We should take note that we live in a time of danger for sporting droughts. It’s almost as if the sporting deities who legislate such things finally wearied of listening to the whining of self-styled “long-suffering” fans, threw up their arms and said enough is enough.
Since 2004, the Red Sox ended a World Series dry spell of 86 years, the White Sox ended one of 88 years, the Cubs ended one of 108 years. Cleveland’s Indians (66 years) and Browns (53) are still in the throes of title thirst, but at least the city’s all-sports suffering was ended at 51 by the Cavaliers two years ago.
The Eagles won their first Super Bowl, cutting off their drought at 57, despite the fact there were a lot of Philly fans who just assumed they would be a shoo-in to match the Cubbies eventually. This should all be good news for us in New York, where we harbor plenty of teams with long droughts, and others who, relatively speaking, only feel like it’s been as long.
Will the legislators of these things allow New York’s longest-suffering long-sufferers to join the growing roster of how-about-that Jinx Busters? Let’s take a peek starting with the driest of the drought-starved clubs, and see what we can do:
Last championship season: 1968. Active drought: 49 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 1998. Next best shot: Sometime between 60 and 70 years. I’m feeling optimistic.
Outlook: Well, in some contexts reaching 50 is a good thing, right? Home runs in a season. Goals in an NHL season (time was, anyway). NBA victories. Unfortunately, the Jets are just about a shoo-in to become quinquagenarians, with a darn good chance to ultimately become sexagenarians, which sounds like they should be a very good thing but in this case they’re just … very … depressing.
Last championship season: 1972-73. Active drought: 45 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 1994. Next best shot: Maybe someone can repurpose “Go, Cubs, go!” into “Go, Knicks, go?”
Outlook: It isn’t just that Knicks fans, to a person, seem more depressed than at any other point in their recent history, it’s that they seem like the most depressed fans of any team in our town. And with reason. It just feels like there are permanent haves in the NBA and permanent have-nots, and the Knicks will need some kind of miracle to ever escape the latter. I hope I’m wrong.
Last championship season: 1975-76. Active drought: 42 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 2002. Next best shot: 10 years, minimum.
Outlook: The Nets are, in some ways, lucky because a) they are not the Knicks; b) they play in Brooklyn; c) they are not the Knicks. They are probably frustrated at not being able to make more inroads in the Knicks’ fan base, and have so far squandered a great opportunity to take advantage of the Knicks’ unyielding woe. But at least they get to do it in the quiet of an outer borough.
Last championship season: 1982-83. Active drought: 35 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 1993. Next best shot: Is the Twelfth of Never too mean?
Outlook: There is really only one question that matters: Can the Isles re-sign John Tavares? If so there will always be hope, because there will always be that foundational building block. If not, the Islanders will quickly become the most unwelcome group to move into Nassau County since the Buttafuoco family bought their house in Massapequa.
Last championship season: 1986. Active drought: 32 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 2015. Next best shot: Mickey Magic anyone?
Outlook: As bad as the Mets can be in their down years, they do usually find a way to figure things out once every 7-10 years. And in baseball, if you can get in …
Last championship season: 1993-94. Active drought: 24 years. Last, best shot to end drought: 2014. Next best shot: If things go according to plan …
Outlook: My guess is the Rangers will be the first of the drought-afflicted New York teams that will taste champagne again, and nowhere near the 54 years they had to wait last time.
As for the others … there’s no way to classify the Devils (15 years), Yankees (9) and Giants (7) as being in droughts. And there’s no easy way to break the news to other fans that all three may well be situated for championship runs before any of the desert-dwellers. So don’t tell them.
We all have that one song that affected you the first time you heard it and stays with you no matter how many times you hear it. For me, that song has always been Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.” On the new John tribute album, “Revamp,” the Killers do a version of that song that is simply breathtaking, and captures every syllable of the spirit of a 46-year-old tune.
Adding Sonny Gray to the Yankees-Red Sox mix, from a pace-of-play standpoint, is like spraying lighter fluid onto “The Towering Inferno.”
How big a headache must Dez Bryant be if the Cowboys — the Cowboys! — don’t think he’s worth the headache anymore?
Here is a name that should absolutely be on the list of folks the Knicks want to talk to this week: Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool. And since you will eventually discover where he went to school, I would ask: How did things work out the last time the Knicks hired a St. Bonaventure guy? And I will answer that for you: It was Eddie Donovan. It worked out pretty well.
Whack Back at Vac
Mike Sullivan: As a Bronx-born Red Sox fan, I spent many a decade in despair. Now in my later years my Bosox are truly enjoyable to watch. If Price and Porcello have good years, the Sox will be hard to beat. For the Yankees to have a chance, their starters have to perform much better to hand off leads to their great bullpen.
Vac: The rotation is definitely where the Sox have shown the most early speed. If Porcello is closer to 2016 form than 2017, that really could carry them.
Ken Schlapp: One positive if the Knicks hire Mark Jackson is not having to hear him on broadcasts anymore.
Vac: I’ll put it this way: To me, anyway, a little Jax on those broadcasts goes a long way.
@MattZemek: What the Knicks need is a fan revolt in which no one shows up to games, humiliating James Dolan into selling the team.
@MikeVacc: Just making a dent in capacity that is still well over 90 percent for a dreadful season is the first step in that one.
Jeffery Moritz: Crazy world of Knicks basketball: They race wildly to the bottom and then screw that up. Their rebuilding is like repairs on the 59th Street Bridge — perpetual and badly managed. Please freeze the envelope in the lottery basket again as we really do need another miracle.
Vac: And thus is life as a Knicks fan summarized perfectly in 46 words.