Ahh a debate for the ages. Whenever traveling, people most readily identify you with the teams in which your city possesses. Fans constantly argue about which team is better and which player is better, but when it comes down to it the fans are really the only thing that make a home team feel at home. Without the fans these players would not get the contracts they receive, nor would they get the notoriety they seek. Without these legendary players though, the fans have nothing to cheer about (right, Cavalier fans?) and are left with little hope. It is quite the symbiotic relationship between the team and the city, the players and the fans, the past from the present, but they all make up for the barbershop arguments we’ve all heard and participated in. The fans are the life of these teams and what make these games great. Sure, there is a desire to win from the players themselves, but the glory comes from the recognition of these fans, and that is where Coley Michalik and Bryan Doherty come in to decide who has the best professional sports cities in America.
Coley’s Criteria: Winning is nice, but anyone can be a fan of a good team (*ahem Yankees*) especially when the times are good. My main criteria is can you fill your stadiums on a nightly basis during the best and worst of times. Also, what makes your city different from every other city with major sports teams? Is your team one that just happens to be another stop on the schedule or is it one that is an anticipated matchup, one that has other teams playing their best and one that is going to be one of the top topics on Sportscenter. What is your city’s sports history look like? What are your intangibles and what are the makeups of your style of play? What makes you a great sports city and not just a city with sports teams?
Doherty’s Criteria: First and foremost is winning. You have to have a history of winning. More teams that have won the better. Some can be impressed by one team dominating such as Green Bay. I can call the Packers a great team, I cant call them a great city. Secondly, fans. I need to look at your fanbase and think you have quality fans that support the teams. Be considered some of the best fans in a particular sport. Third kind of goes hand in hand with the first and thats History. When people look at your teams, is there a flashiness to them? Something that jumps out. Im talking about players, coaches, etc. You may not agree with everything I say. But I think you’ll respect it all. With that, my top 10 professional sports cities in America…
10.) Dallas, Texas (CM:10, BD:9)
BD: When anyone thinks of Dallas, first thing that comes to mind is the Cowboys. Perhaps the most followed team in football, “America’s Team” signified an era of sports history that few teams in professional teams can match. The proud owners of 5 Super Bowls, good for a tie for 2nd, their history is littered with success and HOF’ers. Whether you go back to the 70′s rivalry with the Steelers when they had Roger Staubach or moving forward to their early 90′s dynasty with Aikman, Smith, and Irvin among others, the Cowboys have a history of success and flamboyant personality to accompany that. There’s few teams in sports who are hated more and to me that’s always the sign of a great franchise. Their fanbase gets a wrap for being “bandwagoners” but I’ve never gotten that impression. I just think of them as a very chirpy fanbase and when they are successful they just are louder. Off the Cowboys, you have the Stars, Mavs, and Rangers. None with a dominant history though the Stars can claim a cup (even if Hull’s skate was in the crease). The Rangers and Mavs have had their opportunities in recent years both both couldn’t close the door in the Finals or World Series. Modano, Dirk, Hamilton, Nolan Ryan, the Dallas teams have had some names come through, but overall its just hard for this one great team town to hold up vs the teams above them. “Everything’s Bigger in Texas”? Well maybe not sports…
CM: Aikman, Staubach, Irvin, Romo, Owens, Smith, no matter when the era the names are always household because the Cowboys will always be “America’s Team.” Even though the Steelers have long broken their three-way tie between Dallas and San Francisco, Dallas still is more popular on a national level, even after a massive collapse last season. The Mavericks haven’t always been a top tier NBA team, but 10 straight seasons of 50 wins cannot be ignored. Sure, they only have one finals appearance during that stretch, but the West hasn’t been the easiest to claim with the Lakers and Spurs trading titles during that span. Cuban will always keep the Mavs relevant even when Dirk retires because that’s the way he operates. Between Jerry Jones and Cuban, there are plenty of Texas-sized ego’s to go around in the front offices so these teams will remain relevant, and their fans will continuously show up no matter how well their teams are playing. The boys out in Arlington, however, is where the Dallas region slips for me. The Rangers won their first playoff series this past season, ever. That’s just unacceptable. Nolan Ryan and Josh Hamilton are a great combination, sadly they don’t get to step on the field at the same time. Their offense is great, now, but for years the Rangers have been just another team in Texas with a nice ballpark. The Rangers need to be a lot more consistent for a lot longer period of time for Dallas to move up this list, but certainly a quality sports city with plenty of shit talkers with southern drawls.
