NYJ

Make Love, Not War

Mets 50th Anniversary CollectionI have what we deem as a “Christmas birthday.”  While everyone on planet Earth (okay, maybe just **here**) is prepping for the holidays and transition into the New Year, a day celebrating me is thrown in the mix there.

Being a sports fan, it’s never been out of the realm of possibility to get a sports-related gift to celebrate.  This year, the big “get” was the Mets 50th Anniversary DVD collection, which was kind of a family gift (my husband has had his eye on this sucker for a WHILE now).

I was super excited to see that in the collection, one of my favorite Mets videos, An Amazin’ Era (a chronicle of the first 25 seasons of the Mets), was available on the DVD set.  Super excited probably doesn’t get it – super-duper is more like it.  Of course, the DVD was extended to include the 1986 championship and the NL East run in 1988…something that was a “To Be Continued…” part of the original VHS.  And yes, I still have that thing somewhere.

I often take for granted that the Mets won a championship in my lifetime.  Sometimes though I imagine what life might be like if I didn’t have that year.  If watching the 1969 highlights is all we’d have for going all the way…but so many close calls, like the 1973, 1988 and even the late 90s.

Mark Messier 1994Then the night my husband and I watched the video, he fell asleep, and I was there in insomnia land.  Not only did I get to relive the Mets championship years, I got to see a retrospective on the New York Rangers 1993-94 Stanley Cup run.

I guess I’m a little more than fortunate when it comes to my teams.  Some fan bases have never seen a championship in their lifetime.  I’ve seen one for each of my teams.

I said last year that the team closest to a championship would have been the Rangers.  It’s only cruel and unusual punishment that they have not been able to drop the puck this year.

The Mets seem to be making some moves to ensure that in the future, championships will be dancing in our heads.

I suppose it is only fitting that when I look at the last time the Mets had “relevance,” it was 2006…life would be so much different if they were able to make it the World Series, let alone win it.  Yet, 2006 was a long time ago.

The same could be said for my third team, the Jets.  Two years in a row, they did not make it to the playoffs despite high expectations.  The two years PRIOR to that though, they made it as far as they could go without going the furthest, if that makes sense.

I’m trying to take the football victories where I can.   I can be happy for my friends and family who root for different teams.  My husband is a big Seahawks fan.  We even went to see them play the Jets in Seattle in November.  He was in Hawks Heaven…I’m typically found in Jets hell.

Today, though, I heard that while Mike Tannenbaum was let go, Rex Ryan is staying on  I really don’t know how to feel about it.  I know the buck stops there, but ultimately, how many times can changing the coaching staff really help?

My thought was…I was brought back so many good memories of having my teams winning in my lifetime.  This is a gift I not only cherish but also do not take for granted.

Yet, I don’t have the warm fuzzies with the Jets, except maybe the time from 2009 and 2010.  Some other years there, but I guess deep down I knew it just wasn’t their year.  I had such high expectations only to be dashed at the last moment.  I would then have higher hopes for the future, only to get pooped on later.

My point is wondering why I stick around.  Sometimes, especially after seasons like this, make me wonder why I just don’t go root for another team.  I wonder if things will ever change.  I doubt they will.  Yet, I don’t want to be that fan who gave up when it was so close.

I could only imagine what it was like for people like my dad, who stuck around with the Rangers though they didn’t win till he was a long-time fan and was even lecturing me on the prospect of the Rangers not making it past game six in the 1994 Eastern Conference final versus the Devils.  It became evident, watching the highlights, that the blueshirts were “going for it all” that year.  They wouldn’t have had a better chance after that season.

The Mets started to fall apart after 1986.  I sometimes wonder why I stick around with such inept management and even more inept finances.  Then I think there’s no way they can be that bad forever, right?

But I have the championships from those teams.

Then there’s the Jets.  There are certainly bigger Gang Green fans than I am, but we explain it all away when love a team, we make excuses but the reality is…we all want the same thing.

To survive the war together.

So when people ask me why I am a sports fan, it’s the prospect of winning it all…that’s one thing.  It’s the surviving of it together.  It’s the experience of it together.

I named my first Mets blog “My Summer Family,” after a line in the movie Fever Pitch, which is what Jimmy Fallon’s character says about his Red Sox family.  He later said that he wanted to be involved with something bigger than himself.  It’s why I’ve stuck around with the Mets, the Rangers and the Jets.  To experience that feeling again.  I’ve been fortunate to experience it with two of my teams.

I guess I have to believe there is some payoff at the end.  That during the wars, and the battles, we stick around for the love of the team.

The love of the team though trumps most of the wars and battles forged though.  It’s part of our life, it’s part of our culture.

It’s part of who we are.

The Passion of the Tebow

You all know me.

DSCN5633I am not a Tim Tebow aficionado.  I probably make more excuses for Mark Travis John Sanchez than his own mother (or worse, his coach Rex Ryan).  Yet, I’m pretty much done with him too.

But I have to say, I feel bad for Tebow.  He did not deserve to be a part of this green shit show this year, at all.

He has served as a pawn in a clueless management that seeks to win headlines over actual games.

He has served as an icon for a hype-driven market.

But most of all, it’s one that has been completely unfair to him.

Mark Sanchez clearly cannot handle whatever it is he can’t handle (the voices in his head telling him he sucks, or the “death threats” he received on Twitter after Monday night’s loss).

Tebow did not deserve what he’s gotten from the Jets, which is a big gigantic ZERO.  Nothin’.  A turd, if you will.  A big fat smelly turd.

Do I like Tebow?  Look, I’ll be the first to say he’s all hype and a self-promoting media marketing machine.  Does that mean I think he’s a bad person?  Quite the contrary.  I don’t believe he’s a bad guy at all.  And he’s certainly not the bad guy in this story.

What did he do to deserve the treatment that he’s gotten from the Jets?  I certainly think at age 25 it’s unfair to pigeonhole him as “finished,” as the Washington Post said today.

First, John Elway made his role obsolete by “going for it” with Peyton “I-Look-Like-A-Milwaukee-Racing-Sausage” Manning when Manning’s job was obsolete in Indianapolis.  This was AFTER Tebow had given the Denver Broncos the chutzpah to make it in the playoffs last year.

