Forbes magazine released a list of the most miserable sports cities in America, and the winner is...
Seattle?! C'mon, Seattle? Half of those latte sippin', Birkenstock wearin', Hemp necklace makin', Kurt Cobain worshippin' West Coasties don't even know they have sports teams that suck, much less care enough about them to make Seattle the most miserable sports city in America.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if you want misery, I mean pure, By God sports misery, there are only two cities, in my opinion, that really pass the test, Cleveland and Minneapolis.
Seattle? C'mon. If I could use a baseball analogy, it's like they're AA ball, at best.
Let's break this down after the jump.
Seattle didn't even have professional football or baseball (well, the Pilots, but that was one ill-fated year in the '60's) until the 1970's, and they still don't have a hockey team. By the 1970's, Minneapolis and Cleveland had put their fans through enough sports misery that it's a miracle we don't act like a Wisconsin union protestor towards a Fox News reporter. When Seattle did get baseball and football, they sucked.
And make no mistake, teams that suck don't make you miserable. It's the teams that you think are going to win it all, and then lose in the 'ripping-your-heart-out-of-your-chest-so-you-can-watch-it-beat-the-last-few-drops-of-blood-onto-your-brand-new-hardwood-floor' specatacular...is sports misery, my friend.
Oh, and do we know sports misery, Minneapolis.
They say Seattle qualifies because the Seahawks have gone to the playoffs 11 times without winning the Super Bowl, the Seattle Supersonice went to the playoffs 22 times and won only one title, and the Mariners went to the ALCS three times in seven years, never making it to the World Series.
Rookies. They're not even in sports misery puberty.
Oh, according to the article, Seattle also got 'extra credit' because the aforementioned Sonics left town.
Baby, in Minneapolis, we call that 'Amateur Hour'.
In Cleveland, that's called Tuesday.
For starters, let's compare baseball teams. And I gotta say, the Twins kind of disqualify Minneapolis here--oh, but we make up for it in spades later on. The Twinkies had a pretty good run in the late '80's and early '90's, and won the Greatest World Series Ever Played in 1991, so that really cuts the misery factor down. Granted, that series took place before my youngest daughter was born, but c'mon, admit it--whenever you're channel surfing, and you come across game 6 or 7 of the '91 series, you stop whatever it is you're doing, and you watch. I'm getting goosebumps right now just thinking about Kirby's game six and Jack's game seven.
But I digress.
The Mariners had some quality teams in the late 90's and early aughts, to be sure, and losing three ALCS out of five sucks. But does no one remember the 1995 and 1997 Indians? For years, the best thing that happened to the Indians was the Major League Movie series, because they...were...terrible for like 30 straight years. But they righted the ship and became a formidable team in the 1990's, but not formidable enough. The 1995 Indians are known as The Only Team To Lose To the Atlanta Braves In The World Series, and the 1997 Indians were one out...ONE OUT...from beating the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series. You know the Marlins, that bastion of a baseball
tradition history team that was paid for like a mercenary army? Yeah, one out from winning it all, and then they lost in the 11th inning. They were the first team in World Series History...and that's a lot of damn history...to lose the World Series after taking a lead going into the bottom of the 9th inning of the 7th game. Oh, they also blew a 3-1 series lead, but that's small potatoes. The Mariners didn't start playing baseball until 1977, and in Cleveland, the Indians had been sucking for over 25 years prior to the Mariners even being born. Oh, and while the Mariners slipped back into relative mediocrity, the Indians remained a pretty consistently good team, until just a few years ago. In 2007, behind a rotation anchored by CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, they made it back to the ALCS, where they lost to the Red Sox. The next season, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia were starting pitchers in the World Series. Unfortunately, Sabathia pitched for the Yankees, and Lee was pitching for the Phillies.
And as much as the '91 series still resonates, at least for a big portion of Twinkie Town (see what I did there--Twinkie Town, with a shameless plug and link for our sister site?) the Twins don't come off unscathed. After sucking from about 1993 to 2000, the Twins have enjoyed a renaissance, and are perennial contenders for the AL Central division. Unfortunately, they can't get past the ALDS, and the season usually ends by getting curbstomped by the Yankees.
But we'll always have 1991. Suck it, Atlanta. Oh, and Kent Hrbek did not pull Ron Gant off the bag, ump said so.
Seattle? Well, you've got Ichiro, but no misery. And it's so fun to say EEEEEEEEEEECHEEEERO, that any misery is kind of negated, don't you think? I do.
Okay, moving on to relocation of the basketball team. The Sonics left own, yeah yeah yeah. Why? Because the Sonics were terrible and attendance was awful. NO ONE CARED. I'm sorry, but if apathy is the main reason your team leaves town, it doesn't qualify for misery. It qualifies for pathetic.