9) St. Louis, Missouri (CM:8, BD:10)
BD: An underrated sports city to most. They often won’t make lists mainly because I think people forget about them. Lets be honest, blunt homerism and arrogance draws attention to teams and cities. Yet St. Louis quietly goes about their business, winning some titles and possessing some of the classiest fanbases you will find. There are few more respected fanbases in sports than Cardinals fans so that’s where we’ll start. A terrific baseball history with 10 WS titles, 2nd most all-time and a history of great players from Albert Pujols right now to guys like Stan Musial, Ozzie Smith, and for my money the best big game pitcher of all-time, Bob Gibson. The Cardinals probably are among the top franchises in sports history. The Blues have yet to claim a title which knocks St. Louis back a step despite a stretch at one point of 25 straight playoff appearences. They’ve had like likes of Gretzky and Hull were the jersey and though aren’t among the sports elite franchises are far from an embarassment. Then you have the Rams who cashed in on a Super Bowl in 1999 with “The Greatest Show on Turf” led by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and a dynamic WR core. St. Louis is the type of sports city that might not make the headlines, doesn’t always have the high-profile players, but will have supportive fans and most years will compete, with some exceptions like every city. St. Louis is worthy in my book of slipping onto this list, even if it is heavily reliant on the Cardinals history.
CM: From Stan Musial to Albert Pujols, Kurt Warner the bag boy to Kurt Warner leading the “Greatest Show on Turf” to the incredible bar-b-que St. Louis has it all (except a current NBA franchise). If it weren’t for the lack of basketball, St. Louis would be my ideal town. Solid rivalry against the Cubs, some of the best baseball players the game has ever seen along with 10 World Series titles, decent football history with one of the most prolific offenses of all time lead by Warner, Faulk, and Ricky Proehl, and the Blues are in fact a professional hockey team. St. Louis also makes up half of the most unknown rivalry in all of sports. St. Louis has faced off against Boston in every major sports championship, the only two cities who belong to this elite club. (St. Louis Hawks lost to the Celtics in ’57, the Blues lost to the Bruins in ’70, the Rams lost to the Patriots in ’02, and the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox in ’04). The atmosphere, fans, food, games, there’s nothing you can’t like about this city – it’s just a great sports atmosphere, but losing a basketball franchise, to Atlanta of all places, is just painful and definitely knocks you down a couple pegs on this list.
8) The Bay Area, California (CM:9, BD:8)
BD: Alright listen, I’m not a geography expert as any of my HS teachers will attest to so for this I’m counting San Fran and San Jose primarily. I see Oakland is counted here but I’m leaving the Raiders for later. This is where we make the jump from one great team to two. With the fans to support these teams, I can’t ignore their edge over the one-sport wonders of Dallas and St. Louis. First off you have the 49ers, tied for 2nd with Dallas in SB’s with 5. Many, myself included, call the QB of their 80′s dynasty that netted 4 SB’s, Joe Montana, the best QB to ever play. They were great for years having a stretch of 15 playoff appearances in 16 years from the late 80′s-early 90′s which for the NFL is remarkable. Add in the just about consensus greatest WR ever in Jerry Rice and how many teams in sports can claim the GOAT at two different postions, that played together. The Sharks are choke-artists. Nothing else to really add with them. God help them when the calendar turns to mid-April because you can count on their season ending shortly thereafter. The Warriors have some history of success with two titles but for years have been irrelevant in NBA talks. A good home crowd that has shown it will support its team, and who can forget the unreal upset of the Mavs in a 1/8 matchup a few years ago. Still, the biggest thing as I mentioned earlier is a 2nd premier team, in the form of the San Francisco Giants. They had a long run of no titles but have for decades had some of the best fans in baseball and have a history of great players. Mays, Bonds, McCovey, Marichal, and one of the most famous moments in sports history with the “Shot Heard Round the World”, Bobby Thompson’s walk-off HR to win the Pennant over the Dodgers. With 6 WS titles to date, they stand among some of the top franchises in MLB history. A great sports city.
