This is the first installment of a fairly regular check-in with the worst team in the National Basketball Association, and possibly life. The author may or may not be receiving compensation in the form of food.
Oh sweet relief. After two full days of deserved wicked pixels from local and national outlets for Sunday's lifeless no-try against the T-Wolves, the Washington Professional Basketball Team avoided at least one historical stink-stain (pop the cork, New Jersey/Brooklyn, 0-18 is safe!) by conquering the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. This was Toronto's fourth game in five nights, you say? KEEP THE WICKED PIXELS TO YOURSELF!
Welcome back to your monthly dose of Schadenfreude. Here at the Depressed Fan Base Committee, our job is to kick a city while it is down. And man, there are some down cities in this country. This month, 10 voters identified 35 cities as worthy of recognition. Along with the Top 10 list below, nominees included Detroit; Atlanta; Stillwater, Okla.; every city in Texas; the entire state of North Carolina; and the Three M's: Montreal, Manchester, and Milwaukee. (They still call those “The Three M's,” right?)
Disclaimer the First: We're not doing Happy Valley or Syracuse, so don't even ask. I had a whole slew of jokes lined up, but the Department of Justice flagged every single one. Come on, DoJ, don't you guys have something better to be flagging? I've got a neighbor who listens to Bruno Mars nonstop, and he doesn't even get audited by the IRS.
First off, anybody who clicked this blog post is a sick soul who likes to revel in the pain of others. The bad news is, that makes you an emotionally stunted human. The good news is, you're among friends.
One of our main gambits here at Grantland is to chronicle the misfortune of others, and I like to think we approach the task with just the right amount of glee. How else can you explain the dual act of convening a panel to vote on the city facing the toughest time in sports, and then mocking them? We're the bad guys in this movie, and there's no uplifting ending. In fact, the ending is the saddest part of all — the most depressed city. It's a little like Forrest Gump, if Gump had accidentally fallen into a manhole in the first 20 minutes and the rest of the movie was about Lieutenant Dan getting progressively angrier in a traffic jam.
And now it's November, which is a sad month in its own right, what with all those turkeys being hunted. So as you might guess, we're in pretty high spirits.
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.)
Hey, what do you say we get to that list?
Monday was a lovely night for baseball in Hagerstown, Md.: clear skies and 76 degrees for three innings of Stephen Strasburg. That might explain how a team in the Class A South Atlantic League drew a crowd of 1,652 fans. But this was Stephen Strasburg! Of course 1,652 people would come to watch him. And yet, what makes Strasburg's minor league stints even more remarkable is that this sort of fuss almost never happens.
In fact, it's exactly what doesn't happen.
The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers are visiting the White House on Friday in what’s become a standard part of American sports’ post-title victory laps. The visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW has become so commonplace that fans barely even notice it anymore. So how did this tradition start in the first place?