Shooting Airballs at an Imaginary Basket

Jose Vilson

As my first decree of totally partiality, I am a Yankees, Knicks, and Giants fan, and when I’m in the mood, the Rangers, too. Yes, it’s a bias that I assumed environmentally; I live in / love Manhattan, and even if the rest of the city treats the Lower East Side like an annex of Brooklyn, it’s still my home.

Living in this city, I’m used to too many extremes; either I have an awesome team and a garbage team, or a heartbreaking team and a lovable team. Yes, for those of you with only one or two teams to choose from, bear with me.

The question that always comes up in the months of October, January, and May (baseball, football, and basketball, respectively) is what every team asks when their team hasn’t won the ‘chip in a while: is it really better to have a team that’s good but comes close every single year or just have a terrible team so you have no expectations for them?

Most of my friends and I were coming of age a little before the late 90’s Yankees dynasty.Yankees There were 2 truths that everyone stuck by: 1) The Braves were always going to whoop the NL with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, and 2) Don Mattingly was never going to win a ring for us. It was just the truth. When the Yankees finally on one in ’96, the Yankees HAD to do it right after Donnie Baseball retired. The stars were not aligned for that man.

And they kept winning and winning, and it was awesome. Then, they didn’t win one in 2001, and ’02, and … now we’re wondering if A-Rod and Jeter will ever sleep over in each other’s cribs again.

Patrick EwingThat dynasty started, though, just as Patrick Ewing went on the decline. Unlike Don Mattingly, Patrick Ewing had a team that at least took them to the Finals a couple of times. A few brawls, a ton of missed layups, and a whole lotta Bull later, we have a team that can’t even wipe their sandals. I would rather have P.J. Brown flip over Charlie Ward a few more times before I ever heard of a Knicks team playing under .500. That’s preposterous.

The easy answer is to say that I’d rather have a team that’s winning all the time and has a chance for a championship. What happens, though, when that team is constantly winning, but never climaxing? At least if they kept losing all the time, there’d be no reason to actually go and tease yourself by cheering for them.

I’m sure there’s plenty of Royals fans swooning for George Brett, Arizona Cardinals fans giving me dirty looks, and Orlando Magic fans still mad at Shaq (Penny feels your pain). Not many empathize with me, but with only a couple of weeks until this new baseball season begins, I wonder if this is just another season full of hot air for the Yanks (because the Giants and Knicks aren’t going anywhere for a while), or will they keep me sedated for one more season.

jose, a fan ever since patrick ewing graced the garden

p.s. Jerome James’ nickname after watching him play only 4 minutes in a starting role for the umpteenth time in a NYK uniform: Big Weezy

Jerome James