Valley sports are a dumpster fire of disappointment
The World Series’ dominant storyline this year is the impending demise of a longstanding championship drought for Cleveland or Chicago. The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948; the Cubs since 1908.
Suffering of that magnitude is easy to quantify by simply stating the years, but at least the Indians’ and Cubs’ fan bases have hope and the well wishes of an extended family of bandwagon fans. The Valley is suffering in near-silence when it comes to the national narrative. Phoenix-area sports are a dumpster fire of mediocrity, misstated expectations and outright misery, yet we are grieving alone.
— The Diamondbacks ‘ 69 wins were 10 fewer than the previous seasons despite the $206.5 million purchase of free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke and the augmented anticipation that signing produced. In the wake of that 69-93 season, the team is doing some front office house cleaning that will either produce better results (it’s hard to imagine worse) or amount to a reshuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic.
— The Cardinals have gone winless the last two weeks to enter their bye and the midpoint of the season at 3-4-1. Let’s be honest, that tie with Seattle two games ago is sitting like a loss on the Cardinals’ record. Arizona probably needs to win seven of its eight remaining games to make the playoffs this season and five of those are on the road. The NFC’s relative mediocrity when it comes to the wild card race may play in Arizona’s favor and only require six wins. The Giants, Eagles and Packers are tied for the wild card lead at 4-3, but does anyone have faith that even if the Cardinals make the postseason without Jared Veldheer and maybe Tyrann Mathieu, they can go on the road three successive weeks and win their way to the Super Bowl? The sobering truth is that the Cardinals are a mediocre football team heading into the break, and they have difficult games upcoming at Minnesota and Atlanta this month that could well determine their fate.
— The Coyotes opened the season with such promise. The trouble with that promise is that it was steeped in youth. An injury to goalie Mike Smith, injuries to key contributors Jamie McGinn and Michael Stone, and a brutal six-game road trip have combined to bury the Coyotes in a 2-6 pit — dead last in the NHL standings. That’s a deep, early hole to climb out of in the talented Western Conference. Arizona’s stated hopes of competing for a playoff spot this season are already in jeopardy.
— Speaking of renewed hope, few thought the Suns were ready to contend for a playoff spot, even if the bottom of the NBA’s Western Conference is unimpressive (like most of the NBA beyond the top two or three teams), but an 0-3 start that included a 19-point, opening-night loss to Sacramento at home has Suns fans already scanning the mock drafts for potential lottery picks.
The picture is no better in college football, where injury-decimated Arizona State has dropped three straight and appears headed to a second consecutive mediocre season.
Championship droughts are a tricky business to quantify because some teams have been around longer than others and others have changed locations, but if the Cubs rally to win the World Series in seven games and snap their 108-year drought, guess who would own the longest drought in North America’s four major pro sports: the Arizona Cardinals, who haven’t won an NFL title since 1947.
The Suns have never won one. Neither have the Coyotes, leaving the Diamondbacks as the Valley’s lone title producer in 2001 among North America’s four major professional sports (ASU has never won a national college football title, either).
Sorry. We didn’t mean to depress you on a Monday. It might be a good time to binge on all that Halloween candy your kids won’t eat. Chocolate is a known joy stimulant. Valley sports are not.
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