CM: Jerry Rice and Joe Montana are the greatest QB to WR hook up in the history of football. After Montana left to play his dwindling years of football in Kansas City, Steve Young decided to perfect the West Coast offense and keep San Fran continuing in their winning ways. Terrell Owens made his mark here, which can be taken with a grain of salt, but he’s currently third all time for touchdown receptions so he cannot be ignored, sadly. The Athletics have had some characters come through Oakland, such as Mark McGwire, Dennis Eckersley, Jose Canseco, etc. and have hoisted four World Series banners. The Giants play on the other side of the Bay and just earned their first Title since moving to the Bay area in 1957 (as an organization it was their sixth overall). Between Big Time Timmy Jim, Kung Fu Panda, and Brian “Best Friends With Charlie Sheen” Wilson, the Giants certainly have green pastures in front of them, as well as some hardware to back them up.
BD: The King of California, but not much else, LA comes in 7th on the list. The Lakers are the face of LA with their history of championships and great players such as Kareem, Magic Johnson, Shaq, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor. 2nd most all-time with 16, 11 came in LA with the other 5 coming back in Minneapolis, something I cant give credit to LA for. The Lakers have been to the Finals more than any other team, part of the reason its amazing they’re barely above .500% when they get there. Outside the Lakers, you would have to go to the Dodgers next. With 6 World Series titles (one in Brooklyn), the Dodgers also have been a prestigious out of the LA area. The majority of their N.L Pennants (12 of 21) came in Brooklyn, but with Koufax, Robinson, Valenzuela, Piazza, Snider, etc. they aren’t slouches in the star-factor either. They haven’t had much of a football impact with the Raiders being there for a little while winning 1 SB, while the majority of their fortunes came in Oakland, which is more bay area, but LA can claim some of it. The Kings in hockey have no real history, and recent moves like the Angels to associate themselves with LA and the Clippers poor history have to drag the city down. Also, one of my biggest knocks is simply their poor fanbases. When the Lakers are good, they’re filling up the place. When they aren’t, well Lakers fans aren’t exactly loyal. Not to mention, LA fans are more there “to be seen” it seems half the time. My experience at a Dodgers game was comical to see the place emptying out in the 6th inning of a 1-run game. It’s perhaps a stronger college town than pro town. They just don’t have the loyalty to stand up to many other cities. Just a very unintelligent sports city as a whole. That is what keeps the Lakers/Dodgers combo from bringing them further up.
CM: As a Bostonian, I hate the Lakers just as much as I hate the Yankees, possibly even more than I hate the Bombers simply because the Yankees cannot beat the Red Sox in the Finals like the Lakers did last season. But the Lakers have a plethora of NBA greats which cannot be ignored, and the Celtics-Lakers rivalry is one of the best in all of sports. Magic, Kareem, West, Kobe, Shaq, and the list just keeps going. 16 World Championships places them second all time behind the Celtics, but with that being said, their finals record is less than stellar and they should probably have at least 20 by now. The Clippers, they’re just hilarious for the most part with the exception of their future, but something tells me they’ll find a way to screw that up, they are the Clippers after all. The Angels aren’t really a Los Angeles team so I’m not even going to acknowledge them, but the Dodgers have one of the most iconic home runs ever hit by Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series. Outside of Uncle Jack, the LA celebrity fans seem to show zero passion when it comes to their hometown teams, but the rest of the city actually has some quality fans so it’s hard to bash them as a whole, especially when teams like the Miami Heat can’t even sell out every home game when the Lakers can.
