Monday, October 29, 2007

The Fear of No Fear

"What is your biggest fear?"

I was once asked this question about four years ago. As always, when asked a question of such personal magnitude, I wanted to take a moment to select a proper answer that truly captures and accentuates my absolute greatest fear. So, I brainstormed for several seconds, going over the many things that lock up my nerves and paralyze my mental ability. After honestly reviewing it in my mind twice, I came up with the answer of...

"The Boston Red Sox winning the World Series."

It was the most logical answer for my feelings, as prior to 2004, the thought of the Red Sox winning was truly frightening. It was the fear of every Yankee fan. Imagining what it would feel like, the annoyance of Red Sox fans, the feeling of defeat for New Yorkers, and most of all, the end of our greatest edge over the Red Sox- a psychological advantage. However, the Red Sox are cursed, right? That could never happen our my lifetime. No worries.

Then 2004 happened.

A year that no Yankee fan likes to mention. A year which saw a catastrophic collapse, a remarkable story, and the rise of "Red Sox Nation." A year that has been thrown out of every Yankee fan's history book like four day old leftovers. Along with it went the belief in curses and old Babe Ruth folklore.

Yes, 2004 felt like the world was upside down. Something so strange that it could not be explained, because in some fashion, it could not be comprehended. A feeling that can only be explained as eerie, making many believers in the term, "twilight zone."However, shortly after, everything seemed to be well on its way to returning to familiar ground. Red Sox swept out of playoffs in 2005. Miss Playoffs in 2006. Yankees once again gaining advantage in the rivalry, and looking as stellar as ever on paper (Hence, only on paper).

Yes, things seemed to be slowly returning to normal. It would take years to rebuild it, but it was well on its way until...

2007.

Another Red Sox World Series Championship. What was once a fear, has become a nightmare. No longer are we afraid of what can happen, but now, what will happen. The Red Sox have pulled off another spectacular October with a team that looks poised to make a run next year as well. This time around, the feeling isn't as weird, because sadly, every Yankee fan has been in this position before. Now, its two championships in the last four years. It has become a little familiar. Our fear is now gone. We have become desensitized. With the Red Sox on top of the world again, our fear now is that the fear is no longer there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

In the Knick of Time

City of Champions.

It is a term for which New Yorkers wish can be associated with their city. For a place so demanding, so goal-oriented, so ego-driven, New Yorkers consider it almost a birthright that the term is given to them. After all, it is the biggest city in the world. The number one market in the nation. The city of dreams. The biggest Stage. The Big Apple. Yup, this is the show. New York City should be the "City of Champions." After all, New Yorkers lose enough time, sleep and not to mention money, over their favorite teams. There should not be a reason why they are not.

However, they aren't.

In actuality, they aren't even close. With the Yanks pondering their future, the Jets a lost cause, and the Giants giving the city its last bit of hope, the city does not have a favorite. What about the New York Rangers, you say? Well, maybe, if you're into that sort of thing, but we are talking about sports that capture the masses. Sports that actually matter.

So is there such a thing as a possible City of Champions? Is it at all possible?

Well, if New Yorkers took some time away from praying for the Colorado Rockies in the upcoming World Series, they would notice that Boston is as close as it gets. The Red Sox are in the fall classic again, much to the disdain and agony of New Yorkers. The Patriots look as of they will never lose again. The Celtics are gearing up with their "Big Three." Boston is the real deal. And that absolutely kills this city. It is no secret, we like to see Boston struggle, period.

However, this is where the New York Knickerbockers come in. This situation is perfect for the New York Knicks to fuse a broken relationship into a mended force against this "City of Champions" moniker.

The Knicks, are in need of a loyal fan base again. A fan base that will make the Garden, The Garden. What better way to do this by not only winning, but playing hard and taking down one of Boston's championship teams. With the instant pub that the Celts have entering the NBA season, getting out of the gate fast would give the Knicks that attention to get things going in the right direction.

On the other hand, this city is dying for a "feel good" story. The Yankees situation seems like a greek tragedy right now, with great figure's falling, and a new power rising. The Jets seem to be heading down the same path alondside Chad Pennington's arm in the driver's seat. The Giants are singing the same old tune, a big run, ready to let us down somewhere along the ride. With the Knicks as the joke around the league (still), a return to winning ways can give New York something they can hang their hats on. A resurrection they can identify with.

The Knicks time is now. The timing couldn't be any more right. A few wins (especially over the Celtics and Nets) will give New Yorkers a feel good story that will not only give them a winner, but knock the city of Boston out of the spotlight. That is of course until Spring Training comes around again.

With that said, I must get back to praying for the Colorado Rockies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

As Iron, Man Sharpens Man: Realizing Your Full Potential

The proverbial look into the mirror.

