About seven (and change) years ago, my dad sent my uncle and me an email. The Mets were doing well (as can be expected, with Art Howe at the helm), and he wanted to get excited about something. Meanwhile my beloved Uncle Gene made the cardinal sin of writing in blue and orange caps in a very large font “LET’S GO METS!”
A few days later, “Black Friday” occurred and the Mets went on a losing streak, and that season was never to be. Of course, my dad spent a majority of the time blaming Uncle Gene about his email. To which Gene-oh replied, “Well, if you had written, I’d have blamed you too.”
Something else about the superstitious nature of fans. When the reality is, it doesn’t matter if we wear a certain shirt, or hat, or as my friend Rob during the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run, forbid his bartender to clean out the ashtray where he was putting out his butts. But I guess if we’re rooting for a certain outcome, and we’re a part of something larger than ourselves, I guess we need to shoulder some of the blame, or at least feel like it anyway.
The Rangers lost last night to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It wouldn’t so entirely bad if it wasn’t two games after losing to the Canadiens. By the same score. 4-1. And almost the same situation occurred: Rangers fall 1-0 early in the game, come back to tie, then the opposition scores three in the last period. If they hadn’t won the game before, maybe it would be a downer. But it’s funny because everyone is talking about the “slump” that the Rangers are supposedly in. Yes, they’ve lost three out of the last five games. But they’ve still had a successful month, somewhat.
Yet, I go back to my dad’s “Black Friday” email, Rob’s cigarette refuse and our quirks that make us fans. Some of us are dopes, that’s no doubt. But the biggest dope of them all, our fearless owner James Dolan basically made sure that the Rangers wouldn’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals by referring to a pact that Glen Sather made with him a while back. In this pact, there was an item exchange, and Dolan replied that Sather wouldn’t be able to return this item until the next time the Rangers won the Cup.
Bold statement, being at the time, the Rangers hadn’t made the playoffs in seven years. But then he sweetens this piece of information by saying, “I think we’re pretty close to getting that thing back.”
I’d like to say that’s the first time an owner of one of my team’s has said something stupid. After all, Fred Wilpon has had many of those moments, that keep getting repeated to this day. Such as “skill sets” or “meaningful games in September.” But, meh, whatever, Dolan made a bold statement, and possibly the media got out of hand by taking what he said out of context. He didn’t say, “We’re a lock for the cup this year.” He just said he expected to get that item back very soon. “Very soon” could indeed be in the course of a few more seasons. We don’t know. This was a pact made years ago, and perhaps soon is just relative, right?
Oh, who am I kidding? This is the type of drivel that Rangers fans are a) dying to pounce on and b) beat the crap out of Dolan for even THINKING it, not to mention saying it out loud. Look, I’ve said that I love watching this team, because I feel like they can’t lose. I go into every game as a fan thinking they have a shot to win. This is a game, and we take the wins, we take the losses. And it seems like Glen Sather finally took an opposite drink of whatever he was doing in previous years and actually built a good hard-working team that wants to win and wants to earn something. I think that’s great.
Just don’t fuckin’ SAY it, Dolan. Okay? I mean, if they were on their way on the playoffs, I’d say it was fair game, even then ill-advised. Since this is a guy who never opens his mouth except to put a bottle of alcohol in it. Bold, yes. Ill-advised, hell yes. Just don’t say it. They’ve lost two games by the same amount and everyone is freaking out.
We all do and say stupid shit as fans, that’s nothing new. But when your owner says it, it’s easy to point and say, “It’s HIS fault this is happening!” I would be lying to tell you I wasn’t thinking of the Cup this year, with the way this team has been playing. Then there are games like the last few that make them seem like a real inconsistency. Then again, you don’t win every game. But next time, Jim, just shut your mouth. No one wants to hear what you’re saying, especially a neurotic fan base. Kthxbye.