6) Detroit, Michigan (CM:6, BD:6)
BD: Maybe you dont want to invest in business here, but for a sports city, Detroit doesn’t leave much behind. An underrated sports city in my mind with 3 teams who are among the elite in their respective sports. The Red Wings, an original 6 franchise are the owners of 11 Stanley Cups, 3rd most ever and have been a cup threat for the last 15 or so years. They dominated throughout the middle of the 20th century and their list of players is 2nd to only Montreal. Howe, Yzerman, Shanahan, Lidstrom, an endless # of should be HOF’ers. With them you have the Pistons in the NBA. The “Bad Boys” were the first ones to truly put the Pistons on the map, and yet despite a franchise that has had its fair share of losing seasons, their 3 rings are still good for a tie for 5th in NBA history. “The Palace” has had its moments, but overall I wouldn’t give their fanbase too much credit. The Tigers are one of the premier baseball franchises of all-time in history, though they have only claimed 4 titles. Still Ty Cobb is in the discussion for best hitter ever, there was Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, Hal Newhouser, and perhaps the most famous voice in baseball history, Ernie Harwell. They’ve long been the punchline for jokes and their fanbase has been ridiculed at times. Lastly is the Lions and well, they need no introduction. Perhaps the worst franchise in professional sports, the Lions have nothing to hang their hat on other than Barry Sanders highlight films. Detroit’s fans are better fans than LA’s to me. They are more knowledgeable about their teams and don’t strike me as just “wanting to be seen.” But I could listen to an argument for LA over Detroit.
CM: I love working class fan bases. They just hit home for me and are what I always picture as true fans. Let’s face it, the rich see it more as a social event whereas sports teams are like another child to working class families. Not saying there aren’t rich die hards out there, but when my favorite teams lose it’s a shot to the heart, and that has to be how diehard Detroit fans feel. With that being said, I hate the Pistons teams of the ’80′s because they weren’t just physical, they were dirty, kind of like the old Raiders teams. Hurting players because that was their only way to compete. Now, the Celtics and Lakers of the same era played hard and physical, but not dirty and that was exactly what the Pistons did in order to make up for their inadequacies. Laimbeer, Rodman, Vinny “The Microwave” Johnson, Zeke, a quality team with a chip on their shoulder. But there was something about Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Chauncy Billups, and Tayshaun Prince that made the early-2000 Pistons very likable and enjoyable to watch. The Tigers are equally as interesting with players like Cobb and Kaline to today’s greats like Verlander and Cabrera. One year, they’re one of the best teams in the league, the next, they’re battling with the Royals for worst team in the league. And then there’s the Lions. Luckily they have Ndamakong Suh, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and a plethora of young talent stock piled for the future, but their history is nothing more than Barry Sanders and terrible Thanksgiving halftime shows. As for the Red Wings, well they’re petty damn good from the little hockey I’ve seen, if you want further analysis, read what Doherty said.
5) Philadelphia, PA (CM:5, BD:4)
BD: How can you not love Philly fans? Just so relentless and unforgiving to their teams. As an athlete, I cant see how you couldn’t love playing for this city. In fact this city is 4th because its hard to pick one franchise over another. So we’ll start with the only one who hasn’t won one, the Philadelphia Eagles. Perhaps the greatest football franchise to not win a Super Bowl, the Eagles have been on the edge of breaking through for the last 10 years and yet couldn’t get over the hump. Reggie White, Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins, Ron Jaworski, the franchise has had some big-name talent come through, yet the Lombardi trophy has escaped them. You move to the 76ers and you have to go back to the early days of Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, and co. who were able to claim only one title, due to their inability to overcome the Celtics dynasty. In the 80′s it was much of the same, with only one title coming out of it, the Lakers and Celtics claiming most. Still Chamberlain, Erving, Malone, Iverson, the 76ers have seen their share of talent come through. The Phillies have taken two WS titles, though I’d be remiss to ignore that many of the A’s WS titles came in Philly in the early parts of the 1900′s. So baseball has a long history of success in the city of Brotherly Love. Then you get to the Flyers who somehow only have two cups to their name despite seemingly be a contender every year. Just an all-around great sports town with exceptional fans, competitive teams, and a strong history. A necessary combination for me to rank any city this high.
