A vote took place in New York City a day ago in regards to Madison Square Garden’s permit in New York City. The New York City Council voted to extend the Garden’s permit to operate above Penn Station for ten more years, not the perpetuity vote the Garden was hoping for. The vote was nearly unanimous, as the Council voted 47-1 to limit the permit. What does this mean for New York City and MSG’s sports teams? There is a very real chance that New Yorkers will have to find a new venue to root on the Knicks, Rangers and attend many of the sporting events, concerts, shows and other events that they have been going to the Garden since 1968 to see.
As a New York sports fan, there is really no place like Madison Square Garden to watch a sporting event. I loved the old Yankee Stadium but when the Knicks and Rangers are in the playoffs, you can feel the electricity in the building. The memories I have from the 1994 season, when both the Knicks and Rangers made their respective finals are right up with my favorite sports moments of my life as an intense fan. If New York City loses Madison Square Garden, it will lose a big chunk of its identity.
Ask any opposing player in the NBA or NHL which arena they love playing in the most and the answer will be Madison Square Garden 99% of the time. Over the years, our team’s have been negatively affected by their oppositions motivation by playing on the biggest stage in sports, but it had led to great performances for New York fans to witness. From Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur and many others, New York City sports fans have been able to witness the all-time greats travel to New York City and give their best performance because they knew we were the best fan base to impress.
The New York City Council feels that it is more important to extend Penn Station above ground. I don’t understand why this is necessary. I’ve been using Penn Station to travel on New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad all of my adult life. Although I can agree that a renovation for Penn Station might be a little overdue, I don’t see why it’s necessary to remove an arena that has given New York City and the midtown area of Manhattan so much life. How many bars, restaurants and other businesses thrive from Ranger and Knick game nights? Also, the New York City Subway system and other major train depots have been more than functional underground. Does the New York City Council really feel moving our sports home is necessary so people traveling have better phone service as they wait to board their trains?
As a New York City employee, I pay a lot of taxes. Madison Square Garden just put nearly a billion dollars into renovating the Garden and the project will finally be complete this fall. Now, this Council is telling New Yorkers that not only will the city need to build a new arena and renovate Penn Station, but also it is likely that Cable Vision and Knick and Ranger owner James Dolan will want to be reimbursed the money he spent on the latest renovations. Where do we think this money might be coming from, if not New Yorkers paychecks?
Lastly, New York City fans are well aware of what happens when our teams homes are relocated. As I said earlier, the old Yankee Stadium was about as electric as MSG. The new Yankee Stadium is more like a mall then a baseball stadium. An individual can have a full night out at the new Yankee Stadium without seeing one pitch. Metlife Stadium might be bigger and cleaner than the old Giants Stadium, but it’s certainly not as loud and does not nearly carry the same home field advantage. Look at the Giants recent playoff success and you might notice that all of their big victories over the years have been on the road. MSG is the last sporting gem that we have in our area and now the clock for its relocation is ticking.
To our faithful readers:
We apologize for our lack of enthusiasm in the past few months. Unfortunately, as all you know, we live in New York City. To be honest, it was been extremely difficult to write about sports in New York with out getting totally fucking sick to our stomachs. Sometimes at night, as I lay down and close my eyes, I am still haunted by visions of the Sanchez ass fumble on Thanksgiving. New York sports is entering a recession and we are fairly god damn close to a depression. With that said, Sports Debaters knows it’s our duty to entertain regardless and we are fully committed to picking up the slack because somebody has got to win around here.
Let’s paint a quick picture of the sports scene in New York. The Jets are a fucking joke. They are the laughing stock of the god damn NFL. As currently constituted, I would rather the Jets not show up next year and forfeit all 16 games. The Jets are so bad that they can’t even find a QB who is better than Mark Sanchez. Today the Jets lost their best offensive weapon (Dustin Keller) to division rival Miami, but replaced him by signing three guys that I could have sworn has retired already. There is not much more to say about this team…just that I fucking hate that fact that I fucking love them.
The Giants are in much better shape than the Jets, but are still on the decline. They are currently in danger of losing their best WR in Victor Cruz because of a salary cap situation in which they can’t afford to pay him the premium price needed. The Giants have let go of way more players this offseason then they have signed, including players like Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley who were key contributers during their Super Bowl teams. The Giants are not among the top NFC teams anymore, which is clear by their playoff miss and failure to improve. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be where the Giants are than where the Jets are. With that said, there are about 10-15 teams that are in better shape than the G-men, who are only one year removed from being champions.
