Author: Mark C. Healey
New Jersey born and bred, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark needs to get his facts — and his story — straight.
The Nets and now Islanders’ delicate genius has been bent out of shape with how some Islanders fans have been voicing their displeasure on social media with some of the organization’s latest decisions.
The stupid goal horn was bad enough, but the defending of the new black jersey the Islanders will be wearing this year takes the cake.
“The colors of the borough are black and white,” Yormark told ESPNNY’s Michael Kay. “We need to connect and cement this team in Brooklyn in a couple of ways. One of the ways to do that, is by identifying this team with the colors of the borough.”
When did black and white become the official colors of Brooklyn? The answer is never. The official colors of Brooklyn are blue and gold.
But silly Brett, you already knew that, didn’t you?
In January 2014, when the Nets announced their alt grey sleeved jersey, Yormark said “Blue is one of the official colors of Brooklyn, so we are proud to connect the Nets with the borough’s storied tradition.”
So which is it, Brett?
Take it from a Brooklyn-born, Flatbush-bred Islanders fan since birth. This is our team, bub. You are out of your depth.
#HelloBrooklyn worked for the Nets, congrats. It was really successful. However, unlike the Nets — whose traditions are murky at best (with the exception of the awesome ABA era) — the Islanders’ faithful are vocal, proud and loyal.
Maybe you should consult with a few before making like a Wilpon.
Here’s my response:
Look, I got hammered by my fellow Islander fans when I said I was pulling for the Rangers to win the Cup last year. I didn’t wear any Rangers gear, or anything like that. But they were playing the Penguins, Flyers, Canadiens and Kings on the way. I’m going to root for them?
Part of it was doing some freelance work for SNY.tv last year, writing about all of NY’s teams, and writing about the playoffs is more fun. But it’s more than that.
Having lived outside NY, and seeing how other people feel about NY, I’ve become very pro-NY, even with the teams I’m not a fan of. I can appreciate these other fans’ love for their team, but trash-talking other fans is, well, juvenile.
I was at a Jets game in 1983 to watch my Atlanta Falcons at Shea Stadium; I wore my red Falcons helmet and my Steve Bartkowski jersey. Now I didn’t hate the Jets, I actually liked that team (especially Bob Crable, had his jersey), but the Falcons were — and are — my team. Grown men jeered, cursed, threw food and screamed at me — I think I was 14 — as Jets built a 21-0 lead. As the Falcons came all the way back and finally won 27-21, it was pretty awesome. Bartkowski threw a couple of TD passes, one to my fave William Andrews the other to Billy “White Shoes” Johnson — who also had a 70-yard punt return TD. But I didn’t say a word. I didn’t dance or scream, or throw anything back at the grown-ass people who didn’t know me. I didn’t have to. My guys won.
I’ve had similar experiences, like the year the Jets mauled the Falcons at the Meadowlands in 1998. Poor Steve DeBerg started because Chris Chandler was hurt. I took a lot of heat that day too. Yet, when the Falcons went to the Super Bowl and the Jets didn’t that year, none of my Jets fans friends got a “suck it” call from me. I don’t do that.
See, I’m trying to teach my son about how to be a good sportsman, to avoid the Sportscenter mentality as he grows as an athlete and as a fan. Be better than the grown-ass people who cuss and taunt women and children at sporting events. When your team wins, treat people who lost like you’d want to be treated.
Sure, I have enjoy my debates with Rangers/Devils/Nets/Yankees/Giants/Jets fans, but ultimately they love their team, as I do mine. The only teams I truly despise?
The Chicago Cubs
The Philadelphia Flyers
The New Orleans Saints
The Miami Heat
Well, most of the time, I ignore the stupid fans. Sometimes, like today I will call out people for their bad form. They don’t get it either, but I make the effort for people I like who are being petty.
But, ultimately, most of the time I will know more about the teams you root for than you do. So, yes, I have a problem with negative energy. I pull for New York teams.
This is Gotham Nation after all, isn’t it?
Appropriate to share today, which would have been Jackie Robinson’s 95th birthday, a archived podcast on which I talk about the roles that Negro League Legend Buck O’ Neil — including excerpts from my one-on-one interview with him just a few months before he passed away — and “Black Aces” author Jim “Mudcat” Grant played in the African-American journey to Major League Baseball.
My good friend Gary Armida asked me Five Goood Questions. I hope I gave five good answers.
Welcome to Five Good Questions. 5GQ is a quick chat that won’t really have a focus other than to simply entertain, inform, and maybe spark some conversation.
The first person up for Five Good Questions is Mark Healey, who has been an editor, writer and broadcaster since 1996 for a variety of media outlets. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of The Wave newspaper in Rockaway, NY.
He is also the founding editor of Gotham Baseball magazine, which was named Best New Sports Magazine by Amazon.com in 2005., and is part of the permanent archive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center in Cooperstown, NY.
As Editor-in-Chief of “Going 9 Baseball” , he spent 2010-2014 as the host of “Going 9 Fantasy Baseball” on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). He also served as the first-ever Online Editor for Baseball Digest magazine (Dec 2009 – Feb…
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When the Mets decided to enter into the Kaz Matsui sweepstakes, a lot of things had to happen. They had to engage the help of the other Wilpon son — Bruce, married to the daughter of Japanese billionare Kenshin Oshima — and Leon Lee, the father of then-All Star first baseman Derrek Lee.
As a thank you, Lee was hired to manage the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones in 2004. Jeff Wilpon ran the Cyclones then, and when Fred Wilpon’s pride and joy was faced with a tough situation, he dealt with it swiftly.
On April 8, Lee was arrested for indecent exposure in a hotel after seeking to quiet a noisy late-night crowd that was disturbing his team.
The NY Times’ Lee Jenkins detailed the way in which he was treated here – http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/sports/baseball/02lee.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ei=5090&en=063dccf0be18fe8f&ex=1267419600&partner=rssuserland
Another version of the story is here, including a description — which I can confirm because I was covering the Brooklyn Cyclones at the time — of how Jeff Wilpon handled the situation.
Lee pressed for more than a year, costing him thousands of dollars and his baseball good name, just to get a court date to clear his name. The charges were dropped in 2005.
It’s a good thing for Jeff Wilpon that he doesn’t work for Jeff Wilpon…
I’ve had the pleasure of covering big league baseball and being involved in youth coaching the last several years, and I have often wondered why the “New York Game” as we call it here at Gotham Baseball, isn’t as well-represented in MLB as are other parts of the country. Part of the problem is how MLB teams look for talent, as there seems to be very few MLB scouts on hand in NYC for even the best of programs.
Despite the obvious weather-related reasons why most kids playing baseball in New York don’t get as much attention as their warm-weather counterparts, we decided to look closer at the problem.
First we sat down with Jordan Baltimore, who runs a top grade teaching academy in NYC called New York Baseball Empire, which spends as much time training older kids to coach, as teaching younger ones to play.
So, you may have noticed the cobwebs around the Gotham network of sites and podcasts lately, the bad news is they may stay that way for awhile, but the good news is, I have a new job.
That’s right. A real newspaper, one that’s been around since 1893, making it one of the longest continuously published newspapers in the country. I’ve been there since May 9, and am having the time of my life. Busy, but happier than I have been in my career since leaving Associated Press in 2006.
So bear with me for awhile, let me get my feet wet in Jamaica Bay, take a few walks on the rebuilding boardwalk, and have a few pops at Healy’s Pub (hey, it’s ok, they lost their “e” somewhere, maybe I’ll help them find it), and before you know it, things will be back to normal.
Until then, you can read The Stoop, my new sports column in The Wave.