Espo: Misery is synonymous with Phoenix sports
Published: March 01, 2011 @ 9:32pm
1. (of a person) Wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable.
2. (of a situation or environment) Causing someone to feel wretchedly unhappy or uncomfortable: "horribly wet and miserable conditions".
3. The life of a Phoenix sports fan
I'm pretty sure I'm a glutton for punishment. For years I've watched two things religiously, Nicolas Cage movies and Phoenix professional sports teams. The reason why is simple: they both are excellent at giving off the illusion that they'll be good. The funny thing is, both rarely are any good and always leave me saying the same thing: "That had potential, but in the end it just became laughable'.
One could question my sanity when it comes to making choices, -- please don't, it might upset Mrs. Espo when she realizes marrying her was one of said choices -- but I'd prefer to look at it in a different way. See, I'm on a drug -- no not Charlie Sheen --, I'm addicted to being miserable when it comes to what I watch for entertainment. It chooses me, not the other way around, and I wear it as a badge of honor.
Saying that my love of Phoenix sports and Nicolas Cage has made me a cynical, sarcastic and snarky person has always been one of my favorite claims. Mostly because it gives me a pass for my behavior and doesn't require me to look any deeper into its true origin. It's tough for anyone to argue with when they look at what both have put me through over the years. (See The Wicker Man, most Cardinals seasons, Ghost Rider, the Coyotes on again off again move, Honeymoon in Vegas and the Suns ‘always the bridesmaid never the bride' act if you need convincing.)
So, imagine my surprise when Forbes Magazine informed me that I was only a part of the third most miserable fan base in all of the country. (Phoenix sports, not the Nicolas Cage fan club.)
My first question was, what does a magazine founded by a billionaire and written for millionaires know about being miserable? If Steve Forbes wanted to buy his favorite team, and a championship to go with it, he could do it faster than Christina Aguilera has destroyed her career.
The second question I asked was, exactly who did the publication think has lived a more miserable sports existence than we in the Valley have suffered through?
Our first love, the Phoenix Suns, have suffered through 43 years of being the NBA's version of David Spade. Always second fiddle and never the main attraction. The Arizona Cardinals have been the Yugo of local sports, one slight bump away from imploding no matter how good they are. Not to mention they threatened to leave more times than a disgruntled child acts like they're going to run away from home. The Phoenix Coyotes have had one foot out the door since their arrival while losing more than they've won and the Arizona Diamondbacks mortgaged long term success for one title (Remember Bernard Gilkey? Yeah, he's getting paid till 2017 for his 123 games of service with the D-backs.) We won't even get into ownership, that's a completely different type of misery in and of itself.
Forbes thinks that both Seattle and Atlanta are a more downtrodden group than those that call our fine city home. The Emerald City, really? I get that the Sonics left, but it was the city's own fault for not providing the team a new arena. You don't get extra points for making yourself miserable. Plus, they were 1-for-3 in NBA finals before leaving the city. I'd trade in the D-backs title and let the Suns move away eventually if it would guarantee that they won a championship in 2012. Their Seahawks have been to the playoffs 11 times -- eight more times than the Cardinals -- have made the NFC championship game two times and lost to the same Pittsburgh Steelers team as the Red Birds did in the Super Bowl. Not exactly something that should evoke sympathetic feelings from Valley fans. Their Mariners are the only team that really has a claim to causing more pain than the Diamondbacks and that's simply because our team is only ten years old and hasn't had as much time to rip our hearts out.
Atlanta had a great Braves team that dominated, at least in the regular season, during the 1990's and won a title. It's also the city Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record in. Can that really upset them that much? (They don't even show up to playoff games anyways.) The Falcons have been to the playoffs more times than the Cardinals and they've lost a Super Bowl in significantly less dramatic fashion than our town's team did. The Thrashers have been as unsuccessful as the Coyotes and both have been linked to moving to Winnipeg at one point or another. The Hawks have been to the Eastern Conference finals only two times and lost both. Too bad the Suns have been to the Western Conference finals 10 times and lost eight of them. That's four times the conference finals misery.
Misery is synonymous with Phoenix sports. Between one title that cost a franchise years of competitiveness, lots of painful near misses and two teams that have lost more than they've won while threatening to move, the Valley has rightfully earned its spot on top of the list. Just like many of Nicolas Cage's films have earned their spot atop many worst movie lists.