CM: Unlike my counterpart, I have a strange relationship with Philly fans. Sure, they’ll show out for a big game, but they hold onto grudges like no one’s business. I like them more than I do New York fans since there isn’t much bad blood between Boston and Philly fans so it doesn’t usually turn into a pissing contest, but they’ve had some of the greats in their city and have shown little appreciation. Donovan McNabb was money in the bank for the Eagles and was hated from the literal second he was drafted out of Syracuse. He was pretty much a guarantee to reach the NFC Championship game season-in and season-out, but that wasn’t enough for Philly fans. Michael Vick has been loved thus far, but that early exit in last year’s playoffs will be the only thing he hears about for a while. Allen Iverson may be remember as one of the best scoring point guards in the history of the NBA and is the shortest league MVP in history. He single handedly lead the Sixers to the Finals where he was even able to win a game against a much superior Lakers team. Sure, his jersey sold off the racks, but he was even a more polarizing character than McNabb in the eyes of Philly fans. The Phillies are technically the losingest team in all of sports by becoming the first franchise to reach 10,000 losses. They have had greats like Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Pete Rose and have household names today such as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee. The city is rich with history from Wilt Chamberlain, to Dr. J, to Schmidt, to Ron Jaworski so it’s impossible to keep them out of the top five, but c’mon, they boo’ed Santa Claus. Santa Claus! That knocks you down tremendously in my book.
4) Pittsburgh, PA (CM:3, BD:5)
BD: Ahh, the Steel City. A personal rival of mine. Few teams in sports annoy me like the Steelers, but I’d be remiss if I let that get in the way of acknowledging the great sports city that they have. In the Super Bowl era, the Steelers are the standard by which all franchises are judged with their record 6 Super Bowls. Their dynasty in the 1970′s featuring Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and a dominant defense is still among the greatest teams in football history. Add in two more recently in the 2000′s (though they conveniently avoided the Pats each time) and you have a model football franchise. Also, as much as I cant stand their fans at times, they are some of the best in football, and are all over the country. Add in the impact they have at home games and you have to respect what they bring. The Penguins despite only existing for about 40 years at this point have raised Lord Stanley’s Cup on 3 occasions, most recently two years ago with Sidney Crosby to follow up the back to back won by Mario Lemieux. Lastly, despite being a forgotten team at this point, the Pirates have had a history of success with 5 World Series titles. There have been droughts throughout their existence that knock them back a bit, and the team hasn’t been heavily supported in a while which kind of knocks them down a peg in my book. Fortunately their sports teams are better than their city life, been to Pittsburgh twice, and wouldn’t be too upset if I never went back.
CM: Much like Detroit, I love the “Black and Yellow” faithful. Sydney Crosby, Hines Ward, Troy Polumalu, Andrew McCutchen, the city is simply packed with young talent and seasoned veterans every which way you look. The Steelers own more Lombardi Trophies than any other organization in football and have done it all with two quarterbacks: Roethlisberger and Bradshaw. The Pirates have had hall of famers such as Honus Wagner, Robeto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, and have had quality modern MLB players like Jason Bay and McCutchen. The Pirates played in the very first World Series, and lost 5-3 to Boston (neither organization trusted each other enough to give a home field advantage so they decided to play eight games). The Penguins have been one of the most popular teams in the NHL since Crosby put on a jersey and have claimed one of their three Stanley Cups since his inception into the league. Also, Pittsburgh is also the only city in which all of their professional teams wear the same colors, which should count for something more than just a Billboard #1 hit single.
