So, I guess you’re all wondering: “What the hell does any of this have to do with your favorite sports franchise, and where are we at this point with regards to that?”
Great question. Let’s get a breakdown of where we stand with the big four American sports up to the age of eleven, shall we?
BOSTON RED SOX
Even with fifty percent of my bloodline being of New York descent, the New York Yankees really never had a shot. If there was one team I was never going to root for in all of sports, according to my father’s Bostonian side of the family, it was the New York Freakin’ Yankees. My Grandfather, who was a diehard New York Giants fan, was still holding out hope that I might join his big blue bunch, but he wasn’t a fan of the Yankees really. He was a New York Giants fan in baseball, as well, until they left for San Francisco. Then, with the Dodgers leaving for LA during the same year, he had no other options besides the Yankees, and he wasn’t in any possible way going to pull for me to root for them.
He had two personal experiences with Lou Gerhig that rubbed him the wrong way. One of which was an incident with Gehrig at IB Cohen’s in New Rochelle where Lou fired a belt from across the store at my grandmother, who worked there, because he was upset with the tailoring craftsmanship of one of the suits he bought there. So, Lou and the Yankees were done for life as far as he was concerned. My pop actually hated the Yankees after that incident, and almost enjoyed the fact that I was rooting for Gehrig’s rival. “He was such a jerk”, he’d say on countless occasions. So, the Red Sox won by default, I guess. It would finally pay off being a Red Sox fan in the most dramatic of all possible fashions, by the 21st century, but man, that 20th century was a grueling struggle.
The loss to the Mets in that 1986 World Series was the first time a sporting event result ever made me cry. And it infuriated me that Buckner would take the fall for that series loss. I always blamed Stanley’s wild pitch sending Mitchell home to tie it as the real crucial error of that game. Not to mention, Buckner was playing with Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series level injury. The fact that he was even out there to begin with was a miracle. And even if he did get that ball to take a favorable hop into his glove, I’m convinced Mookie beats him in a race to the bag anyway. AND even if Bill somehow did make the out at first, IT’S STILL A TIE GAME NOW BECAUSE OF THAT DAMN WILD PITCH!
Please, don’t get me going on Buckner being unjustly labeled as the choker of that possible championship drought ending error for multiple decades. It’s one of the biggest fallacies in professional baseball history. The Wayniac can personally attest to multiple occasions where he’s seen me rip into someone, like Eminem versus Papa Doc, for screaming “Buckner!” at me for being a Red Sox fan. That, and Scott Norwood for taking the fall as a choke artist for missing his longest attempt on grass in Super Bowl 25 are probably the top two misrepresented conclusive assessments of a sporting event outcome that get my blood boiling the most. Ask an NFL kicker today if they consider a 47-yarder on grass as a chip shot, especially in that situation. Don’t get me going on that Norwood kick. By the time I’m done with you, your retort will just be handing the mic to Mekhi Phifer.
The Boston Celtics. Done. They had me at “Hello”. Plus, my first organized basketball season was for the Celtics in Louisiana, and we were as dominant as that Larry Joe Bird Era Celtics.
The loss to Magic and the Lakers in the 1985 Finals was my first experience of feeling personal devastation, due to having a strong emotional attachment to a team. And that Celtics title in 1986 was the only thing making that first tortured fifth grade year in Pennsylvania a little bit easier to deal with, because I totally emersed myself in that season as a form of escape from the reality around me. Larry’s Celtics were more than a team to me. They were extended family that made feel like a winner during the roughest part of my upbringing, and I’ll never forget how much I needed to lean on them during that time.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m a true hockey fan, so I won’t. I know true hockey fans are very judgmental about who is worthy of being considered a real fan, and who isn’t. But I hope the Bruins win it every year. I’ll just leave it at that.
This is where it gets tricky. Now, as we can see from the other three sports, the city of Boston has my heart on lockdown. Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins. But no New England Patriots. Obviously, if I had been raised in Massachusetts, I would have considered the Patriots as a Boston team, which they obviously are, but because they were not the Boston Patriots, my eleven year old sports rooting heart didn’t see it that way.
So, my football rooting fandom was completely up for grabs, and not having a geographical tie to any franchise because of our constant moving around, it made it all the more difficult to settle on one. The NFL curtains didn’t help matters. I had every franchise hanging from the windows. A full Chargers pajamas set at one point. A Terry Bradshaw jersey. A short lived Dan Marino jersey. A San Francisco 49ers helmet lamp on my desk. A “Property of the Cowboys” t-shirt, which was obviously a boldfaced lie at that stage of my life.
TO BE CONTINUED IN THIS FINAL NFL SUNDAYS WITH SBJ
2016 NFL REGULAR SEASON OVERALL
2016 NFL REGULAR SEASON SIDE
2016 NFL REGULAR SEASON MONEYLINE
2016 NFL REGULAR SEASON TOTAL POINTS
BRONCOS +3.5 @ CHIEFS -3.5
PICK: CHIEFS -3.5 & UNDER 38.5
PEOPLES FAVORITE HOUSE CROSS(PFHC)
LIONS +6.5(-105) @ COWBOYS -6.5(-115)
PICK: COWBOYS -6.5(-115) & UNDER 47(-115)
HOUSE FAVORITE SPECIAL(HFS)
See ya, Sunday.