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?
Originally posted on Gotham Nation:
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.
Originally posted on Finding Avalon And Derry:
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 can’t predict what’s going to happen, he’s a different guy. He has the strongest desire I’ve ever heard about not ending his career without making it in New York. That’s motivation. I have high regard for what he has left. I think he will be an important addition to this club. He has one wonderful, smart and strong-willed wife, she loves Greenwich, where they live. She’s ecstatic. She wants to be here. They want to be here. It makes a difference. He’s going to live in Greenwich when he’s through playing. So he has a lot of motivation.” – Fred Wilpon, on the return of Bobby Bonilla to the Mets in 1999.
My nephew Kevin Walker, a senior starting WR / PR for Plainedge, and his teammates are facing Lawrence at 2pm later today at Hofstra, as for the third straight postseason Lawrence and Plainedge will meet to decide the Conference III Nassau championship.
One of my favorite players of all time, former Atlanta Falcons great and Pro Bowl running back had this to say to Kevin and the team via Twitter
— Jamal Anderson (@jamthedirtybird) November 23, 2013
Here’s a preview from MSG Varsity:
When I was a young boy growing up on E.39th Street in Flatbush, most of my days were spent on wondering if the Mets dealing Tom Seaver to the Reds was somehow my fault. Perhaps if I had spoken directly to M Donald Grant, I could have told him that Doug Flynn would never hit a lick, Steve Henderson was simply not good enough, Dan Norman a suspect, not a prospect and that Pat Zachry was made of paper mache.
Why the passion? Blame my dad. After his first two sons showed little interest in sports, let’s just say that when I started to mime swinging a bat at two years old, he knew he’d have someone to watch a game with. Not that he loves me any more than he does my brothers or sister (he doesn’t; he’s a great dad to all of us), he just knows that when he wants to know who the Mets are planning on using as their left-handed specialist, he knows who to call. Otherwise, I’m just one of his four kids. That’s fine with me.
Maybe one of the reasons that my father is such a good one is because he grew up with nothing at all.
Ron Healey spent most of his childhood at St. Vincent’s Home for Boys. My siblings and I don’t know much about those days for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that he likely doesn’t remember them too fondly.
Most of what I know about his times there are the good things; playing ball with his buddies like Hank, Sep and Sarge, and getting to – on the weekends – go to their houses from time to time for a taste of a real home. I’ve often wondered what that must have been like, having to go back to the darkness after a glimpse of the light. But to his credit, and my everlasting gratitude, he never complained about it, never was consumed with bitterness about it, and sure as hell never took it out on any of us. He was adamant that his kids would have everything he didn’t.
For him, not being far from the shadows of Ebbets Field was an escape from loneliness. Cheering for his Brooks was probably the greatest joy he experienced during those dark days. It was during those rare afternoons of getting to go to a game that more than likely turned mere fandom into baseball fever.
He handed down that wonderful gift to me, the love of the Great Pastime, and it’s the main reason you’re reading these words right now.
Whether it was his story of running into a young, athletic “guy who looked like a ballplayer (Willie Mays) so we ran after him and got his autograph” or his taking me and my buddies (when he really couldn’t afford to do) in the 1974 Dodge Dart (Special Edition) to see the dreadful post-Seaver Mets of the late 70’s, I was hooked and hooked early.
My dad’s a Mets fan these days (and has been since the Dodgers left Brooklyn), and he still won’t read (or says he doesn’t) read anything I write about the Yankees. “I hate the Yankees,” he says, quite matter-of-factly, as if it were a natural state. “I want them to lose every game they play.”
It’s quite possible he might not read this, but I suspect that even if this piece was about the Bombers, he’d sneak a peak to see what his “Markito” has written.
We still talk as much baseball as we ever did. He probably watches as many (if not more) games than I do, and given the fact that he’s a dead-ringer for Terry Collins, the Mets manager, I think he roots for the Mets just a little bit harder lately.
I don’t love my dad because we share a love for baseball. I love my dad because he went from being an orphan with nothing, to loving and supporting a family all of his life. He was a rough and tumble street kid that was never ashamed to hug his kids. Despite having a really good city job, still went to night school to get his degree from Brooklyn College, because he wanted to instill in his children the value of a college education.
I could go on and on. But all I really want to say is, Happy 75th birthday, Pop. You’re the best.
And thank you.