Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday Top Ten: Major Sports Droughts Before First Championship

This past Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended their city's 52-year major sports title drought by beating the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, which were clearly rigged.  It was the first championship for the Cavaliers in their franchise's 45-year history.

Amazingly, this is not the longest an NBA team has gone before winning its first title, and definitely not as long as a lot of teams in the other three major sports leagues have gone before winning their first titles.  

Here are the longest first-championship droughts in each of the four major sports leagues –- that is, the longest it has taken a franchise to win its first title since joining its league.  Here are a couple caveats and clarifications:
  • I'm not counting AFL, ABA, or WHA championships.  
  • I'll be starting a former ABA and WHA team's clock from the year it began playing in the NBA and NHL, respectively.  
  • For former AFL teams, I'll be starting from the first Super Bowl season (1966-1967), even though the NFL and AFL didn't merge for another few years.  
  • For the NBA, NFL, and NHL, I'm counting the year the season ended as the season, so for instance, Super Bowl XX was played after the 1985 season, but it was played in 1986, so that counts as 1986.  
  • For MLB, I am counting 1903 as the first year possible, since that was the year the first World Series was played.  
  • For the NHL, I am counting 1927 as the first year possible, since that was the year of the first official NHL playoffs and the year Lord Stanley's Cup became a permanent fixture in the NHL, although that really didn't come into play, since the Original Six all won titles pretty soon after 1927.  
  • Since the NBA, NFL, and NHL seasons have ended this year, I've added another year to any current droughts, since obviously a team that hasn't won the title this year cannot win one until 2017.  

With that, here you go:

1.  77 years:  Philadelphia Phillies (1903-1980)
2.  63 years:  Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns (1903-1966)
3.  56 years:  Texas Rangers/Washington Senators (1961-present)
4.  55 years:  Houston Astros/Houston Colt .45s (1962-present)
5.  52 years:  Los Angeles Dodgers/Brooklyn Dodgers/Brooklyn Robins/Brooklyn Superbas (1903-1955)
6 (tie).  47 years:  San Diego Padres (1969-present); Milwaukee Brewers/Seattle Pilots (1969-present); Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos (1969-present)
9.  41 years:  Los Angeles Angels/Anaheim Angels/California Angels (1961-2002)
10.  38 years:  Seattle Mariners (1977-present)

1.  49 years:  Detroit Pistons/Ft. Wayne Pistons (1950-1989)
2.  48 years:  Phoenix Suns (1969-present)
3.  46 years:  Los Angeles Clippers/San Diego Clippers/Boston Braves (1971-present)
4.  45 years:  Cleveland Cavaliers (1971-2016)
5.  42 years:  Utah Jazz/New Orleans Jazz (1975-present)
6 (tie).  39 years:  Brooklyn Nets/New Jersey Nets/New York Nets (1977-present)*; Denver Nuggets (1977-present); Indiana Pacers (1977-present)**
9.  30 years:  Dallas Mavericks (1981-2011)
10 (tie).  27 years:  Minnesota Timberwolves (1990-present); Orlando Magic (1990-present)

*The Nets won ABA titles in 1974 and 1976 prior to joining the NBA
**The Pacers won ABA titles in 1970, 1972, and 1973 prior to joining the NBA

1.  56 years:  Minnesota Vikings (1961-present)
2 (tie).  50 years:  Atlanta Falcons (1967-present); Buffalo Bills (1967-present)*; San Diego Chargers (1967-present)**; Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers (1967-present)***
6.  48 years:  Cincinnati Bengals (1969-present)
7 (tie).  42 years:  Pittsburgh Steelers/Pittsburgh Pirates (1933-1975); New Orleans Saints 1968-2010)
9.  37 years:  Seattle Seahawks (1977-2014)
10.  36 years:  San Francisco 49ers (1946-1982)

*The Bills won AFL titles in 1964 and 1965 prior to joining the NFL
**The Chargers won the AFL title in 1963 prior to joining the NFL
***The Oilers won AFL titles in 1960 and 1961 prior to joining the NFL

1.  49 years:  St. Louis Blues (1968-present)
2 (tie).  46 years:  Buffalo Sabres (1971-present); Vancouver Canucks (1971-present)
4.  44 years:  Los Angeles Kings (1968-2012)
5.  42 years:  Washington Capitals (1975-present)
6.  37 years:  Arizona Coyotes/Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets (1980-present)*
7.  31 years:  Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars (1968-1999)
8.  26 years:  Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers (1980-2006)**
9.  25 years:  San Jose Sharks (1992-present)
10.  24 years:  Ottawa Senators (1993-present)

*The Jets won WHA titles in 1976, 1978, and 1979 prior to joining the NHL
**The Whalers won a WHA title in 1973 prior to joining the NHL

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hair Band Friday - 6/17/16

1.  "Ballcrusher" by W.A.S.P.