We all have those periodical moments when one must reevaluate the life he or she is leading. A reevaluation which includes understanding the past, grasping the present, and preparing for the future. Many times, the combination of the three are overwhelming, which causes these periodical moments, causing the vicious cycle over and over again.

It's life.

Nonetheless, many times a person is self-evaluated on varied standards. Most often, it is the standard of one's expectations. Specific goals, dreams and aspirations that you are capable of approaching. It's a challenge within yourself. What you aspire to be is the focus, a focus vastly isolated from the influence of others. These are the standards which you hold yourself accountable to in all facets of your life. If you fail, you reevaluate. You look into the mirror, and you get on track.

Another standard is by competition. Your self-evaluation is dependent on your understanding of others. Your driving force pushes you against the grain, not choosing failure as an option. You know what you must do in order to avoid it. It's not so much as what you expect from yourself, but how you compare to others, and your drive to exceed beyond others. So you use your past, understand what you need to do in the present, and you prepare for the future. You reevaluate. You look in to the mirror, and you get on track.

Then, there is what others expect from you. A form of trickery that can cause a misconception in the way one perceive and evaluate themselves. Further more, what happens when what you expect from yourself, is inferior to what others expect from you? Now you might say it doesn't matter, as long as you are content, but the fact of the matter is that everyone has blind spots. Blind spots which only others can view. Parts of our lives where you ultimately do not know the problem, solution nor the potential. You know have no idea of the past. Confused about the present. Clueless about the future.

Blind Spots.

They can be tricky.

A tricky formula, which includes unconditionally depending on others to realize and improve yourself.

Am I better? Are they right? Are they wrong? Can I do that?

They might be right. They might be wrong. However, at the end of the day, when you look into the proverbial mirror and apply it, you're that much closer...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rationally, He is My Guy


The New York Yankees.

It seems everyone has an opinion lately on the future of the Yanks and what direction they head for 2008 season. Torre? Pettite? Posada? Rivera? Abreu? And oh yeah, Alex Rodriguez? Everyone has their opinions on who should stay and who needs to go. A mere three days after what has become the quietest 24-hour mourning period in New York City in the past seven years, the Yanks face a crucial and probably the most important off-season in the franchise's last twenty years.

It is not a secret (Thanks to non-stop ESPN coverage) that Joe Torre is the focus point of this off-season so far. Athletes like stability, and for the Posadas, Riveras, and Pettites of the world, Torre's return will play a huge part in their return. The Yankee Brass know this. Over the last twelve years, Torre has been immortalized in this city. Which is why it is smart for them to take a few days to be rational and separate emotion from logic. After all, in what other sport would a coach or manager with Torre's credibility and championship pedigree be removed from making the calls? Can you imagine Bill Belichick being fired by the Patriots after failing to win the Super Bowl?

Nonetheless, time does not wait for anyone, and it isn't waiting for the same men that awaits Torre's fate. The Yankees have new blood rising, and it cannot, and should not be ignored. However, as smooth as he's handled the New York press throughout his tenure, Torre has shown immaculate ability to nurture the young ones while keeping the high-priced millionaires in check. His players respect him. Former players respect him. This city respects him. The league respects him. Even Terry Francona and Red Sox fans respect him.

Let's be rational.

With that said, as far as Joe Torre as New York Yankees Manager is concerned - He is my guy.

If another decision is reached on "Mr. Torre", "Clueless Joe" did quite a job over the past twelve years.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dome Pondering Import - "Consider The Yankees Dynasty Over"

With all of the controversy, discussion and debate over Joe Torre's position as New York Yankees manager, many have failed to look at the broader spectrum of the situation. ESPN writer, Howard Bryant captures the feelings, thoughts and brutal truth of Yankee Universe following their elimination.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Different Year It Is Not

$11.6 million.

That is how much money Isiah Thomas will cost Madison Square Garden as they pay for his indiscretions and poor judgment. Only, he didn't make these mistakes regarding the New York Knicks.

Isiah Thomas who has been scrutinized for all but his first few days as President of the New York Knicks, is once again under the spotlight. If criticism for his decisions regarding the Knicks weren't enough, Thomas has now added a $11.6M tab to the Garden's bill for sexual harassment.

As a die-hard New York Knicks fan, holding Thomas liable for the Knicks financial woes regarding the NBA salary cap is absurd. Thomas replaced an overpaid, aging roster with an exciting, promising (and overpaid) roster. Last year was his definitive year. A year of do or die. Although before injuries plagued the team from contending for a playoff spot, he proved that he had put together something worthy of his contract extension from James Dolan.

However, this year was supposed to be different. This year was supposed to be a year of stability. A year of focus. A year of finally getting serious about on-court issues rather than those that happen outside the Garden walls. Instead, we get the same old story. Like a ritual now - a season beginning with controversy placing the franchise and the "World's Most Famous arena" in a marred spotlight.