For the past 15 years, baseball has always brought the New York city area hope and encouragement this time of year. I can’t waste much time on the Mets. 70 wins for the Mets will be a success this year and as of today they might be opening up the season without their best player as David Wright as suffered a rib injury. However, as a Yankee fan, we might be entering a period in which we haven’t experienced since the early 1990’s. All of a sudden, the Yankees don’t spend money. This offseason, they watched all of their free agents leave, didn’t sign any of their own and were actually outbid by the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player that they could actually use, Russell Martin. When was the last time the Pirates offered more money than the Yankees were willing to. Tie in the Yankees stinginess to the fact that the are dropping like flies with injuries to A-Roid, Granderson and Teixeria, and it’s safe to say that the Yankees are in trouble heading into the 2013 campaign.
After an 18-5 start to the season, the New York Knicks are 20-20 in their last 40. Amare Stoudemire is out for the remained of the regular season with a knee injury that he suffered as he was starting to look like the player the Knicks paid a max contract to 2 and a half years ago. A week later, Carmelo Anthony has been hobbling around the west coast and just had his knee drained in an attempt to get healthy. Throw in a knee injury to Tyson Chandler, suffered in Carmelo’s homecoming game in which the Knicks got laced by their 2010 first half team, and the past few games have been simply awful for the Knickerbockers. The only silver-lining is that I’m a Brooklyn Nets fan, and although the Nets are playing mediocre, the Knicks are playing bad enough to allow the Nets to inch closer to the division lead. The Knicks age was always a concern and it appears that as this season has dragged on, the injury bug is slamming this team upside the head.
Last but not least, we have my New York Rangers. I know most people don’t care about hockey and may not even be aware that there is a hockey season going on right now. Well, the NHL season has been in action for about 2 months now, but I’m not even sure the Rangers are aware of this fact the way they have been playing. The Rangers were 2 games away from the finals last year and ended up bringing in one of the best players in the sport in Rick Nash. They have a star laden team and should be one of the best in the league. After their latest loss to the Winnipeg Jets (yup, that’s really a team), the Rangers find themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoff picture. There is still time left in the season for a turn-around, but to say that they have been disappointing doesn’t even begin to explain my feelings on this team.
New York is the best city in the world. There are other amazing, beautiful cities out there, but New Yorkers are the brashest, proudest and hold the highest expectations for all aspects of their lives. We are passionate about our sports and incredibly supporting of our teams. We pay outrageous ticket prices to watch them live. Madison Square Garden just raised their ticket prices a couple days ago for next year, which oddly enough was about the same time the Rangers and Knicks have collectively taken nose dives. New Yorkers are resilient and we will continue to support our mediocre (and in some cases terrible) teams, and unfortunately for New York fans and sports debaters, I fear there will be a whole lot more complaining than celebrating in the near future. Hoping I’m wrong, but as the faithful SD readers are aware, I’m much more often right.
Today is one of those days where if you are a sport fan, it doesn’t get much better! You have the NBA and NHL playoffs, a full slate of baseball, the Kentucky Derby and to top it all off, a big boxing match. My suggestion is to start off with a few beers and a comfortable couch for some hockey and basketball this afternoon, then find a nice lounge and order a few Mint Juleps and enjoy the derby, then switch over to a bar, order some tequila in any form, and watch the fight! For you gamblers out there, get your wallets ready and read below because this is a great day to wager on some action!
NHL Playoffs: Rangers vs. Capitals- This series has been played very close throughout. Both teams play solid defense, have great goaltending and contains dangerous scorers who are capable of hitting the nets. However, the Rangers have all the momentum in the world after their last game, a triple OT win on Wednesday night. I expect the Rangers to carry their solid play into today’s game, and even though it is in Washington, New York has played excellent away from the Garden so this won’t be much of a factor. Look for the Rangers to win another close, exciting game and take a 3-1 lead in the series.
NBA Playoffs: Pacers vs. Magic- The Pacers are coming off 2 straight wins, the last being in Orlando and I don’t expect anything different from today. Danny Granger is the best player on the floor, coming off a 26 point, 9 rebound game. In game 3, Roy Hibbert had a solid 18 points, 10 rebound game, taking advantage of the huge void left by Dwight Howard, and I don’t see how Orlando can match his size. Indiana had a solid season all year long, though received very little attention. Look for them to take a stranglehold on this series today by beating the Magic and taking the series back to Indiana up 3-1.
NBA Playoffs: Spurs vs. Jazz- Although San Antonio is a favorite to win the entire thing this year, as the Spurs have had a great season lead by Tony Parker, I believe the Jazz have a little more fight in them then they have shown. Though Utah lost the first two games in San Antonio by a combined 46 points, Utah has always enjoyed a great home court advantage. I do not think the Jazz have the talent to match up with the Spurs over the course of a series, but I also don’t see them getting swept. I think today is when they get their first and only win, and look for Derrick Favors to play more minutes and have a positive impact for the Jazz.
