I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to turn the page on 2015—at least sportswise.
From a fandom perspective, this hasn’t been a great year for me.
The Giants, who were thankfully put out of their misery this past weekend, were positively atrocious, only kept afloat for weeks by the grace of playing in such a terrible division.
My Red Sox? I’m not sure they played a Major League Baseball-worthy game after May rolled around.
The less said about the Knicks, the better; when your team is on pace for a sub .500 season and it shows a marked improvement over the previous year, there’s not a lot to cheer for.
And even the teams I follow that did well—the hockey Rangers and my adopted National League-favorite Mets—managed deep postseason runs, only to be undone by the very flaws that had their supporters concerned all season long.
So why am I expecting things to be any better in 2016?
Maybe I’m an optimist; maybe I just don’t learn.
Right now, things don’t look promising for our in-season teams. The Rangers, who looked like the best team—at least record-wise—in the NHL for a month, are in the midst of a mid-winter swoon that would make the Washington Generals blush. The Knicks, even with Kristaps Porzingis energizing the fan base, are clearly also-rans without a discernable plan for the future.
Sure I was pumped by the, ahem, Price-y free agent splash the Red Sox made during the winter meetings, but since news broke on Dec. 28 that the Yankees strengthened their bullpen by trading for the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman, it looks as though Boston is in for, at best, a third-place finish within the division.
But that’s the thing about sports fandom: it invites you to suspend the pretense of rationality for as long as possible.
For now, I can still hold out hope that my teams will turn it around. Maybe the Knicks will put together a winning streak and make the playoffs. Maybe the Rangers will find a way to get off a snide that’s seen them win only four of their last 16 games and battle back to the top of the division. Maybe PED suspensions and balky elbow ligaments will wreak havoc on the Yankees’ pitching staff.
Maybe 2016 will be a better year. Maybe I’ll actually have some reason to cheer over the next 12 months.
One can only hope. Unfortunately, that’s what makes being a fan so darn frustrating.
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