2.  "Dance Of The Dogs" by Lynch Mob

3.  "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" by AC/DC

4.  "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)" by Def Leppard

5.  "On Top" by Dangerous Toys

6.  "It's Alright" (live) by Guns N' Roses

7.  "Livin' On a Dream" by Britny Fox

8.  "Ashes to Ashes" by Vinnie Vincent Invasion

9.  "Purple Haze" by Winger

10.  "Bits and Pieces" by Nelson

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomething female to friend on train, in front of strangers, after friend got off phone with husband or boyfriend: "I don't like saying 'I love you' or talking about tampons in front of strangers."
--Chicago, Orange Line train
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Retro Video of the Week: "Pop Goes the Weasel" by 3rd Bass

Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the release of hip hop act 3rd Bass's second and final full-length album, Derelicts of Dialect, featuring the group's only Top 40 hit, "Pop Goes The Weasel," which topped out at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 (as well as #1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart).  The song is a diss track, aimed largely at Vanilla Ice, who was, at the time, an international star (but who sampled Queen & David Bowie's "Under Pressure" in "Ice Ice Baby" without permission, which is touched upon in "Pop Goes The Weasel").  On top of that, Henry Rollins plays Vanilla Ice in the video.  Fantastic.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Top Ten: Pro-Gun Myths Exposed

Another month, another mass shooting in America.  What else is new?  I try not to get political here on GMYH, but frankly, gun safety and access to guns should not be a political issue; it should be a social one that crosses all political ideologies.  With every mass shooting, I get fired up because lives are lost when there are easy solutions to curb gun violence.

This past weekend's horrific shooting in an Orlando night club left 49 dead and another 50+ wounded, making it the deadliest mass shooting in US history.  As with Virginia Tech, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, and every other one of these tragedies, there is a lot of anger on the left, as their should be.  And there's a lot of push back from the right, as there always is.

I tend to read this article entitled "10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down" (published a couple years ago) more often than I should have to read it, to respond to several right-wing friends who think that any reasonable gun-related regulation (like, say, universal background checks and closing any loop holes for gun sales) is somehow the government's attempt to "take my guns" or that more guns makes everyone safer.

Make no mistake about it, the NRA -- whose membership is gun manufacturers, gun store owners, and gun dealers -- has only one mission:  sell more guns.  They don't care if people die.  After all, that's what guns are for.  Over the past 30+ years, the NRA has made a concerted effort to twist the original meaning of the Second Amendment from what the framers intended -- to allow for militias to be armed -- into what most people wrongfully believe today -- that it was meant to allow any citizen to purchase as many guns as he or she wants without any possible regulation.  The NRA's influence over members of Congress (thanks to hefty campaign donations) is so great that Congress has refused for over 30 years to allow the CDC to study gun gun violence.  This is insane, but I think it shows how far the gun lobby is willing to go to protect their bottom line at the expense of innocent victims.

The bottom line -- and I say this after every mass shooting -- is that doing nothing obviously isn't working.  Our country does not have a "people problem" or a "mental illness problem" or whatever else the gun lobby tries to frame gun violence as.  We have a gun problem.  We have a staggering amount of guns, and far more gun violence (both raw numbers and per capita) than any other developed nation.  It's sad and embarrassing.

There are reasonable solutions that can be implemented to curb gun violence, gun-related accidents, and gun-related suicides that will not violate the Second Amendment's right to keep a handgun in your home for self-defense (which is basically all the Supreme Court has said about the Second Amendment in the last 75 years), including, but not limited to:
1.  Universal background checks for any gun purchase, whether from a store, gun show, or private party.  This is something that nearly everyone (right, left, gun-owning, non-gun-owning) supports, and yet our elected officials are too scared of the NRA to pass it.
2.  Require safety training and a license in order to own a gun.  We require that with cars, so maybe we should require that with things that are made solely for ending lives.
3.  Ban assault rifles.  Seems like a no-brainer, although there is obviously the hurdle of defining what exactly would be banned to try to prevent people and manufacturers from getting around it.
4.  Ban high-capacity magazines.  This seems like another no-brainer.  After all, you don't need a 75-round clip if you're going hunting.
5.  Ban armor-piercing bullets.  Another no-brainer, as there is no legitimate use for these types of bullets other than to kill humans -- which regular bullets can do just fine.
6.  Provide for criminal and civil penalties for gun stores and private gun sellers who fail to conduct a background check for a gun sale or who sell guns to someone despite the fact that the purchaser's background check had red flags.
7.  Require a mental health evaluation before purchasing a gun.  This seems to be one of the right's biggest concerns ("it's a mental health problem, not a gun problem"), so if that's the problem, let's solve it.  Everyone can pay to get a psychiatric evaluation, which they must pass before being allowed to purchase a gun.

Of course, the right's response is always "criminals will still find ways to get guns," and maybe some of them will, but when they do, they will be breaking the law.  And honestly, sensible gun regulations are meant to cut down gun-related deaths, accidents, and suicides as a whole -- which, from the studies I've read about, would likely happen.  Obviously, it's impossible to prevent all crime from happening, but that doesn't mean we should get rid of all criminal laws.