Second, what the frigg was Mike Tannenbaum thinking?  Whatever warts and all Rex Ryan has as head coach, clearly he is Mark Sanchez’s number one supporter.  I’m sure it was with a heavy heart he decided to go with Greg McElroy in this week’s game, rather than Sanchez or Tebow for that matter.

Which leads me to this.  I’m not a Tebow fan, but I was of the frame of mind that if he was capable, he should certainly be in there, at least when Sanchez was floundering.  Which is entirely possible, as we’ve seen.  Talk about mixed messages.  First, Sanchez was given an extension, THEN Tebow was traded to the Jets.  What the hell were they thinking?  I don’t even know if THEY know what they were thinking!

All at the expense of a man’s career.  Beautiful.

Look.  You all know I am a Mets fan, right?  (If not, whose blog have YOU been reading??)  It reminds me of the situation with Aaron Heilman (before you laugh, I happen to have some Stockholm Syndrome going on with him, deal with it).  Remember he was a starter?  Typical Mets story when they rush a prospect, only to see him fail, then not know what to do with him.  They brought him back for a start, and he rewards them with a shutout one-hitter.  How do they pay him back?  By putting him in the bullpen, a role he was NOT suited for, with the carrot dangle of “If you do well, you’ll be a starter again.”  Well, guess what?  He becomes too valuable in the ‘pen, which didn’t say much because the Mets notoriously NEVER have a good bullpen.  Then what happens?  Heilman ends up blowing some significant games, and cannot gain the confidence coming into a game.

Sure, I can call him a pussy, but the moral of the story is, just another one biting the dust of Mets mismanagement when they don’t know what the hell to do with a player.

I can adapt that story to the Jets.  Why ruin a team when you can ruin the career of a decent guy who is talented and can succeed and do so much more?

Look no further than Tim Tebow.

As I’ve said, I am no Tebow fan, but he does not deserve this smear of his young uprising profession this soon in his career.  Shame on the Jets for making him a pawn in this situation.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

There are several reasons why I love being a sports fan.  Some of them have to do with the characters who have kept me a fan for such a long time.

The New York Rangers had Chief, now they have Homeboy Larry and the rest of the crew in the 400s.  The Mets have had so many characters in their fan base, it’s ridiculous.  Cow-Bell Man, Tie Guy, Pin Man, several others.  Hell, even Mr. Met is awesome.

Of course, the Jets have Fireman Ed, or “had” because he has retired his fireman’s helmet and will no longer do the J-E-T-S chant at home games.  While he’ll still attend “incognito” (I used to know his crew back in the day, so it’s possible I’ll know who he is without the helmet), you won’t have Ed Anzalone to kick around anymore.

To the Jets fans who screamed him off to the point where he did not want to do it anymore, I say – YOU ALL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.

This shitty team we have.  YOU DESERVE IT.

The “little brother” moniker.  YOU DESERVE IT.

All the jokes made at the expense of the Jets.  YOU DESERVE IT.

Notice I didn’t say that **I** deserve it.  I consider myself a mild-mannered Jets fan, if there is such a thing.  I will cop to being a loudmouth at times, usually at Rangers and Mets games especially.  Jets fans are funny, and I found that I identified with them more than others.  Probably because a lot of the roots are from Shea Stadium, a place that I grew up.

What I noticed about Mets fans is that they were working class, they had hearts of gold.  Like firefighters.  And guys like Fireman Ed.

Being a Jets fan is more than I can bear sometimes.  I’ve always kind of liked the culture of being a Jets fan.  We have a reputation of being rowdy, uncouth, loudmouths but most of all, we are nothing else but loyal.  The amount of infighting though has given me pause.  Hell it’s even given Jet Fan #1 Fireman Ed pause.

Being visible gives way to getting a lot of flak.  Fireman Ed gets a lot of flak.  With great visibility comes the necessity of a thicker skin.  And I dunno, I guess he gets it from everyone, fans and non-fans alike.  And those on the outside, who consider him a “mascot” or a “shill” or even “how difficult is it to get a cheer down during games,” I had the following from my friend @Swirlywand on Twitter describe what it was like without him.

I’ve given my dad lots of shit for making me the sports fan I am today.  Though in some ways, I’d be a totally different person (and possibly, way more boring) than I am now.  Yet, a Mets fan is one thing (they were at least moderately successful when I was younger).  The Rangers another (they have a lot of history, though not exactly one of winning, I have seen a championship in my lifetime which is more than other generations can say).

The Jets?  I still cannot believe I fell for it a long time ago.

I have to laugh though.  A guy who wears a maligned quarterback’s number to a game, that he PAYS TO GO TO gets abuse from his OWN FAN BASE.

Let me tell you something.  I went to Seattle a few weeks back to see the Jets get their asses kicked by the Seahawks.  I knew there was a possibility they’d lose (more like a HIGH probability), but Seahawks fans were nice.  They bought me drinks.  They talked about the game.  I felt more at home at a road stadium than I do at MetLife Stadium.

Say what you want about Fireman Ed, that he’s a pussy somehow, that if he can’t take the heat, etc etc.  This guy was the heart and soul of a fan base that deserves SO much more from the front office, from the team, from the fucking owner.

I know the Jets are really bad.  Like major suckitude this year.  But the amount of infighting going on within the fan base is just wrong.

Fuck you all if you need to pick on a figure head of the team.  You want a better team?  Root for another one.  I don’t know what to tell you.  All I can say is I am ashamed of some Jets fans right now.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

Smells Like Green Spirit

My husband and I get around.  We are sports fans and we LOVE to travel, therefore, we are traveling SPORTS FANS.

In the middle of all this comes the advent of social media, and we have friends in most of the states we visit.

Two baseball seasons ago, we visited Arlington, Texas, and we met some Mets fans from the San Antonio area.  When I told them we wanted to make it to a San Antonio Missions game simply to meet Ballapeño, their pepper-inspired mascot, they made it a point to mail us a stuffed critter replica.

Since then, Ballapeño Pepe Sanchez Gomez has taken a life of his own.

You won’t meet a bigger Jets fan than him.  He’s not only green but their quarterback is a Sanchez, a fellow Mexican-American.

