31 October 2008

Easy on the"poor me"s

First, I'm going to begin by saying congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies, who defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4 games to 1 in the World Series and are Major League Baseball's 2008 champions. They outplayed the Rays and outlasted the rain and proved that age and treachery do beat youth, innocence, and a bad haircut.

That said, don't count me among those who feel the slightest amount of pity for Philadelphia's "long-suffering" fans who had to endure a 25-year wait between championships, because I don't want to hear it.

If you take a look at the major-league sports franchises in the “big four” sports (football, baseball, hockey, and basketball), you’ll see that there are 114 teams spread out across 40 metropolitan areas within the United States (I'm omitting Canada for a reason). Those metropolitan areas would be: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-New Jersey, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington, DC.

Out of those 40 cities, 17 have won a championship in the last 10 years (this includes Philadelphia's World Series title this week). Here's how they break out:

Championship cities in the last 10 years:

Metro AreaChampionships
Los Angeles5
New York-New Jersey5
San Antonio4
St. Louis2
Tampa Bay2

Of course, if we look back further, let's say the last 25 years, the list gets considerably longer. Now the cities where a championship was celebrated grows from 17 to 25 and now includes: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco Bay area, Washington, DC.

Which means that the following cities have NOT won any sort of a championship in the last 25 years: Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Jacksonville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle.

The problem with that list is that we have a lot of cities which are either new to the whole major league sports scene (Columbus, Memphis, OKC to name a few) or have only one team (or both). So, let's remove the cities that only one team calls home and those whose teams have been in existence for less than 20 years, we see list become a lot smaller. Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle.

Hmm, that really draws a stark map of sporting futility, doesn't it.

Metro AreaLast TitleMantle of Futility
Buffalo19654 straight Super Bowl losses
Cleveland1964how many losing seasons since?
New Orleans-zero winning seasons in first 19 years
San Diego-
Seattle1979only franchise to actually win a championship left town

Looking at it this way, it kind of makes that whole "haven't won a championships in 25 years" thing seem a little silly, doesn't it?

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