Tag Archives: Seattle

So This Is What Misery Feels Like …

The Braves epic September 2011 swoon helped propel Atlanta to the top if Forbes' Most Miserable Sports Cities

This is a blog that basks in the misery that underachieving sports franchises inflict on their respective fan bases, from the rabid, rust-belted Dawg Pound inhabitants of Cleveland to the new moneyed, good ol’ boy transients who fein to support Atlanta teams. The authors, which include a Seattle native still so distraught at losing the Sonics to OKC that he’s yet to post anything, are constantly quibbling about which of their hometowns is in fact the sorriest of sports cities.

On Leap Day 2012, it is I who can claim the title, as an independent arbiter, Forbes magazine has declared that the loss of the NHL Thrashers (honestly, no one cares) and the epic September collapse of the Braves (don’t really want to talk about it) makes Atlanta more pitiable than Sonics-less Seattle. Yay! (I guess.)

Here’s how the Coming Up Small team took the news:

ATLSwami: CAME up small!

ValmiCLE: You can have it. Totally impossible to take that list remotely seriously. Puts Denver ahead of Cleveland. DENVER! With this: “A great run from 1996 to 2001 (four titles) doesn’t quite mitigate a long bridesmaid history for the Mile High City.” Four fucking titles in the last 15 years gets less weight than 0 for 45? Blech. Worst one of these lists I’ve ever seen. Buffalo? Seattle? No problem. But putting Phoenix and Denver up there?

ATLS: Phoenix? They had the one Dbacks series. Anything else?

VCLE: Years and years of the Suns being good. Went to a Super Bowl. Dbags more recent than Atlanta’s.

ATLS: So, y’all have been to multiple World Series and an NBA Finals.

VCLE: This is a zero sum game. Been to 3 championship rounds in my lifetime and lost each in a horrible way. Can’t argue with zero titles in over 40 years. Who cares if the hockey team leaves Atlanta? No one in Atlanta clearly. Let’s not go over what happened when Cleveland lost its most popular team. In that time, ATL’s been to a Super Bowl and as many World Series [5, actually, to the Indians’ 2] and managed to win one. Winning matters. No comparison. Winning before 1964 doesn’t matter unless you’re old enough to remember it. And even then.

ATLS: It’s not about you, dude. It’s about the city.

VCLE: Shut your word hole

ATLS: Cleveland was there before you, and, this might be a stretch, it will outlast you.

GreggySEA (in his first appearance on the blog): Damn, swiped first place from us.

ATLS: If it makes you feel better, I don’t value the loss of the Thrashers as even being in the same ballpark as the loss of the Sonics.

GSEA: It does make me feel better.  And we just lost out next best hope with Sacramento staying put.

ATLS: Did KJ ever frustrate you back in the day? Cause he’s certainly doing it from Sacto’s mayor’s office.

GSEA: Yeah, fuck that guy.

VCLE: Drafted by the Cavs and traded for Larry Nance, if I recall.

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The Cleveland-Duke Conundrum

Championship ring from the last major title of any kind in the city of Cleveland--1964. Dammit. At least it's classier than the newer bling-era Liberace rings.

Before we discuss loser-on-loser violence in response to atlswami’s last post, I must note that it is just after halftime of the Ravens-Pats game for a trip to the Super Bowl. Dear Ravens: Lose please. I hate you. Naturally I’m bitter about that team’s ongoing success, hard-nosed running and defensive identity, even the rivalry with the stupid Steelers (these two teams of remorseless, jackbooted headhunters deserve each other—it blows that they have to constitute one-quarter of the Browns’ schedule every damn year—and it makes the battle for third with Cincinnati our only real rivalry, which is just sad), and, especially, their Super Bowl victory four years after leaving Cleveland. That falls into the expanding category of unique, innovative ways that fortune stabs Cleveland fans in the neck. I certainly can’t think of another beloved franchise stolen from one town that won a chronically elusive title (Browns one of four teams with no Super Bowl appearances) within five years. As big a middle finger at a town I can imagine, worse than The Decision, especially since the WoA is still without a title as yet. Compound this with the fact that my favorite player when I was a child, Ozzie Newsome, is their goddam awesome GM. Another Coming Up Small city, Seattle, is starting to understand what this feels like, but OKC needs to win a title first. Side note: Simmons and his ilk recently discussed somewhere how poetic it would be if Baltimore won a title in Indianapolis (site of this year’s Super Bowl, and I must confess that I freaking love that stadium’s design), the city that stole its Colts franchise in 1983. Blech, who cares. Indianapolis more or less sucked donkey balls until Peyton arrived. Baltimore got its justice. I’m just waiting for the wheel to turn and “hapless Ravens” to enter the SportsCenter lexicon. I wish them ill.