Speaking of being a Jets fan, I often say that out of all the sports, I like football the least.  It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a game every now and then.  It’s just that I prefer baseball and hockey, and well, with hockey not being played any time soon…football is going to have to suffice.  Of course, the New York Rangers were my closest team winning a championship anytime in the near future.  But my football Jets…uh…yeah.  The furthest thing from it.  And it doesn’t seem like they’re interested in winning anything, let alone a stupid game, at all.  Just to, you know, torture me.

My husband, though, is a rare one.  He’s a Bronx boy who roots for the Mets, and his other two teams – basketball and football – have nothing to do with one another and have to do with serendipitous circumstances.  He happened to like John Stockton and Karl Malone, and roots for the Utah Jazz today as a result.  (True story, is that I also used to root for the Jazz, since they were the only team to play the Bulls it seemed when I really wanted Chicago to lose).

He happened to catch a playoff game in 1983 featuring the Seattle Seahawks.  It turns out it was their first.  He’s rooted for them ever since.

He also celebrated a milestone birthday this year.  Coupled with the Jets visiting Seattle to face his Seahawks this year, which like never ever happens, his birthday and me completing the marathon a week before (which did not go down, obviously), we figured a quick getaway to Seattle was in order.

I told Gal for All Seasons podcast regular “WHOOMP!” ThereItIs Jake that I wouldn’t mind if the Jets lost the game we were going to — I mean, a team HAS to lose right? (no one told that to San Francisco this weekend though) — but that the Jets would probably win just to fuck with me.

Well they didn’t, and even the TD they scored was completely by accident.  In fact, good friend Wooooo was nice enough to send this picture to remind me of how annoying this game was for a visiting Jets fan.

I digress.

When I was in high school, a music movement called “grunge” infiltrated our vocabulary and our ears.  This movement was based in the Pacific Northwest region, and most importantly, Seattle.  Being a huge music fan, I always made it a point to want to travel to Seattle, I just never had a reason to go.  I guess that it’s unfortunate that there will be a few states in the Union that I’ll never visit, simply because there is no baseball or the Mets won’t be visiting that year.

I’m weird.

But Seattle has baseball…so that I haven’t made it to Safeco Field at least just once yet surprises even me.  But I had no reason not to go this time.

I had never followed my football team on the road.  I had never been to Seattle.  My husband will only turn 40 once.  Therefore, it was on.

On Friday, our first full day in the caffeinated city (where I had a hard time finding a place that was non-Starbucks), we decided to do stadium tours of both Safeco and CenturyLink.  On the light rail over to the stadiums area (they are little spitting distance from one another), we met some other Jets fans in from out of town.  Though they lived on the west coast now (California), they were from Long Island.  And up to see the Jets play.

On the CenturyLink tour, we met another couple from New York where the wife was a Jets fan and the husband was a Seahawks fan.

I thought…it was nice to see others traveling to see their teams play.  No matter what side of the fence they were on.

But people were still surprised we traveled that far.  Especially with the chance of one of our teams losing.  Here’s my thoughts on that: one will have to lose.  I travel all over to see my teams play, and there’s a 50/50 chance they may lose.  I make my peace with it before I travel.  There’s more to it than just my team winning at that point.  It’s not like the Jets are going to the playoffs or anything that this game was a must-win.

So I got a drink out of it.  A few, actually.

Jets fans are known to be a little bit on the uncouth side,  a tad rowdy, and lots of fun.  I know there’s also a bit of a reputation of us being douchebags (it’s true, but let’s be fair – ALL fan bases have them), so I was curious to see how we’d be on the road.

One of the things I noticed first off, though the stadiums are in an industrial and underdeveloped area of what is known as “SoDo” in Seattle (technically borders the area), there is not a lot of parking available.  I remember reading a few years ago that Seattle is the worst state for traffic in the 50…I didn’t drive, but I can attest that it didn’t look pretty to drive around in some areas.  Kind of reminded me of Boston, essentially one highway in and out of the city.  Anyway, the next time New York fans complain about how expensive it is to park for baseball games will get smacked upside the head by me.  Parking — not even in PRIME LOTS — can cost upwards of $40-50 for events.  Talk about price gauging, hubby noticed that any other days (since we were there two days before the game), it’s like EIGHT BUCKS.  Plus, much of the prime location parking lots are covered.  Therefore, that means not lots of tailgating.

Part of the charm of going to a football game is the tailgating.  In fact, when the city talked about moving the Jets to the West Side Stadium (that was never built) a few years ago, I was dead set against it.  The traffic for game days would be abominable but also, where would we tailgate?  It would be a travesty, really, because even if the team loses, the tailgates really are a lot of fun.  Losing that is like losing the green in our team colors.

But on game days, they do make accommodations for tailgating…they actually OPEN Safeco Field on the Center Field side to the Left Field concourse and have concessions open and sell beer for “happy hour prices.”  The admission is free, but of course you pay for food.  Keep in mind this is also west coast time.  By the time this game started, many of the east coast games had finished or were finishing.  There were TVs on the games around the horn.   It was a great atmosphere.  We were disappointed we were not aware of this soiree, as we would have LOVED to show up earlier to experience some of the charm.

Jets fans were there.  We were politely heckled, but mostly, everyone kept their cool.  I can’t say it would be like that in New York/East Rutherford.  I remember seeing the Jets play the Vikings in 2002, I think, and some dude wore Helga braids and Viking horns.  I thought he was cool, but the rowdy drunk Jets fans heckled him mercilessly, to the point where I thought the dude was going to punch someone.

   

For the most part, the fans were very chill here.  On both sides.  I introduced myself to other Jets fans, and got some pics as evidenced above.  It was like we survived a war or something, traveling to follow our teams even though there was a good chance they’d lose.

Of course, they did.  Which leads me to Mark Sanchez.  I have made no bones that I am a Sanchez chick.  He’s my guy, and I don’t get why the blame gets solely put on him.  Yes, there was that funny pic of the interception which in essence changed the game dynamic.  Yes, they scored on defense, and it was a complete accident.

He’s kind of like the David Wright of the Jets, if you think about it.  The kid with talent who is completely misused, but is a complimentary player, not necessarily the “star QB.”  That’s the difference between a Sanchez and say, a Tom Brady.  Brady can carry a team, even with shitty defense.  He’s that talented.  Sanchez is talented, but if you remember two years in a row, he helped bring the team the conference championship game two years in a row.  To paraphrase President Obama, he didn’t build that.  He didn’t do it on his own.  As quickly as the Jets rose to stardom, ownership was just as quick in dismantling it by letting key players leave and injuries.

