Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rocket Man

In all of American professional sports, there is no team easier to root for than the New York Giants, who just happen to have won two of the last four Super Bowls.

This works out well for TigerBlog, who is a lifelong Giants' fan.

The team has a long tradition of success, though with enough heartbreak mixed in to make the successes seem even more special. They have been owned by the same family since the franchise began in 1925, and the owners aren't the kind who show up on TV every five seconds and come across as attention starved narcissists.

The players on the team seem to be nice enough, for the most part, at least by professional athlete standards. Their uniforms are nice and simple and aren't changed year-to-year to maximize each possible merchandising dollar.

Oh, TB is sure there are people out there who find a way to root against the Giants, and he gets it. He just feels like any objective look at the team gives it an A+.

On the other end of the grading scale is the other team that TB grew up rooting for, the New York Knicks.

Unlike the Giants, the Knicks are completely dysfunctional, and no objective person would ever consider rooting for them. Also unlike the Giants, it starts at the top, where owner James Dolan makes the team unworthy of any fan's interest, let alone money.

In the last 10 years or so, they've had exactly two moments when they were rootable, if that's a word.

The first was when they had A'mare Stoudamire, Raymond Felton, Danillo Gallinari, Landry Fields and that group two years ago, until they traded away Felton, Gallinari and Wilson Chandler to get Carmelo Anthony.

The second was the Linsanity era last season, an era during which Lin lifted the Knicks out of the swamp that they were and turned them into a can't-miss, can't-root-hard-enough-for event, an era that ended for good last night when the Knicks did not match the offer sheet Jeremy Lin signed with the Rockets.

Instead of giving Lin $25 million, the Knicks gave the reacquired Felton and Jason Kidd $27 million.

None of this is a basketball decision. It's all about how Anthony - and others, including J.R. Smith - didn't want Lin back. Were TB cynical, he'd suggest that Anthony simply wants to get his shots and points and doesn't care about the team at all. Were he even more cynical, he'd suggest that the real issue is jealousy over the attention that Lin generated.

Anyway, there is the real possibility that Lin was a flash in the pan and that he'll never match the level of play that he had when he took over the entire sports world last season. It's possible that he'll be a decent player but hardly an all-star.

None of that really matters.

If you're the Knicks, you've taken a fan base that has been forced to endure me-first big-name star players who haven't done one thing to help the team win and that fell completely in love with Jeremy Lin and then let him walk away.

TigerBlog can't understand how anybody could buy Knicks' tickets or watch the team or do any of that as long as Dolan is the owner, which, by the way, he'll be forever.

TB isn't ready to switch allegiances to the Brooklyn Nets - but he is willing to go check out the new arena in Brooklyn on Dec. 15, when Princeton plays Fordham and Michigan plays West Virginia as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival.

Princeton's men's basketball schedule for 2012-13 is almost complete. There are still some details to work out, and there are some TV games that will impact the final dates.

TB thinks last year's men's basketball schedule was about as unfavorable as any could ever be, with four home games by Nov. 30 and then no home games against Division I teams until Feb. 10, not to mention five straight road games to start the league season.

This year, from what TB has seen, there is a little more balance to the pre-conference schedule, and then the league appears to start with the reverse of last year. Of course, none of this is set in stone yet.

Princeton graduated Douglas Davis, Patrick Saunders and John Comfort, but Ian Hummer will be as good as any player in the Ivy League, and the Tigers were playing great at the end of last year. Also, this will be Year 2 for head coach Mitch Henderson, who had an outstanding rookie season and is way more Giants than Knicks when it comes to likeability.

Meanwhile, TB is looking forward to seeing the new arena in Brooklyn. He's yet to be to Citi Field or the new Yankee Stadium or the Prudential Center or Red Bulls Arena in Newark.

And it'll be awhile til he goes back to the Garden. At least while the current decision-makers run the Knicks.

Even if the tickets were free.

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