Yes, I did evince a little hope for the Cavs future–there’s a ton of young players on that team, likable guys who are starting to distinguish themselves. Irving, Thompson, Casspi, I like these guys. A couple of pieces and some experience away from being interesting. Play hard, good coach, fun to watch, what’s not to like at the moment? At least we’re not Washington Wiz (the major omission in the Coming Up Small lineup of sports towns at the moment). They’re a cavalcade of awfulness because their young promising players are like torture to watch, hot dogging when they’re getting blown out and ball-hogging all the time. Yech. Concern with the Cavs now is maybe winning too many games and fouling up their lottery ticket in a strong draft. So thanks Hawks for setting us straight. I’m happier with the Cavs situation than I think atlswami is the with the Hawks. Sure, the Hawks make the playoffs every year, but they’re stuck in the ghetto of mediocrity, and it’s costing them an arm and a leg. Sparing Dwight Howard, they’re not getting any further until they blow it up and start over again, I figure. So Cavs, step one in rebuilding the right way under way. Kudos, fellas. We could look like Oklahoma City, Denver, or the Sixers in a few years, and maybe take Miami out of the playoffs once. That’d taste like truffles, man. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Finally, the Duke-bag issue requires some explanation. I came by Duke fandom honestly–I went there for college, and it’s impossible not to absorb some of that culture. If pain is the engine of solidarity in Cleveland, persecution does it for Duke fans. The vitriol that goes their way, delightfully saucy stuff. But yeah, it’s awful weird for a Cleveland fan to also have the Yankees of college basketball in his personal stable (and the two have several connections–Danny Ferry, Trajan Langdon, Carlos Boozer, and now Irving). I actually do know what it’s like to have one of my teams win a title–two, actually, since I matriculated in 1993. Begrudge me that? Meh. Your prerogative, Bobby. I’m not gonna fight you. As much as I enjoyed those Duke titles, that fandom really doesn’t measure up to being a Cleveland fan. Not in the slightest. Being a Duke fan is easy. Being a Cleveland fan is hard.


What Is “Coming Up Small”?

The inspiration for this blog's name comes from a Sports Illustrated article written after the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals. (The authors were pleased with that outcome.)

“Coming up small” is what the teams that the authors of this blog love seem to do annually. It’s Ichiro and the 2001 Seattle Mariners tying a Major League Baseball record for 116 regular season wins in … before managing to take only game from the Yankees in the ALCS. It’s the Cleveland Cavaliers swashbuckling through the rest of the NBA enroute to the best record in both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons … and failing to make it to the NBA Finals both seasons. It’s the Atlanta Braves making it to the postseason every year for 14 straight years, beginning in 1991 … and only notching one World Series victory (and that, in the strike-shortened 1995 season).

It’s losing the Sonics to, of all places, Oklahoma City. It’s handing Baltimore a Super Bowl-ready franchise. It’s failing to adequately support not one, but two hockey teams (the Flames and the Thrashers).

The authors of this blog all live in New York City, home to storied franchises, such as the Yankees, Knicks, and Giants. (Yes, there are some less storied franchises here, too.) Yet, they have held steadfastly to the franchises of their youth and suffered perpetually from those teams’ unfailing mediocrity. They hail from the towns, that according to Forbes’ most recent assessment, are the first-, second-, and eighth-most miserable sports cities in the country.

Coming Up Small  is a venue to discuss what it means to be an expat fan, to honor your vestigial loyalties nearly a decade or more after you’ve left the city where you grew up. It’s a site to document the process of trying to teach your newborn son to love teams from a city he’s never known, that don’t get a lot of media coverage in the Northeast, and that don’t have a track record of success. It’s a corner of the web to discuss the mix of pride and shame that comes from going to a sports bars and having people point and say, “Whoa, a Falcons fan!”

This is a blog about being a fan. It’s also a blog about being a fool.