Being a Mets fan, I guess I am a little sensitive to dismantling after a successful run with no reason or rhyme

Once the game was started, we sat in a section called the Hawks’ Nest.  This was in the end zone, and I guess I was expecting a bit of a louder more rowdy crowd.  You see, CenturyLink is called the “loudest stadium,” and holy shit, when the “12th Man Flag” was raised prior to kickoff, it was deafening.  I don’t know if the blowout was the reason or just maybe I got used to it.  But while passionate, the fans were also very laidback.  There were two Jets fans sitting in front of us — we were dining our guts, meanwhile Seahawks fans were talking us down from the ledge.  It was pretty comical.

 

The first pic of the Hawks Nest is from our tour.  On game day, our weather karma ran out and it misted most of the first half, to rain-rain-rain the second half.  When we left, we walked in the rain to Chinatown, the next neighborhood over.  It didn’t let up, even as we left that evening.

Another thing I learned on the tour was that being that CenturyLink is considered the loudest stadium, and trust me, it was, some players complain about playing there.

As I got on the elevator with some other fans (Jets fans also took the tour), I was like, “I’m sorry, but aren’t these guys professionals?  ‘WAH! It’s too loud! WAH!’ What a bunch of pussies.”  That got a good laugh.  But it’s true!  Don’t go into pro sports if you can’t take a few loud fans.  /RANT

So there’s not much else to tell.  The Jets lost, and looked awful in the process.  The Seahawks won, and the Jets fans around me all talked about how their defense was sick.  Which is funny – wasn’t that supposed to be the Jets’ MO?

 

We had hoped that after the game there would still be tailgates open, but I guess like most stadiums, they close down concessions after a certain time.  Most importantly, stop serving beer.  So we hung out in Chinatown for a few hours, had some food, had some beer, and then went home.

Experiencing a road football game was something different for me.  I’ve only gone to see my baseball team on the road, and even have gone to games for the hell of it, even if my team wasn’t there.  It never occurred to me to go to a football game.  Hell, even my hockey team I didn’t follow around all that often.  Just across the river to Jersey.

In any event, I’d definitely do a trip like this again.  I’ve heard great things about M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens play, and I’ve wanted to check out Heinz Field.

All I can say is CenturyLink was a great place to watch a game – very spirited, fun stuff to do pregame.  Doubt I’ll be going back to Seattle anytime soon though.

I was disappointed though in the coffee and the music.  I didn’t find a good cup of coffee nor did I see any places to review local bands.   However, I was one of those late bloomers who didn’t appreciate Nirvana till it was too late, but I still love me some Pearl Jam.  We were also greeted by the voice of Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains at SeaTac Airport.

I came as I was, but forgot my flannels at home.

Autumn In New York

Like many business people in New York City, I work for myself and I’m able to make my own hours.  In that vain I’m able to attend to real life issues such as declaring whether the Whole Foods Market salad bar is better than Westside Market’s, or to make my Trader Joe’s shopping list (which being able to go in the afternoon rather than after traditional working hours is a godsend, since everyone and their uncle goes after work).

And like many people in New York, I’m often running errands boasting my team colors.  Today, I was bumming around in my New York Rangers shirsey, bearing the number and name of one Bradley Glenn Richards.

So it’s autumn in New York.  It’s not just a one sport town, but a multiple sport town.  There is not one but several phenomena occurring this time of year. Typically, you can count on Yankee fans getting ready for the postseason, and Mets fans get ready to root for whomever plays against them.

Football season is a few weeks old.  Jets fans typically change their mind on the team more than the weather.

Yet there’s a gaping hole this fall, and it’s not the fact that I left the Giants out of the equation (come on, no one fucking talks about them until the playoffs)…and that’s hockey.

I’m a Mets and Jets fan, yet when I wear their attire, not much gets said to me when I’m walking down the street (unless I’m with my husband, and we get the “Hey, going to the game today?” comments).  I would gather that Yankee and/or Giants fans might feel the same when they sport their team colors.

Today, as I’m walking in Trader Joe’s, not one, not two, but THREE people (each from different walks of life — one an employee, one guy who looked like he just came in from the gym and someone who was probably working in an office setting still in their business casual clothes) made a comment about the team.  Whether it was, “Man, what do you think about the lockout?”  Or “We got Nash, and now we’re not playing?”  Or “Brad Richards, huh?”  (I get that a lot, but sue me, I was excited to have him on the team last year).

Come to now with the threat of no hockey this seasons I would be willing to argue that the true heart of a New York sports fan lies in their hockey allegiance.

That’s not to say that I don’t think there are super passionate Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, hell even Knicks and Brooklyn Nets fans.  They certainly exist.  Hockey fans are from a different cloth.  There’s a deep rooted passion, and it’s almost as if being in a room with 18,000 like minded people, indoors mostly, makes it seem like we’ve survived a war.  Perhaps we’ve survived several different battles, each game a mini battle in and of itself.

The battles these days aren’t being drawn out in the ice, but rather in board rooms, with Gary Butthead, the owners and players.  Someone pointed out to me that it’s probably not the best sign that players are going back to their homeland (Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic) to play in those leagues.  It dictates that they expect this to be drawn out for a long time.

Do I need to break out the world’s smallest violin, again, for the millionaires who are arguing over pennies while the diamonds are being passed over.  Diamonds in the form of long-term relationships with the fans who support and buy into the product.

What’s most nauseating being here in New York is that I know it’s not James Dolan’s fault.  He’s a money guy, sure, but he knows that the only way he’s gonna MAKE money is if his team gets out there and plays and his fans are happy.  Fans are not happy.

But what’s more.  I am a Mets, Jets and Rangers fans.  These three teams have brought me more sorrow than joy, but there are glimpses of hope as to why I stick around long term even though they are destined to break my heart more often than not.  Two years ago, and two years in a row, the Jets made the conference championships.  The Mets…well…let’s not go there.  But let’s just say that I do remember ’86 and think that sometimes those feelings are what keep me around.