3) Chicago, Illinois (CM:4, BD:3)
BD: The Windy City. Arguably the best fanbase in America. Bears fans, Cubs fans, even Bulls fans to a lesser extent are considered some of the best in their sports. Its just a shame that their teams don’t follow suit. The Bulls are 3rd all-time in the NBA with 6 championships, all coming during the era of one, Michael Jordan. A dominant team for the 90′s, the Bulls are among the greatest dynasties in professional sports history. The Blackhawks just won the cup last year, and as an original 6 franchise will get a bump from this hockey fanatic. With that said, their franchise isn’t as rich in history as many of the other Original 6 teams and that will hurt them in my eyes. When you move to baseball its Cubs or White Sox. Two old-school franchises in each league, with a history to tell. One best known for their alleged cheating scandal in the 1919 World Series, the other for a 100+ year curse. Still its hard not to appreciate these franchises place in the sport of baseball and Cubs fans may be 2nd to none in the loyalty department. There’s few stadiums out there that I wish to visit more than Wrigley. Finally we come to their last team, the one I think represents the city above all others, Da Bears. Ditka, Halas, Payton, Singletary, McMahon, Butkus, Sayers. Just an unbelievable list of history to accompany their team. A dominant team in the early half of the past century, but only one SB since the new era came into play. Though if your only going to win one, you mine as well do it with the greatest football team of all-time. The 85′ Bears stand among the elite single-season teams in pro sports history. So stand with pride Chicago, a great sports city that I call a Top 5 sports city in America.
CM: Michael Jordan is, was, and will be one of my favorite and one of the greatest basketball players to ever lace them up. The Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire home run race was one of the more exciting story lines (at the time) that I have ever witnessed during any MLB regular season. The city is the midwest sports hub in my opinion. Great baseball fans on the North and South side. Die hard football fans. Above average basketball fans. Overall, excellent sports city from the iconic vine wall in Wrigley Field, to the classic SNL Chris Farley skits about “Da Bears.” The Bulls could have won eight straight titles if Jordan hadn’t retired, but six is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Jordan, Rodman, and Pippen put James, Wade, and Bosh to shame and I would pay anything to see that three on three with all six in their primes. Devin Hester is the most electrifying return man in the history of the league and will sadly lose some opportunities with the NFL moving kickoff from the 30 to the 35 yard line. Derrick Rose is one of the best scorers in the league today and one of the games top point guards. The White Sox are the cities most recent champ, but the Bulls and Bears are threats to make their respected title games at any point and time in the near future. Great food, great fans, great nickname, great rivalries, great sports city, and deserving of number three.
2) New York, New York (CM:2, BD: 2)
BD: Our rivals, and little brothers in the sports world. The Big Apple can lay claim to the greatest professional sports franchise of all-time, with little competition, but isn’t as dominant elsewhere. First and foremost they have two teams in just about every sport and half the time their fans can’t recall which one they root for, generally the one doing better. The Knicks are the proud owners of 2 NBA titles and have a strong history littered with HOF talent in one of the most famous sports arenas in the world. In football, despite having two teams, the Jets have only one title and just recently became relevant after about 40 years. In fact they’ve only been able to play in one SB in franchise history. The Giants can lay claim to 3. Tied for 5th all-time. 4 SB appearances for them. In hockey, its similar to football. Despite two franchises, can’t claim a team in the Top 5 titles all-time and have combined for one Stanley Cup appearance in the last 25 years, won by the Rangers. The Islanders run of the 70′s is one of the NHL’s best teams of all-time. But as always, you have to save the best for last, baseball. The Mets have a small history but NY has been and will always be defined by the pinstripes. Ruth, Gherig, Mantle, Berra, Jeter, Munson, Ford, Larson’s Perfect Game, Clemens, A-Rod, Dimaggio, etc. You could make an all-time team just off Yankees. Add in 27 World Championships and you have yourself one hell of a sports city. Their fans are Lakers-like in their approach in that in many cases (Yankees being the exception), they aren’t exactly the most loyal bunch when the teams aren’t winning. Hockey has been extinct to them for years. And Jets fans are popping up out of the woodworks now. Still, hard to ignore their city’s history.
