As we all know, sports leagues around the world are currently in a state of disarray. Even though some organizations in America like the UFC and NASCAR are starting to hold events again—and certain leagues outside of America like the Bundesliga have made a comeback—most of the sports world is still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. While this has agitated many sports fans, including myself, who can’t wait to see live sports return to television, there are admittedly some silver linings. For instance, I’ve realized that my life, as a New York sports fans, is far less stressful when I don’t have to watch my god awful teams lose on a daily basis. For some people, sports are fun. For Giants, Knicks, and Mets fans like myself, fun isn’t exactly the right word. Although there are very few things I’d rather do than sit down and watch one of my favorite teams play, the experience is not always an enjoyable one. I’m a fan of the type of teams that you have to hate in order to be considered a real fan of. For example, you will never hear the most die-hard Mets and Knicks fans say anything nice about the Mets and Knicks. That type of behavior is just not a part of our DNA.
During this pandemic, I feel like we have already spent more than enough time complaining about the current absence of sports in our lives. So, instead of writing about the negative aspects of leagues currently being on lockdown, I figured I should celebrate our ongoing lack of sports by recounting some of the moments in which they did nothing but break my heart. Before I get to my list, I think it is important that I discuss what constitutes a truly shitty sports moment. Although genuinely terrible moments can take place at anytime in the regular season, postseason, or the offseason, a heartbreaking regular season loss is obviously not as devastating as a loss in a championship game. Furthermore, there aren’t going to be a ton of transactions (trades/signings) on this list, because while the shittiness of these moments can be apparent the second they take place, it often takes some time for that shittiness to really reveal itself.
I want to make it clear that that this list could have certainly been longer than just ten moments. Even though I’m only 23-years-old, there is no shortage of horrific moments for me to include. But for now, I figured ten would be more than enough to make me think twice about wishing sports would come back soon.
10. Every Single Bobby Bonilla Day
I’m aware that this technically doesn’t qualify as one single moment. And yes, that means I’m cheating right off the bat. But it’s my list so fuck it, I can do what I want. June 1st is an annual reminder for Mets fans, and the rest of the sports world, that we are an absolute embarrassment. Being a Mets fans is hard enough on its own, but getting laughed at by the rest of the league on a yearly basis only makes it harder. There is no better symbol for the ineptitude of this franchise than Bobby Bonilla Day. But cheer up Mets fans, only 15 years to go.
9. Plaxico Burress Shoots Himself in the Leg
We’re starting off this list with two of the most embarrassing moments of my sports fan life. On November 28, 2008, New York Giants star wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg at a night club. I’m not sure why I’m even explaining the situation because I’m certain that everyone remembers this happening. What people may not remember, is that the Giants—who were the Super Bowl defending champions at the time—had a record of 10-1 when this happened. What happens after Bureess shoots himself though? He gets suspended, the Giants lose three out of their last four games, and go on to get bounced by the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs. I’m not saying we would have went back-to-back if Burress never shoots himself, but there’s no question that it fucked up our season.
8. Luis Castillo Drops the Ball
For as long as I live, I’ll never forget the experience of watching this play. As a Mets fan, I feel like I should let non-Mets fans know something important about us, we enjoy seeing the Yankees lose almost as much as we enjoy seeing the Mets win. So, Yankees-Mets games can be especially stressful for us, regardless of when they take place. And on June 12, 2009, with an 8-7 Mets lead, we had a win against our crosstown rival virtually sealed when Francisco Rodriguez got Mark Teixeira to pop out in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. That’s when all hell broke loose. Instead of making a routine play that he has to have made at least 10,000 times in his life before this moment, second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball and the Yankees won. I wanted to break my TV screen as a 12-year-old back in 2009, and I want to break my computer screen as a 23-year-old right now.
7. The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery
First off, I want to say that there will be a much larger Knicks discussion coming later on in this list. The life of a Knicks fan, especially one born in 1996, is nothing short of dismal. Year in and year out, we are forced to watch our team embarrass themselves for 82 games. Although there have been several minor glimpses of hope throughout the past 20 years, there have been none like the 2019 draft lottery. This was supposed to be the moment for us Knicks fans. Our team, along with the Cavs and the Suns, had the best odds to get the number one overall pick, and we were convinced that Zion Williamson was coming to The Big Apple. Did that end up happening though? Of course not, this is the Knicks we’re talking about. We ended up receiving the 3rd overall pick, and selecting RJ Barrett, whom the jury is still very much out on after 2/3rds of an up-and-down rookie season.