The Rangers though.  For a fan with the teams I have, this is the closest I’ve had to a championship for a long time and a team I looked forward to the last few months to watch.  A team that could take me away from the drama of Rex Ryan land and the Wilpon Follies.  As someone else pointed out to me, we get Rick Nash, and pieces are falling into place, and now these people are just agreeing to disagree and getting absolutely nowhere.

Today would have marked the first preseason game for 2012-13 season.  Yet the only thing we are marking is time.

It’s autumn in New York.  And before we know it, it will be winter in New York.

As the seasons change, one constant may not be there.  And that’s not a pleasant thought.

Soooooo Not Ready

Every year it’s the “ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL???” question that’s thrown around.

And I am SO not ready.

But I’m getting there.

Hubby and I were planning to go to the Mets game all along, on Gameday one for the NFL (though technically it DID start last Wednesday).

I had planned on writing this prior to going to the game today, but wasn’t in the mood to start up the computer (it was the Sunday morning after doing a 15 mile training run).  This is how lazy I am getting.

So we go to the baseball game.  But for good measure, I wore my Jets shirt.  You know, to be a good football fan.  Maybe THAT would get me in the mood to deal with things.

But then I managed to get bits and pieces of the game throughout the baseball game.  Funny, the stadium was practically empty, and the only time the crowd got roused up was when they posted updates on the Jets game.

Then when it was over, I was happy.  The Mets outcome was almost secondary.

My husband is a Seahawks fan.  We decided to head to a local bar to watch the game.

Our first stop was a local British pub that is a Mets-friendly bar, and the bartender told us that every Sunday the NHL package shows all games.  Till we realized that it was a Panthers bar.  Moving right along, we find another bar that has only ONE television on the Seahawks/Cardinals game.

That about did it.

So if I wasn’t ready for football yet, I am now.  All in all, the sports day could have been better for me.  The Mets could have won, and my husband could have gone home happy instead of disappointed that the Seahawks couldn’t win.

But it was good to see that I could turn it on in a flash.   I mean, it’s one game a week.  I can handle that.  I think.

IDK

I am a Jets fan.  I’ve made that clear on several occasions.  Hell, I even have a blog dedicated to my fandom of three teams, one of which is the Jets.  But football is a curious sport.  I came around late on football, although I always followed the Jets, it took me a long time to get into the rivalries and playoffs implications and having to pay attention to what other teams do.  Football is really for the ADD addled masses of our society.  It’s a one day thing (potentially spilling over to Mondays), and it gives you an excuse to drink beer, eat wings and go to bars on Sunday.  Not that a nice girl like me does things like that.

Okay.  You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, my point is, I never got Jets and Giants hating on each other.  I mean, whatever, I don’t dislike the Giants, I don’t exactly go out and buy their logo-emblazoned stuff, but I know many Giants fans and always am happy to see them happy.  This year, while watching Jets/Giants, I was at my mom’s.  Her boyfriend is a Giants fan (though if you ask me, he’s just a big NFC guy, he’ll make a special exception to the Baltimore Ravens because he likes their stadium.  Go figure).  She asked me what it was like watching a game with a Giants fan.  I shrugged.  He isn’t an idiot on Twitter, talking shit like they won the fucking Super Bowl.  But I was fine with it.  Besides, I knew the Jets season was over, win or lose.  It could have been, I dunno, the Packers for all I cared and I still would have felt “whatever” about it.

So now, I am walking around New York City, and EVERYWHERE I look, there is some kind of Giants thing around.  Whether it’s a booster, or someone posting a photo of Times Square, the Empire State Building…it’s everywhere.  This isn’t sour grapes or jealousy, it’s just something I thought of.  I was either ignorant to it or just maybe I was thinking of not jinxing anything (Yeah, remember what I said about the whole neuroses of sports fans earlier? I didn’t eat ANYTHING that was remotely Boston related when they played New England last year, and I also wouldn’t eat Heinz ketchup during the conference championship against Pittsburgh…yeah, I know)…but I don’t remember all this hullabaloo last year.

Yes, I know that the Jets practically “guaranteed” a Super Bowl entry.  I also like to point out that Mark Messier “guaranteed” a Rangers win almost 18 years ago, and ever since then, EVERYONE has “guaranteed” a win of fill-in-the-blank.  So whatever haterade coming towards the Jets is deserved.  But I seriously don’t remember such a big deal being made over the Jets last year.  I’d have barely known about it, except, I was a fan and the bar around the corner had beer specials.

I was talking to my Jets blogging touchstone, Jon Presser, earlier on Twitter, and we started off talking about the Mets, then I asked if there was this much attention being paid to the Jets last year.

I got a kick out of that.  After all, I’ve seen it myself.  I really don’t get it.  Football fans can hate whomever they want, but I’m sure there are teams that Jets fans should hate, and they’re not in the NFC.  I also don’t mind when Jets fans root for “New York,” though I don’t particularly do that myself.  Depending on the matchups, I decide who I am rooting for.  But that’s besides the point.  My issue is that Rex Ryan has said he doesn’t want the Jets to be “little brother” in this town.  They fell short, but I see what he means.  It wouldn’t have friggin mattered if the Jets went to the Super Bowl or won last year.  Because they didn’t make it this year, and the Giants are one game away from it, well, that is everything.  I know, woe is us, but I can’t catch a goddamn break with my teams. UGH!

When I said I didn’t dislike the Giants or their fans, yet it seems there’s an incredible amount of hatred towards the team in green, this was the response I got.

Well, look, here it is.  I wish my friends who root for the Giants the best of luck.  All I know is I will be a happy camper-ette if the Patriots lose.  Like Jon said, would the hypocrites come to roost, or because the team wasn’t expected to “do anything” this year, and they’re in the championship game, does it mean it was a success?

IDK.  But according to those same folks, the Jets not making it past the AFC conference game two years in a row meant nothing.  Well, I have to agree.  I would have liked it to go further and they didn’t do shit this year.  But if NYG’s don’t make it to the big show after Sunday, I don’t want to hear it.  Goddammit, anyway.

