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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New York is a basketball town.

While the Kansas City Royals have had six days for their collective mental state to turn into that of Rocky Balboa the night before his first title fight against Apollo Creed, there were three sporting events on TV Monday night:
- Monday Night Football
- Knicks exhibition basketball at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, Attendance: 19,812, Time of Game: 2:21
- Nets exhibition basketball at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Attendance: 12,271, Time of Game: 2:19

Remember the length of those basketball games when/if you watch game one of the Major Baseball League (MBL) finals tonight.  In the NFL game the Pittsburgh Steelers were dominating one of those newer teams, the Houston Texans, when I went to bed about 11:15.

New York had three baseball teams when I was very young:
- New York Yankees
- New York Giants
- Brooklyn Dodgers.

From 1958 through 1961 New York had only one team, the Yankees.  Then the Mets came into existence in 1962.  The Knicks were small time then, driven from the Garden by the circus to an armory if the Knicks happened to still be playing when Barnum & Bailey arrived as scheduled in the spring.  The New York Football Giants, as they were called to distinguish them from their more senior baseball counterparts, were the talk of the town.  The Giants won the NFL title in 1956 and lost in the title games in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963.  That was before the NFL playoff system started to evolve, so the Giants had to finish first in the Eastern Conference to reach all those title games.

The baseball Giants and Dodgers can trace their roots to the 1800s and the Yankees to 1903.  Modern baseball may have started in Brooklyn or New Jersey.  The New York metropolitan area was at least a midwife to baseball's birth.

linsanity (Jeremy Lin) at MSG February 15, 2012
by sukhchander, via Wikimedia Commons
The NBA Knicks didn't start until 1947 and have won only two lonely titles in 1970 and 1973.  For the upcoming season Knicks management brought back one of the fringe players of those championship teams to run the entire basketball operation: Phil Jackson who was head coach of more NBA championship teams than any other coach in history.

When I was a kid we played baseball, football, maybe some basketball.  Now here in Westchester county just north of the Bronx, baseball and softball fields lay barren through most of the summer.  Basketball courts get much more action.  In the five Burroughs there are basketball courts everywhere and they are used constantly.

Street versions of baseball are also largely abandoned.  Basketball is in the city's blood.  New York was once a baseball town.  Now it is a basketball town.  That's good for basketball and sad for baseball.  Kids just don't play it, not seriously.  Baseball is slow.  Street and backyard versions are filled with action but they have been forgotten.  Basketball by its nature has action and if you get into a pickup game you can get into the action.  If not, you can play alone and improve your shooting and dribbling, both of which are fun.  Baseball just isn't fun anymore.  You've got to play a game to get it in your blood.

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