"Right now, Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, just before my owners come into town, having brought in the labor relations committee and Billy [Hunter] having brought in his executive committee, it's time to make the deal," NBA commissioner David Stern said last week. "If we don't make it on Tuesday, my gut is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day."
This is bad news for you, the fan. But don’t worry! Some other people probably have it worse. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Harlem Globetrotters.)
Over Labor Day weekend, 10 of the ablest minds at Grantland briefly stopped typing their own names into a Google search bar and devoted themselves to a sad question: Which city's fan base is enduring the roughest stretch in sports right now? Where should the sympathetic among us direct our pity? Or, for the cruel at heart, our Schadenfreude?
Each member of the Most Depressed Fan Base Committee selected their top eight cities, based on factors known only to them, and point values were assigned on a 1-8 scale (most depressed earns eight points, least depressed earns one). The individual lists were then compiled into an overall ranking, which is presented below.
Before we get there, though, some clarification. We're concerned with which cities are suffering now, at this exact moment in time. As William Faulkner once wrote, "the past is dead." (I'm reciting that one from memory — hopefully I nailed it.) For example, the Red Sox World Series drought is irrelevant because it ended, while the Cubs drought holds weight because it's ongoing. You get the idea.
When the voting concluded, 31 cities/geographic areas were represented. Among those who earned just one vote and didn't make the final list were Lubbock, South Bend, San Diego, Baltimore, San Antonio, Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Phoenix, Long Island, Vancouver, Denver, Tennessee, and St. Louis.
In case you were curious, Lubbock came from Chuck Klosterman, and it came without explanation. But his e-mail signature is a picture of Mike Leach as God in a parody of the "Creation of Adam" painting, so maybe that explains it. (In the painting, Chuck replaces Adam.)
A doubleheader between the Mariners and the Indians in Cleveland on Tuesday brings to mind one of the greatest baseball quotes of all time. In April 2007, a four-game series between the teams had been canceled because of a snowstorm, and the games were being made up piecemeal as the season went along. On June 11, a Monday, the Mariners used a scheduled off day to visit Cleveland for the second of four games. Someone asked Ichiro Suzuki how he felt about the trip, and he did the rest:
"To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to," Ichiro said. "If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."
And that was through an interpreter! It easily goes down as the greatest baseball quote that required translation. He also wins the Alexis De Tocqueville Award for the best intuitive understanding of America by a non-native.
In honor of Ichiro's wit, we've put together a totally arbitrary top ten list of great baseball quotes. It was compiled from memory, Internet scouring, and the treasure trove of baseball lore that is my friend, Spike.