Meet The *New* Jets (Same As The *Old* METS)

Perhaps The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is one of the most plagiarized songs in sports.  If you think about it, the whole “Meet the old boss/same as the new boss” line gets rehashed over and over…and over and over…and over some more, and once again, in the sports lexicon.  No matter what sport, team or pro/amateur, whatever, we can always use that line to describe how a team we follow has performed.

I promised myself never to do that, since I believe it to be cliche.  Yet, I haven’t weighed in on the whole Jets performance at the end of the season for that very reason: it’s a cliche.  You have a semi-new “boss” who has talked a big game and practically predicted a championship  each year since his hiring.  You have a young stud hotshot whose hopes for the future have been pinned upon.  You have a bunch of mercenaries playing on a team that really just care about personal performance, but aren’t “team” guys.

Factor in a New York (“big market”) team facing a Miami (“small market”) team on the last game of the season with playoff implications for the big team and what do you have?  A recipe for disaster.

You may think I’m talking about the Jets, but I’m not entirely.  You see, I’ve read this story before.  It’s happened to the Mets as well.

I’ve often argued that 2006 for the Mets was the aberration: the year that should have never happened.  Yet, at the time, I was drinking the Kool-Aid like everyone else, or rather, I was just enjoying the time and place in front of me.  But who believed they wouldn’t at least *MAKE* the playoffs that year?  I can say until I’m blue in the face that the last series of 2007 for the baseball Mets was not the killer — we could point to any series lost against the Phillies after All-Star Break that year, not to mention the series before against the Washington Nationals where if they only won just ONE goddamn game, we wouldn’t be even blinking an eye about their floundering now — but rather it was indicative of the whole season.  The giant falls, and we’re not talking baseball or football giant, we’re talking a big market team, no matter what the pro sport.

But look at the Jets.  A team that simply got too big for its britches.  A team that believed everything its big talking coach told them, a team that believed its young stud quarterback wasn’t actually overrated.  Hey, you know what, I don’t apologize for liking Mark Sanchez.  He’s young, and may even be successful without the fish bowl of New York media.  But I’ve gotten attacked on Twitter for saying Eli Manning was overrated (so the fuck what about a Super Bowl title), but I was also saying that the Jets aren’t much better in that department.

Then look at how the Mets floundered in 2007.  I’ve often said the denouement of that quasi-dynasty was Carlos Delgado.  And he was barely a Met.  Yet, he came to the team, and they rode his confidence.  Yet, the second he started to slump, so did the team right behind him.  Perhaps Billy Wagner put it best when he looked to his locker after a game in 2008 and said, “f**kin shocker” in response to being interviewed in a game where he didn’t even play.

Substitute Santonio Holmes on the Jets for Carlos Delgado on the Mets, and you have yourself a good comparison. I have to admit that I like Holmes, and even past tense, especially when he was on the Steelers (for some reason, I have a lot of friends who are Steelers fans).  He’s been criticized by Joe Namath, but also by his own teammate LaDainian Tomlinson.  Injured reserve rookie QB Greg McElroy didn’t name names, but didn’t really have to when he said that the Jets locker room was infiltrated by selfish personalities.

If you look back to the reasons why the Mets faltered late in the season in both 2007 and 2008, there were rumors that a faction led by Carlos Delgado kind of undermined their “boss” Willie Randolph.  To be honest, I was not a fan of Willie Randolph, but it seemed like a bit of a longshot that Delgado or anyone on the team woud have tanked on purpose just to get him fired.  On the flip side, there was almost a direct correlation to the team doing better (especially specific players) after Randolph’s midnight firing.

So does this mean that the rumors were true — that Holmes, among others, were just tanking to get Brian Schottenheimer fired?  If that’s the case, then fuck ‘em, these are professionals who should be playing to win.  Not lose to spite a coach they are not fond of IF IN FACT that is the case.  Yet, it’s doubly wrong and implies that Holmes, a team captain, wasn’t even trying for whatever reason, mostly selfish.

Back after the 2006 season, the Mets came out of nowhere to come within a game of making the World Series.  Each year after that, their performance has gotten worse and worse, and more embarrassing by the season.  Now, they are almost in a rebuild mode (a hybrid of cutting ties with “dead weight” and ties to previous losing seasons, and letting the young guys play, whether they win or lose).  Taking a cue from the public service announcement that “It Gets Better.”  For the Mets, though, it’s gotten progressively worse, and should continue to get worse before it ever gets better.

In 2007 and 2008, the Mets had respective season-ending series against the Florida (Now “Miami”) Marlins that could have swayed their playoff position.  I’ve argued that there were games each season that they SHOULD HAVE won and COULD HAVE won but DID NOT.  So when those series were lost, yes, it sucked, but I just took it.  The same goes for this big market football team, losing to a subpar team located in Miami, in a game where a win could have changed everything.  By the same token, a win anywhere else in the preceding three weeks could have changed everything too.

I root for three major New York teams — the Mets, the Jets and the Rangers.  Each one incompetent in their own special way.  But the Mets and Jets have more similarities than I care to admit.  And yet, I have to wonder if after a taste of almost success in making it to the conference championship could have been just enough of a taste for a team that didn’t make it quite as far as they should have.

The Jets are in a bind.  They believed their own hype and became too big for their britches and then what happens? Players start to quit.  And it becomes a bigger story than the team itself.  They lose games they should be winning by considerable margins.  But that’s just it: THE ENTIRE FUCKING SEASON WAS LIKE THAT.  I could go back to when they started 2-3 after losing three straight on the road.  Winning just ONE of those road games would have made a difference.  The shitshow back in November after Thanksgiving.  All in all, the Jets have no one to blame but themselves, since it’s a team loss.  But if you are having individual players making individual decisions about how the team should operate…then expect more of the same, as long as Mark Sanchez, whipping boy du jour, is around.

Kamikaze Jets

My husband is a "12th Man" for Seattle

My husband is a Seattle Seahawks fan.  True story.  He started watching them in December of 1983, and became a die hard ever since.  No one ever told my husband he was “basic,” and that’s the truth.  Although he’s a local Mets fan (but he grew up in the Bronx of course), his basketball team is located in Utah (Jazz), and football team is in a city he’s never visited (Seattle, natch).