Cleveland? Arguably two of the most gut wrenching relocations in sports history happened to the city of Cleveland. One of the most storied franchises in NFL history, the Browns, moved to Baltimore in the mid 90's, then won a Super Bowl as the Baltimore Ravens a couple of seasons later. Seriously??? The Browns are tormented by the Cardiac Kids and the Denver Broncos (The Drive, The Fumble--both AFC Championship games in back to back years, BTW) in the 1980's, only to freaking MOVE? All while the Indians are stomping on your baseball guts?
How did Cleveleand not turn into Jonestown?
But last season that was almost topped--almost. In the most commercialized middle finger in sports history, hometown guy, American Sports Icon and superduperstar LeBron James pissed on his hometown, gave it the finger, tried to set it on fire, and then took a dump on Cleveland...all on live TV during 'The Decision'.
In Minnesota, we had this thing called the National Hockey League, and a pretty good team called the North Stars. For you Seattleites and Clevelanders, hockey and Minnesota go together like Seattle and rain, or Cleveland and bad jokes about your city. Or for the geographically challenged, hockey and Minnesota go together like Charlie Sheen and a cavalcade of hookers. The North Stars were a mostly average team, but they always had good attendance and solid fan support, and they made a couple of runs to the Stanley Cup finals, once in the early 1980's, and another about a decade later. Much like the Browns, the North Stars moved because of a hideous, evil owner. Our North Stars became the Dallas Stars, and we had to sit and watch a pro hockey team take root in Dallas, while there was none in Minnesota.
And the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup a couple years after moving, much like the Ravens did the Super Bowl. At least the Twins had won a World Series and hadn't gone all Cleveland on us.
Oh, and the Los Angeles Lakers used to be the Minneapolis Lakers. It kind of sucks watching the most iconic franchise in the NBA play out in Los Angeles, when you know in your heart of hearts that Magic Johnson and Sowtime, and Kobe and Shaq could've been in Minnesota.
From what I understand, the Sonics still suck, whether they're in Seattle or Oklahoma City. And they're not even close to winning a title.
That brings us to the Seahawks. First off, if misery was measured in uniform scheme, okay, the Seahawks would win, because Jesus doing a jumprope are your uniforms straight out of the Salvation Army clearance rack. But really, as far as misery goes, that's it.
I'm sorry, what? You got jobbed out of winning the Super Bowl a few years back? No, you lost. Quit bitching about the refs, it's been what, five years now? And look, you've lost one Super Bowl. Whoop de do.
Oh, okay, the Vikes robbed Steve Hutchinson from you. THAT was pretty funny.
But when you've lost four Super Bowls, including three in four years...before the team you cheer for even started playing, get back to me. And in the midst of those 3 out of four, that fourth year was 1975, the infamous Drew Pearson push-off, or what has gone down in NFL lore as the 'Hail Mary' game. Did you know that's where the term hail mary came from when describing last minute, desperation heaves to the end zone to this day? Yeah. Sucks.
Excuse me? Quit living in the past, because that was over 30 years ago? Okay, let's talk recent history. Hey, got some trivia for you. Name the first 15-1 team in NFL history that didn't win the Super Bowl:
Yeah, the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. You remember them, the greatest offense the NFL had ever seen, a good enough defense, and a kicker that never...EVER...missed a field goal. I can type no more about this.
How about 2000? All the Vikings have to do is win one of their final three games to get homefield advantage for the playoffs, and can't. They then travel to the Meadowlands for the NFC Championship and proceed to get blown out 41-0. Or 41-doughnut, as we refer to it here in these parts. How about 2009? C'mon, even you football neophytes remember 2009. Brett Favre, former arch enemy turned hero, throws a pick as the Vikings are driving to go to the Super Bowl. In overtime, Vikes never see the ball again.
Hell, how about 2010? The deal Brett Favre made with the devil expired, the coach got fired, our stadium collpased...COLLAPSED...the Vikings had to play a 'home' game in Detroit, and to top it off, our most hated rival and their prissy boy quarterback won the Super Bowl. It was 7 years of suck crammed into 4 miserable months, and by the end of it, we were near catatonic as our nerves were frayed to the point of breakdown.
And there's a chance that if the Vikings don't get a new stadium very soon, they could be moving, too.
So really, I've got some problems with Seattle taking the mantle as the 'Most Miserable Sports Town In America'.
And really, Minneapolis is a great sports town, we've just been beset by hard luck and misfortune.
But by God, when the Vikings do win it all, it will be worth it.
Every last bit of it.