6. The Mets Collapse in 2007 and 2008
And we’re back to the Mets. A lot of teams know how to fail, but few know how to fail in spectacular fashion like the New York Mets do. Let’s do this one in chronological order. On September 12, 2007, the Mets had a seven-game division lead in the NL East with just 17 games to play. So what happened? Well, of course, they went on to lose 12 of those games, including one infamous one in which Tom Glavine couldn’t even make it out of the first inning, and miss the playoffs. How did they make up for it in the next season? Well, once again we led the division, this time by 3.5 games, with 17 games left to play. Naturally, we won just seven of those games, lost the division, and missed out on the wildcard. I hate rooting for this team.
5. The Giants Blow a 21-point Lead to the Eagles in Eight Minutes
(Yes, I refused to title this entry ‘The Miracle at the New Meadowlands’)
We might as well stick with the “collapse” theme we established in the last entry. We’re not discussing a team collapsing in several games here though, instead we’re focusing on just one single, horrifying game. The date was December 19, 2010. This Week 15 matchup between the Giants and Eagles had enormous playoff implications. And with a 21-point lead with just over eight minutes to play, Giants fans were sure we had this one. And then… some stuff happened, DeSean Jackson returned a punt, whatever it’s not important. What is important, is the fact that the Eagles went on to lose in the playoffs to Green Bay anyways. Fucking losers.
4. Carlos Beltran Strikes Out Looking
Alright, writing this list is officially putting me in a bad mood. We all know the story with this one though. It is October 12, 2006, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, and the Cardinals lead the Mets by two runs near the end of an epic NLCS Game Seven. Carlos Beltran comes up to bat and immediately goes down 0-2 against Adam Wainwright. What follows, is the pitch that will haunt all Mets fans for the rest of their lives. As Wainwright’s big breaking curve came down the middle of the plate, Beltran just stood there, completely paralyzed. And just like that, strike three, the Cardinals were headed to the World Series, and the Mets were headed towards two devastating seasons that I highlighted earlier on in this list. It all could have turned out differently if Beltran had just swung the bat.
3. USA Soccer Fails to Qualify for the 2018 World Cup
I knew this list would not be complete without the inclusion of at least one US Men’s Soccer heartbreak. I thought about including our 2014 loss to Belgium, but truthfully, we should have known we weren’t going to win that game, even with the greatest performance in the history of performances from Tim Howard. To me, the loss to Trinidad and Tobago that knocked us out of contention for the 2018 World Cup is the much more disappointing and infuriating loss. I say this for two reasons; 1. It obviously prevented us from qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. And 2. There was absolutely no reason we should have lost this game. All we had to do was beat Trinidad and Tobago. To this day, this is one of the most baffling and enraging games I have ever had the displeasure of viewing. Some say it is the worst result and worst performance in the history of the national team, and I one-hundred-percent agree.
2. The Mets Lose the 2015 World Series
All my life, I have just wanted to see the New York Mets win a world series. As I was too young to remember the 2000 series, 2015 is the closer I have ever gotten. Although this series may look like a blowout if you just look at how many games the Mets won in it, it was much more heartbreaking than your typical 4-1 series loss. In fact, there was a stat floating around on Twitter a few weeks back that showed the Mets were either leading or tied in 40 of the 53 total innings this series was comprised of. We had the lead in 24 of those innings, while the Royals only led in 13, and we still managed to only win one game. That’s Mets baseball. Whether it’s Lucas Duda’s ill-fated throw to the plate, or Matt Harvey returning to the mound in the ninth inning of Game Five, I will never forget where I was when I watched all of the many Mets mishaps that we managed to pull off throughout these five game. Fuck.
1. The Knicks: Everything
Here’s a quick test to tell if your life as a sports fan is truly depressing or not. If you’re a New York Mets fan, and they’re not the most embarrassing team you root for, then things really are that bad. Although I highlighted the 2019 Draft Lottery earlier, there are just simply too many depressing Knicks moments over the last 20 years for me to spread out throughout this list. In fact, the worst thing about the Knicks is that they’re not even up-and-down like the Giants and Mets have been throughout this century. It is just all down for the Knicks. The best way to look at how miserable it is to be a Knicks fan is not to look at the awful moments, which there have been plenty of. Instead, you should look at what we, Knicks fans, considered the “good” moments to be. The most exciting moment of the previous 20 years for the New York Knicks was Linsanity, which lasted about two weeks. Other than that we had Amar’e Stoudemire’s first month as a Knick back in 2010, the Carmelo Anthony trade, Melo’s 62-point regular season game against the Bobcats in 2014, and making it to the second round of the playoffs in 2013. That’s literally it. Those are the highlights of two full decades of basketball for the Knicks. When it comes to the Mets, I want to win a World Series. When it comes to the Giants, I want to see another Super Bowl. When it comes to the Knicks though, I just want to be relevant. That is my only goal for this team, which is how you know things have been truly abysmal.