Sunday, January 29, 2012
Are the Knicks the New Mets?
A couple of days ago, our own Hater J admitted that his favorite basketball team, the New York Knicks, are now basically the same as that other orange and blue team from New York, Snoot and M@d $cientist's beloved New York Mets. This sent me into a rage that only 5 or 6 glasses of expensive Scotch could snap me out of. Why would a comparison like this rub me the wrong way to that extent? Aren't the Knicks an insult to Dr. Naismith's creation and don't I spend 90% of my precious time on Earth complaining about how shitty they are? Of course. But are they on par with the Mets? Not even close.
In order to put this idea to rest, let's do a quick comparison of the two down on their luck franchises:
Both teams have had 2 championships, at least one other championship series, winning seasons and loads of horrible seasons. The Knicks, however, are one of the original NBA teams and the Mets were a fill in squad for the baseball team that abandoned New York. The Knicks are widely recognized as a flagship franchise of their sport (even though they've been a joke of a team for 10 years), while the Mets are widely ridiculed by everyone in the world.
Madison Square Garden's upper level seats are a pretty lousy place to watch a basketball game, but as your mind drifts off to a happy place there's at least one pleasant diversion in the numerous jerseys hanging near the ceiling. The Knicks have retired the jerseys of some of the greatest who ever played such as Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier, Patrick Ewing, Dave Debusschere and Lee Nailon (just kidding). The Mets' legends are coke heads, Tom Seaver and Sam Champion's boyfriend.
Even with the Knicks being perennial losers, and the overall mood of their home arena being similar to that of an angry town hall meeting rather than a premiere sporting event, Madison Square Garden is still one of the more prestigious sports venues in the world. While it might no longer live up to it's nickname of "The world's most famous arena",there's still something special about the Garden. The lighting is a little different than any other NBA arena besides Staples Center for Lakers game which adds to the drama, and despite the Knicks' woes opposing players still get up for playing there. Kobe and Jordan made MSG their number one arena for putting up huge ,historic nights simply because it was the "mecca" of basketball. Shea and now Citi Field ,on the other hand, inspire opposing players to do nothing but plan their nights out at Scores the evening before the game. Citi's a little less terrible, but Shea might have had the worst atmosphere in all of sports, from the constant airplanes flying overhead, the ugly orange seats and the crappy over priced food to that stupid God damned apple that pops out of that hat. Citi has upgraded the food but unfortunately the rest of what I just mentioned still remains.
The two teams fan bases possess a few of the same characteristics: an almost laughable loyalty, ability to routinely get punched in the gut yet come back for more, a sometimes ridiculously optimistic outlook before every season. There are some glaring differences between Knicks and Mets fans though. Go to a Knicks game and you are guaranteed to see three types of people: hot girls, rich people and celebrities. At a Mets game you are guaranteed to see none of those things. The Mets don't even have an iconic bleacher section to call their own like that section of die-hard Yankee fans at the stadium. They have a "picnic area". Lame. The Knicks routinely draw a number of A, B and C list celebs who probably know nothing about basketball along with the actual basketball fans like Spike Lee, Matthew Modine and Leon (ok forget I mentioned Leon). The Mets draw Jerry Seinfeld a few times a year and once a year Lady Gaga terrorizes people in the stands. Most importantly, the mindset of the Knicks and Mets fan (with the exception of the occasional overlapping Mets/Knicks fans) are drastically different. The Mets fan expects to lose, while the Knicks fan usually has the obnoxious ability to always see the bright side just like Yankees and Giants fans. Also, the Knicks are no one's little brother.
We know both teams have histories as losers but this category may be the only one that the Mets have over the Knicks (just ask any Mets fan they'll no doubt tell you). The Knicks have been an embarrassment to the city ever since Patrick Ewing was traded while the Mets have had their ups this century (a world series appearance, a couple of stellar seasons) and downs (blowing seemingly insurmountable division leads, the Madoff scandals) but overall have been a much more successful franchise in the past 10 years, which isn't saying much in comparison to the Knicks but still it's something.
This one automatically goes to the Knicks since, well, they don't have a mascot (unless you count African American film directors) and the Mets have a guy with a big baseball head. The Knicks also have a dance troupe of super hot girls who come out about once a quarter to shake their asses to Chris Brown songs.
Hoo boy, this is a tough one. It's kind of like comparing syphilis and chlamydia. The Wilpons were the victim of the most famous Ponzi schemer in history, and prior to that made numerous moves to run the franchise into the ground. Our own Snoot has shunned his beloved Mets until these assholes sell the team or die (in no particular order). Jimmy Dolan, on the other hand, not only makes unbelievably awful moves year after year (the list goes on and on) but also has the stench of a spoiled rich kid who was undeservedly gifted reign of the Cablevision empire - and the sports teams that go along with it - and has been rightfully blamed for the Knicks' downfall. Which putrid owner is worse though? What with the Mets mired in debt and Dolan's love affair with Isiah Thomas and his signature move now beginning to look like a mistake, I'll call this one a push. A very, very sad push for New York city.
Prospects for the Future
It looks pretty ugly for both teams looking into the near future. The Mets didn't bother giving their best player a solid offer and have been unloading many of their more promising pieces in a desperate move to get out from under the Madoff curse. The Knicks were looking like they were on an upswing until they started playing basketball games. Now, the Carmelo trade looks like it might have undid any good that was done in the first half of the Amare era. Still, with two superstar players the Knicks are in a slightly better place than the Mets are at this point (but not by very much).
Advantage: Knicks (barely)
As you can see, the Knicks - while undoubtedly a miserable excuse for a basketball franchise of late - dominate their orange and blue counterparts in most categories. The fact of the matter is, though, both fan bases have been like battered spouses for much of the past 50 years. Always promised change, only to be kicked in the stomach every year, but we keep coming back for more. Whichever franchise is shittier, we can all agree on one thing: our team sucks.