Best and worst places to be a sports fan
Being a Tampa Bay sports fan these days is a pretty good gig. Not as good as Boston, but not as bad as across Alligator Alley. A little food for thought as the Rays head to the Big Apple, another fine place to be a sports fan. The five best and worst cities to be a sports fan these days.
Five best places to be a fan
They have the defending champs in baseball and basketball. And they should have had the defending champs in football. Even still, that football team has won three Super Bowls this decade and looks poised to win one or two more.
2. Tampa Bay
We have the story in baseball with the miracle Rays. The Bucs are a playoff team. And, for a last-place hockey team, the Lightning sure keeps things interesting. Throw in the Bulls, Gators, the Super Bowl, the ACC football championship, a new bowl game and last season’s college hoops tournaments and we have it pretty good.
3. Los Angeles-Anaheim
No pro football, but the college team (USC) more than makes up for that as perennial national contenders. The Lakers went to the NBA Finals, the Ducks won a Stanley Cup just two seasons ago, and there's an outside chance of a SoCal World Series with the mighty Angels and a Dodgers team that is in a weak division.
Watch out, here come the Tigers. Sure, you have to sit through Matt Millen's awful Lions, but at least you have a really good basketball team (the Pistons) and hockey's best team during the past 15 years (the Cup-winning Red Wings) to get you through the winter.
5. New York
You have nine teams in the metro area and two of the legendary venues -- Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. The Giants won the Super Bowl, the Rangers are Cup contenders, and the Yankees, Mets and Devils are always in the hunt. The baseball All-Star Game will be there next week, new stadiums are being built for the Yanks and Mets, and the Nets are moving to Brooklyn soon.
Five worst places to be a fan
Michael Vick turned the Falcons into a joke. The Braves' run is over with only one world title to show for it. The hockey team stinks. Put it this way, when the highlight of your sports year is the basketball team losing a seven-game series in the first round, then you spend a lot of nights watching cable.
Great city. Lots of famous players in history. Exciting NBA player in LeBron James. An up-and-coming football team. A cool baseball stadium. So what's the problem? They haven't needed a victory parade route in 44 years. The last time Cleveland won a pro title in a major sport was when the Browns won in 1964. The Indians haven't won the World Series since 1948.
The Marlins are a nice little story, but you have to sit in a football stadium to watch them. After that, not only are the Miami teams bad -- they're baaaad. The NHL Panthers haven't made the playoffs in eight years and haven't won a playoff game since 1997. Meantime, the Dolphins and Heat combined to go 16-82 in their most recent seasons.
The football team is just good enough to lose in the playoffs. The baseball team was supposed to be a contender but instead already has fired its manager and GM and owns the worst record in the AL. The best hope was a young basketball team that looks to have a good future. Oh yeah, that future won't be in Seattle. It moved to Oklahoma City last week.
The Philly teams always seem to be sniffing around the playoffs, but they almost never win the big one. The Phillies have won one World Series in more than 100 years and that was 28 years ago. The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl and haven't won an NFL title since JFK was in the White House. The Flyers have won't a Cup since 1975, and the Sixers won the city's most recent championship -- 25 years ago!