If there’s any downside at all, it’s that San Francisco might be getting the Warriors in a few years. But that’s still five years away. They could suddenly be good in five or six years. It’s happened before. Look at QB Alex Smith.