Okay, I'm done, until the next mass shooting.  If you want some additional ammo (pun intended) to rebut your right-wing friends' or family members' tired "gun rights" arguments, I also recommend the following articles:

1.  "A huge international study of gun control finds strong evidence that it actually works."  Not only does the article detail some of the ways other countries have severely curbed gun violence (often with rather simple, reasonable measures that could easily be implemented in the US without infringing on the Second Amendment), but it contains this nifty video that runs though how bad our country's gun problem is compared to the rest of the developed world.

2.  "The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment."  This is a Washington Post piece from a couple years ago by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.  It discusses the Supreme Court's recent gun rulings, and how they not only broke from Supreme Court precedent, but also failed to take into account the actual language of the Second Amendment, the framers' intent, or the prevailing customs of the time regarding serving in state militias.

3.  "The Second Amendment Was Never Meant to Protect an Individual's Right to a Gun."  This is another article taking a look at the history of the Second Amendment and how the majority Justices in the recent Supreme Court decisions kind of broke from their usual strict constitutional interpretation to make up a right to own a firearm within the meaning of the Second Amendment, even though the term "bear arms" was generally used in the 1700s to mean military participation.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Fortysomething male across the street from a Peruvian restaurant: "If I open a Peruvian restaurant, I'd call it Macchu Eatchu."
--Chicago, Lincoln, Irving Park, and Damen
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Fortysomething male standing next to a Subaru Forester, bragging to his friends in a golf club parking lot: "This is actually faster than my Porsche."
--Austin, TX
Eavesdropper: DBH

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Retro Video of the Week: "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith

This song dominated parties at the end of my sophomore year of college, but I chose it this week because of the timely and highly unlikely line "And then Ali, he told me I'm the greatest."

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Muhammad Ali Quotes

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Muhammad Ali died last Friday at the age of 74, after a 30-year battle with Parkinson's.  I don't think there is hyperbole strong enough to do justice to Ali's impact on the sports world, but I think he summed it up perfectly when he said, "I am the greatest."

Brash, confident, charismatic, and sometimes controversial, Muhammad Ali was, quite simply, the most-recognized sports figure in the world and probably the most important sports figure of the 20th Century.  Now, obviously, I'm a little too young to have remembered seeing Ali fight, and certainly too young to remember him in his prime, but I have seen plenty of clips of his fights (check out this one to see one of the most ridiculous punch dodging ever captured on video), several documentaries about him (I highly recommend When We Were Kings if you haven't seen it), and a ton of clips of him talking trash and waxing intellectual.

The man had a lot of profound and inspiring quotes about racism, the Vietnam War, socioeconomics, civil rights, and the like -- which you should definitely check out -- by for me, Muhammad Ali and Cassius Clay will always be the guy who could improvise the most eloquent and poetic smack talk known to man.  It's especially great when you think about it on a macro level -- he was purposely trying to agitate guys who were, in fact, getting into a ring with him and trying to beat him up.  Even then, he knew there was a pretty damn good chance he wasn't going to get beat.  With that, here are my eleven favorite Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay quotes, in no particular order:

1.  "It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am."

2.  Before his first fight with Sonny Liston:  "After the fight, I'm gonna build myself a pretty home and use him as a bearskin rug. Liston even smells like a bear. I'm gonna give him to the local zoo after I whup him."

3.  In the ring, right after beating Sonny Liston in 1964 to win the heavyweight title for the first time:  "I am the king of the world.  I'm pretty.  I'm a bad man."

4.  "If you even dream of beating me, you'd better wake up and apologize."

5.  To Joe Frazier before the Thrilla in Manila:  "I saw your wife.  You're not as dumb as you look."

6.  "I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark."

7.  "If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."

8.  Before the Rumble in the Jungle:  "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see. Now you see me, now you don't. George thinks he will, but I know he won't."

9.  Boxing commentator to Clay, before the first Liston fight:  "I saw Sonny Liston the other day, Cassius."
Clay:  "Ain't he ugly?"
Boxing commentator, laughing:  "He--"
Clay:  "He's too ugly to be the world champ.  The world champ should be pretty like me."

10.  "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."

11.  This one is probably my favorite, particularly the last sentence.  "I have wrestled with an alligator.  I done tussled with a whale.  I done handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail.  That's bad.  Only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick.  I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

And, if you want to see 9+ minutes of the man himself talking smack, here you go:

Friday, June 03, 2016

Hair Band Friday - 6/3/16

1.  "Beating Around The Bush" by AC/DC

2.  "If My Mind Is Evil" by White Lion

3.  "Cabo Wabo" by Van Halen

4.  "Naughty Naughty" by Vinnie Vincent Invasion

5.  "Paradise" by Tesla

6.  "One Up The 'B' Side" by Ozzy Osbourne

7.  "Take Me To The Top" by Mötley Crüe

8.  "Standing In The Shadow" by Whitesnake

9.  "Take A Walk" by Mr. Big

10.  "Somebody Save Me" by Cinderella

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Fortysomething male: "So I'm upstairs in my room doing whippits, right? And the phone rings, but it's two phones and then I got it -- I was really high."
--Los Angeles
Eavesdropper:  Tail Pipe