Imagine his surprise when last year during the football playoffs, AM New York had a feature on team-focused bars, and they featured Carlow East, a Seattle Seahawks-fan bar that broadcasts every game (and since the Seahawks aren’t exactly a “national” team like, say, the Dallas Cowboys are, it’s rare he gets to see them on National TV).  They don’t have a kitchen, but they have cheap drinks, and are chill about allowing you to bring food into the establishment.  But on football game days, they do bring in a buffet.  Just your standard pastas, salads, wings, and wares like sausage and peppers.  Drawbacks are that they don’t make mimosas (no sparkling wine), don’t have coffee (so no nutty Irishmen or other adult coffee drinks), and they’re on the East Side of the island which is like Guam to me.  BUT they made up a lot of ground by offering us take out menus (an extensive list) and by suggesting I get my own coffee from across the street, and then charging me for a “shot” to “nutty it up,” as the bartender said.

For a brief moment, I wished I was a Seahawks fan, or just a team that doesn’t exactly have “local” roots.  During the game, they had Seahawks based chants like “SEA-Fense!” or “Sea! HAWKS! Sea! HAWKS!”  Whenever the Seahawks scored a touchdown, they gave everyone a round of Seahawk-blue inspired Kamikaze shots.  (Similar to what the Chapmans do on Mets opening day each year, they substitute Blue Curacao to give the margaritas a blue tinge, as opposed to using just plain ol’ Triple Sec, a colorless orange liqueur).

    

Yes, we went from euphoria (well, as euphoric as I can get watching a game with no rooting interest…but I did appreciate being there with a fan base I know so little), to watching the Jets game.  The life of a Jets fan, of course.

Anyone have a hit of Viagra I can use?  That game was as flaccid as…well…never mind.  Simply, the Jets were just awful.  It was so bad that I actually enjoyed, THOROUGHLY enjoyed cleaning my house.  I even cleaned the cat’s litter boxes.  My house is now clean, but the Jets still got annihilated.  At least I can hang my hat on THAT, watching it in a clean house.

So what went wrong?  Well, whatever it was went very RIGHT for the Eagles, a team I cannot stand.  Look, nothing business, just personal.  I hate the goddamn city.  I hate that they have a NYC complex (they should already know we’re the superior city).  I hate Michael Vick (Sorry but I actually DO think most animals should be treated better than people).  I hate the Phillies.  I hate all their stinking drunk idiot fans.  And they ALL spill over into the Linc when the Phillies aren’t playing.  I have an exception for Flyers fans though.  They seem to know their shit.  I can respect that.  All I know is for all the goodwill that the Phils are bringing to their city, sportswise, no one fucking appreciates it.  They’d give it all up for ONE Super Bowl ring, and they all know it.

Now that I got THAT out of my system.  The things that went RIGHT for the Iggles?  Well they proved that not only practice makes perfect (they have a chance to bounce into the playoffs after a lackluster start to the season, how about that for some shit), but that studying does indeed go the extra mile or in this case, extra few hundred yards or so.  The Eagles found the weakness of the Death Star of Jets defense, as they were running plays easily being called.  Fab.

I suppose if there were a game they had to lose, it would be today.  In the category of how ’bout that for some shit, still, the Jets didn’t technically lose any ground.  Huh.  It’s not going to be easy of course, considering they had their life in their hands, and blew it.  Well, all I can say is they better fuckin’ win next week, in the Toilet Bowl as EJ from Happy Recap called it on Twitter yesterday.  Because Sexy Rexy is running his fuckin’ mouth AGAIN.  Look, say what you want about Rex Ryan, but he always flaps his trap (he won’t stop so we may as well enjoy it).  Yet, he can admit where he’s wrong afterwards and ALWAYS takes the heat off his players when it comes down to it.  Seriously though, after this shit show the NY fans had to be subjected to this week?  Although with the shoe on other foot, when the Giants countered with a trash-talk won’t help the Jets, but hey, this game has just as much bearing on the G-men too.

If all was right in the world, this game would mean nothing but bragging rights to the winning fan base (and honestly, I don’t dislike the Giants. I just prefer the Jets).  But lately there’s been a lot of “my overrated quarterback is better than YOUR overrated quarterback” so I’d nothing better than to bash the Giants’ skulls in at any chance.  Yet this game is all of a sudden a must-win scenario for either team.

JUST WHAT I NEED ON CHRISTMAS EVE WHEN I’M AT MY MOM’S, PEOPLE.

I started the day drinking Kamikaze shots in honor of my husband’s team, while the Jets shitbombed their own kamikaze attack on themselves to make a game that should have meant nothing mean everything.

Sounds about right to me.  Merry Fucking Christmas, Jets fans.

The Decemberists

Football games in December, especially in the northeast, midwest and any place typically north, are well-known to be cold.  We’ve been fortunate in New York this season though.  On days that you would expect to be just cold (not even factoring in “bitter” or “wind chill”), it’s been balmy and dare-I-say “unseasonable” weather.  My dream is to someday live in San Francisco, and we’ve been blessed with Bay Area-like weather.

Of course, not on the day I was scheduled to go a game.  But as you see, my friend and I dressed appropriately.  A few years ago, I read an article about dressing for games during the playoffs at Lambeau Field.  I remember the guy had like 10 different layers, but most importantly, thermals with the butt flap.  We don’t have it that bad, at least, not yet.  But for me, I had thermals on, a sweatshirt, my Jets jersey, jeans, a North Face, a scarf, and I had gloves.  I didn’t really need the gloves, and I had a hat for a break-in-case-of-emergency.  My friend wore her Jets cap though, for reasons other than weather (I’ll get to that in a minute).

Dee, who posts for Metscellaneous, and I met a few years ago.  Brought together by our love for the Mets (and baseball), we realized we had some eerie things in common.  We’re both only children, we like to write (which is technically how we met), we both don’t like raw tomatoes (but we like tomato-products…I have a hard time explaining this to other people, but luckily, she gets it), we love margaritas and chain restaurants (don’t judge), and we’re both born in December.  It’s irony, really, because we are not WINTER folks (though, that is her last name..again, irony), but we can identify with the season and having our birthdays overshadowed by everyone else getting into the holiday spirit.