NBA Playoffs: Thunder vs. Mavericks: Though the first two games were very close, Oklahoma prevailed in both and then dominated the Mavs in Dallas to take game 3, 95-79. The defending champion Mavericks have a lot of veteran leadership, and Dirk and company have been in this position before. The only difference this year is they are going against a younger, hungrier, and better basketball team. Kevin Durant threw up 31 points in game 3, and it appears that the Thunder are trying to make a statement that they are ready for the big time. Look for Durant’s hot shooting to carry over and the Thunder to sweep the champs out of this year’s tournament.
NBA Playoff: Grizzlies vs. Clippers- This series has been my favorite of the playoffs so far. The Clippers had a great comeback in game 1, the Grizz matched them in game 2 behind OJ Mayo’s 20 points off the bench, and now the series returns to Los Angeles. The Clipper fans have been overshadowed by Kobe and the Lakers for so many years, and this is the series and chance they have been waiting a while for. When they brought Chris Paul in this season it was for games like todays. I like both of these young, talented teams, and I really feel like this series has a great shot of going the distance. Though I am leaning towards to Grizzlies to take the series, I think the home crowd, who haven’t had a home playoff game since 2006, will give Paul, Griffin and the rest of the Clippers team the energy needed to match Memphis’s physical play and allow LA to take Game 3.
The 138th Kentucky Derby- I am not going to pretend I know a lot about horse racing. Every now and then (and by that I mean three times a year), I’ll tune in just because I like the half a minute of excitement and I enjoy hearing the announcers call the winner. I have not been researching the horses, I do not know how they each run on different tracks, and I’m not sure which jockeys have the inside advantage. However, from what I know, this particular field seems to be very open. As a result, I will predict my winner by using my usual strategy, pick a horse that has a cool name and pays out well. Since I plan on drinking a decent amount today, and plan on uttering the phrase, “I’ll Have Another”, then I don’t see how picking any other horse makes sense. I’ll Have Another is paying out 17-1, so as I’m at the bar, I’ll be simultaneously ordering drinks and rooting on this beautiful chestnut colt.
Junior Middleweight Title Match: Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto- Floyd “Money” Mayweather has taken a lot of heat over the past few years for who he hasn’t fought, mainly Manny Pacquiao. However, in tonight’s match, he will certainly be tested by the 31 year old Miguel Cotto, who has a career 37-2 record, with one of those losses extremely questionable. His only other loss came at the hands of Pacquiao, so Cotto can definitely hold his own in the ring. Cotto is much more humble than the 35 year old Mayweather, who is the biggest showman in the sport. Though Cotto might be easier to root for, Floyd is the best in the business hands down. With a 42-0 lifetime record, it is very hard to argue that point. I think Floyd will win tonight, as he is just a better boxer than Cotto. I don’t see a knockout, as both fighters are technically sound, though I believe at the end of the night, Mayweather will receive the judge’s decision on the score cards.
Enjoy the day and night in sports and good look with your bookies and at the OTB!
Well I expected a close, defensive game in tonights New York Ranger vs. Washington Capita game, but even I didn’t see that one coming. SInce I am exhausted after watching this classic, I’ll make this short and sweet. The Rangers beat the Capitals in 3 Overtimes tonight in Washington D.C. If you didn’t see this game, you missed an absolute beauty. The Rangers and Capitals played physical, played smart, and battled for just about 115 minutes.
The Rangers got on the board first, with a second period goal by Ryan Callahan. Quickly, Washington tied the game as John Carlson beat Lundqvist. For the rest of the game, Henrik and Braden Holtby shut down literally everything. Lundqvist saw 46 shots, and saved 45 of them. Holtby faced 49, saving 47. It was an absolute clinic of goaltending. On top of that, these two team are the two best in the league at sacrificing their body and blocking shots. Imagine throwing yourself in front of a 95 mph puck! It takes real balls to do what all these guys do routinely. Much more courage then fighting a fire extinguisher!
Marion Gaborik finally showed a pulse, ending the game 14 minutes into the third OT. He received a perfect pass from veteran Brad Richards and stuffed it home to give the Rangers a 2-1 series lead. Thank the lord these teams have two days to recover before they take the ice again. Look for another tightly contested game on Saturday, and I expect the Rangers to take this momentum and play strong in Game 4. Look for Lundqvist to keep the Capitals at bay and bring the series back to the Garden up 3 games to 1.