Regional Sports

New York sports stuck in quicksand

AP photo

The Boston Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series after a 6-5 victory over the heavily favored Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 in the American League Division Series at Fenway Park Monday night. The Red Sox won the ALDS in four games.

In New England, the people called it a Monday.

All New Englanders know is winning when it comes to pro sports since 2002. The Boston Red Sox won four championships, New England Patriots won six, Boston Bruins won one and the Boston Celtics won one.

It could be the Red Sox may win another World Series championship, and it would be ho-hum. It would be so boring for New Englanders since they are used to it.

If winning could ever be boring here in New York. It used to be at one time in the 90s when our sports teams would be winning championships. Now we are lucky if we can see one again in our lifetime.

Since 2012, all of our teams just lose. We haven’t witnessed a Canyon of Heroes parade in our town since the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012 against the mighty Patriots. It has been nothing but downhill. Mayor Bill de Blasio will leave the mayor’s office after this year without hosting a championship parade of an NYC team in his failed two-term as mayor.

The Islanders served as the best chance to end this drought, but they bombed in Game 7 against the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning by losing 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals this past spring. They did not score, and they lost on a Nick Leddy line change. Their stars came up small.

You can say it was a success that in a sense they were the only team that took the Lightning to seven games of all the Lightning’s opponents. You can even say they advanced further than last season when they lost to the Bolts in six.

But in this town, people only want to see championships and nothing else. That’s how teams and players are judged. The Rangers had great teams under the Henrik Lundqvist era but with no Stanley Cup to show for it, they have become an afterthought here. The Islanders are in danger of being labeled as a nice team that can’t win it all if they can’t get it done this year. They can only have so many opportunities.

The Islanders should be stacked to win it all, but the problem is the Lightning are still great. They are going to have to go through them again to get to the Stanley Cup Final. It remains to be seen if they can do that. The Lightning boast more firepower than the Islanders. Sure the Islanders can win it with great coaching, excellent defense and stellar goaltending, but the Lightning have those components as we saw the last two seasons.

The Rangers and Devils stunk in the last few years, and I don’t see how they are going to be any better this year or next year.

The Yankees failed to win a championship and make a World Series appearance for the 12th straight season. They flamed out once again by losing to the Red Sox in the wild-card game last week. They haven’t done much with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres. It’s hard to believe they can get it done with this core when they showed they can’t. It was another uninspiring season.

Don’t expect changes by the Yankees. That’s not Hal Steinbrenner’s way. He has no interest in finding a general manager and a manager that has new ideas. Plus, he is not into winning championships like his father. As long as fans are watching the games on TV and go to the games at the Stadium, he is happy. This team stopped caring about winning championships the minute George Steinbrenner passed away in 2009. Now it’s about selling the brand instead of going for championship No. 28.

The Mets failed to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Their championship window slammed shut the minute Jeurys Familia threw a meatball for Conor Gillaspie to hit a three-run home run that had the Giants beat the Mets in the 2016 NL Wild-Card game. They are now searching for a president of baseball operations to oversee this unit, and they will be hiring a new manager after firing Luis Rojas.

It remains to be seen who wants to work for Mets owner Steve Cohen. Theo Epstein was not interested. If the Mets don’t get this general manager hiring right, they will likely be set back for decades to come. No matter who is the general manager, this team has to rebuild because they are not good enough to be a playoff team as we saw again this season.

The Giants and Jets stunk last season, and they stink this year. Both New York football teams are 19-50 since 2017. Maybe the Jets can offer hope with Zach Wilson under center, but no one can say the same about the Giants. The Giants are the new Detroit Lions, which they lose every year no matter how much they fire the general manager and a head coach. It appears the Giants may be looking for a new general manager and a new head coach if this season goes out of control like a 2-14 or 3-13 season.

The Knicks were the only team that got the tri-state area excited. They overachieved to make the playoffs this past season by playing defense and team basketball. Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau got so much out of his roster. It wasn’t good enough to beat the Atlanta Hawks since they did not have a star to match Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young.

This Knicks team is far from winning a championship, and it will be that way unless they can acquire a Damian Lillard-type player or sign a star player like Zion Williamson and Ja Morant in a few years. Right now, making the playoffs and maybe winning a playoff series is the best they can do.

Everyone talks about the Nets being the team that can bring a championship in New York. Here’s the problem with that thinking: No one cares about the Nets here. There was not much interest despite Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden joining forces. New York will always be a pro-Knicks town no matter how well the Nets do.

Even with that super team, the Nets failed by losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games of the Eastern Conference semifinals. They lost in overtime. Stop whining about they had no Kyrie Irving, who missed the rest of the series with a right ankle sprain. They should have been good enough to beat the Bucks at home in a Game 7. Instead, they choked in overtime.

I just wonder if the Nets have the makeup to win it all. Irving has a history of being injury-prone, and it showed this past season. There’s a good chance he may compromise the team’s chances of winning a championship by not playing home games this year because he does not want to be vaccinated. In New York, athletes need to be vaccinated to play, and Irving does not want to play along.

St.John’s should be NCAA tournament bound this year on the play of Julian Champagnie. So should Rutgers after making the tournament for the first time since the 1990-1991 season. It would be nice if both can advance to the Sweet 16 or win a playoff round. Making the tournament is nice, but advancing is better. It’s been a long time we experienced March Madness success in these parts. Is it too much to ask?

Rutgers football is basically rebuilding with some promise under second-year Greg Schiano.

Yeah, the sporting landscape stunk for some time now. I have no idea when it will get better. We are basically the new Detroit when it comes to sports, which we have gotten used to losing after experiencing winning. Owners of our teams don’t seem to care or know how to win.

Maybe the Islanders end this tiresome drought. But honestly, until Woody Johnson, John Mara, James Dolan, Steinbrenner and Cohen figure it out, it’s going to be more of the same. In other words, business as usual.

We call that a Tuesday.

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