I never got the whole “this is your Christmas AND birthday gift,” mainly because I’m an only child and my parents never were torn in other directions.  What we did get, though, was the whole nightmare of trying to plan birthday parties that were convenient for your friends, family and kids’ parents.  I have a better appreciation for it now as an adult.  But now since we’re adults, we’re taking matters into our own hands.  We not only decided to have a joint birthday party and “share” our friends and the wealth of having a December birthday (and some people can get territorial about their friends, go figure), we said, hey, we can’t go to a baseball game for our birthdays…but we CAN go to a football game.

So December 11th it was, against the Kansas City Chiefs.  I was so concerned about buying tickets for this game, yet we were told at the tailgate we went to that we could have easily waited till that week and gotten super-cheap tickets in the upper levels.  It ended up not mattering either way, and I’ll get to that later.

So first things first, we meet at Penn Station, me with coffees in hand and we chill for the train to Secaucus, and transfer to Meadowlands.  We’re there before 10:30 am.  That may seem early but when you’re tailgating, the time passes very quickly.

I went to the same tailgate I attended back in October, when I went to the game against the Dolphins.  My friend Kevin is part of a tailgate group, where they basically have a communistic set up of beverages, snacks, real food, and then other wares, like chairs and wood-burning stoves.  Kevin is married to another baseball chick I know, Sharon, and she came to celebrate our birthdays (since this was the birthday game).  Sharon ended up going to the game, which wasn’t part of the original plan, but it ended up benefiting us for several reasons.  One is that we love Sharon and she’s a lot of fun to hang out with…the other is that later on, we got to sit with Kevin and a few of his friends in the 200 level.

 

Dee and I were greeted with a strawberry margarita (courtesy of Kevin’s battery-operated margarita maker), and there were comforts of home such as yummy food and wood-burning stoves.  We didn’t really need it though, since you can see I lost my scarf and had my coat al fresco after a bit (plus I was drinking a frozen alcoholic drink).  The guy on top of the truck was leading us in a J-E-T-S chant, and the dude in the middle of our photo is Frank, the ringleader of the L11 tailgate.  There was also a filming of a television show that these dudes were pitching to Food Network, for I guess best tailgate burger.  Frank was the winner of the golden spatula.

I wanted to get there earlier, after all there were huevos rancheros on the menu there, because two and a half hours does go by quickly.  After all, times flies when you’re having fun.  It came time to go into the stadium and root for the Jets.  It was Dee’s first live football game, after all.  And yes, I’m trying to set a record for the most “after alls,” in one paragraph.

Our seats weren’t terrible, but because they were underneath the lights, we got dripped on! (It rained here midweek, but I guess the sun shining brightly for days afterwards led it to melt any ice that may have formed).  I felt like I was back in the Mezzanine at Shea, when you were underneath the awning, even if it had rained like a week before, if there was a puddle, you got dripped on.

 

 

We had a pretty good view of the field, more so than my first game of the season where I was behind the goal post.  Don’t get me wrong: those seats were awesome on the 100 level, and my friend basically just gave the ticket to me so he wouldn’t eat it.  But the drawback here were the drips…Dee had to put on her hat so that it wouldn’t drip on her head! We had a good view of Fireman Ed here (as evidenced above), but the crowd really wasn’t going strong till later in the first quarter.

Sharon told us her husband had some empties by him, and we should head down there.  Good thing we did!  We stayed there the second half, and for the rest of the game.  Look how sweet these seats were!!

 

 

We had a better view of Fireman Ed, who basically has carte blanche to do anything at JetLife Stadium.

As for the game, yeah, it was a blowout, and as well it should have been.  There wasn’t much to say except Mark Brunell came in the game eventually to relieve Sanchez, since there was no point in keeping him in there.  The Jets are now in control of their own destiny too, as far as playoffs go.  That can be a good or bad thing.  Mostly good, since they don’t have to rely on other teams losing, but then they have to depend on winning and we all know how well that can go sometimes.  I have an impeccable record for Jets games though, and now so does Dee.

When we walked out, we had another post-game tailgate to hit with another December baby, the friend we affectionately refer to as Woooooo because of his greeting on social media networks.  He is the consummate host, offering us beers, different types of foods (rice and beans, london broil, bison burgers, dogs)…there was even a birthday cake, since his is coming up this week. Sure, the cake was half-eaten by the time we got there, but it was still yummy nonetheless, and a great capper of the evening.

 

NJ Transit is ass-backwards as far as game day travel is, but we had a finite time to return which was 5:48, the last train out of dodge.  Of course, they kept us waiting and waiting and waiting, and the train Dee wanted to take back was missed by literally two minutes.  Not to fret, we decided to go outside to get some hot cocoa at Dunkin’ Donuts.  She casually mentions, yeah I’d like to see the tree.  I say, hey, what else do we have to do tonight.  So after the game, we pranced all over the city and did touristy things and made the day even more complete.

 

(Some bears made a special appearance)

As we walked towards the L7 tailgate after the game, I asked Dee what she thought about the game.  It’s a different atmosphere than a baseball game, for sure, she said.  She did say she almost liked it a bit better than baseball.  I can understand.  Nothing will ever replace my love for a spring or summer day game or even a night game, socializing with friends, drinking booze, eating nachos.  But it can get diluted for me, which is sad, but it is what it is.  Like Dee, we go to way many more baseball games.  This has to do with proximity, availability and the number of games.  I get a little jaded at times simply because I go to many games.  I can take it for granted.

Football games are special though.  There aren’t many, but there’s a lot of commitment in going to a game.  Woooooo told us there was a friend of his in the tailgate who drove up every weekend from Washington, D.C.  D.C.!!!!  I bitch and moan about NJ Transit having a pain in the ass schedule on game days.  This is especially dedicated for tailgaters too, like Wooooo and Sports Yenta (whom I met yesterday, oy!) and Frank and Kevin and everyone else.  Thank you all for hosting us and making our birthday game special.

Dee and I were bonded by birthdays and baseball, and always hated that we couldn’t spend our birthdays going to baseball games.  What a crock!  We should have been grateful for what we did have, and that’s football…but then again, we are Jets fans, so that could have something to do with it.  But now we have our own tradition and are making it our own.  So as I’ve said before, I not only gained a baseball friend, I gained a baseball sister.

So happy, happy birthday to my dearest Dee.  May all your wishes come true, and I hope you look back on this game with as much fondness as I do you!