CM: Derek Jeter is the greatest short stop of all time, in my opinion. Babe Ruth will always be one of the greatest hitters to have ever stepped on the diamond, and not a shabby pitcher either. George Steinbrenner was one of the greatest owners in the history of the game, even with his transgressions. The Mets have a solid history as well, but hide in the shadows of the Bronx Bombers 27 Titles. The Knicks have had a mediocre history, but Madison Square Garden is what keeps them relevant even when the Knicks are terrible. The Jets and Giants surprisingly play closer to the Nets than any New York team, but New Yorkers will be quick to claim them as their own, especially with their recent winning history over the Patriots (last years playoffs and the ’08 Super Bowl). But what it all comes down to in New Amsterdam is the iconic white NY which sits on the navy hats that are worn nationwide to represent the pin stripers. Yankee fans aren’t the most modest bunch, but really who could blame them? I’m quick to tell everyone that my Celtics have 17 titles, and I know if the Red Sox had 27 rings I would certainly be quick to tell people about it, too. But, one of the most disgraceful scenes I have ever seen was during the 2004 playoffs, after A-Rod slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove and the umpires reconvened and eventually made the correct call, when the National Guard had to be called out on field in order to protect the players because of the amount of bottles, debris, and other objects Yankee fans littered their beloved stadium with. It was the single most revolting display of classless behavior I’ve ever seen. I know they call Yankee stadium the Bronx Zoo, but I’ve never seen such a large amount of monkeys chucking shit at one place and time. Sore losers = minus points, and that definitely didn’t help New Yorks case when it came to this list. (Somewhere, Joe Namith is drunk dialing Suzy Kolber).
1) Boston, MA (CM:1, BD:1)
BD: The standard by which all sports cities must be judged. No other city can claim a team in the Top 5 of titles for each of the major sports. The New England Patriots are the proud owners of 3 SB rings, good for a tie for 5th, while appearing in more SB’s than any other team with 3. The only team to ever go 16-0 in a regular season, ultimately it meant little, but still can’t be ignored. A top 3 QB to ever play the game and a Top 3-5 coach all-time, the Pats in the last 10 years alone can lay claim to more than about 60% of NFL Franchises in the Super Bowl era. The Bruins are actually the bottom of the Boston Sports totem pole despite 5 Cups, tying them for 4th all-time. Though stuck in a drought at almost 40 years since winning the cup, they have been to the Final 5 times since then and have a history of talent with Orr, Bourque, O’Reilly, Sanderson, among others. The Red Sox recently ended their curse of 86 years with 2 World Series and own the 4th-most all-time with 7. Fact of the matter is for most of baseball history, unless you were the best team in your league, you weren’t going to the WS and the Yankees were that team more times than not. Of teams not named the Yankees, 6 of the other top 9 teams in WS appearences are NL teams. Ted Williams is considered by some the best hitter of all-time, yet guys like Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Yaz, Carlton Fisk, Clemens, etc. have donned the Red and White. Finally, the class of Boston sports, the Boston Celtics. The greatest franchise in NBA history also belongs to the city of champions and has a legacy matched by few sports teams in professional sports history. The greatest dynasty in American Professional sports history with 8 straight titles, and 11 in 13 years, Bill Russell’s Celtics set the standard for what a dynasty should be judged by and one shouldn’t expect anything less from the greatest American professional athlete of all-time. Later years saw titles from the Larry Bird Celtics of the 80′s and most recently #17 won by the Big 3. Add in fanbases like the Red Sox and its hard to match what Boston can offer. In reality, nobody really can…
CM: Really, what is there to say? If you replace the Red Sox with the Cubs in ’04, it doesn’t get as much national exposure. Let’s face it, people love the Red Sox more than they love the Yankees. The Yankees have more fans, but it’s easy to love a winner. It’s hard to accept a perennial loser, but that’s exactly what the nation did. Fenway Park is one of the countries most iconic sports venues and if you’ve never seen a live game at Fenway, then you’ve never experienced a real baseball game. The same can be said about the Boston Garden. Not as old nor is it the original, but to look up and see all of those banners and retired numbers (and a couple of Bruins things) is a thing of beauty. The Celtics have the most storied franchise in the NBA. From Bill Russell to Paul Pierce, from the original Big 3 to today’s Big 4, the Celtics have been relevant every decade, outside of the ’90′s, but that has more to do with Len Bias not being able to control his cocaine abuse than anything else. The Patriots quickly went from zero Super Bowls to three because of two people: Belichick and Brady. Between Red Auerbach and Belichick, Boston has witnessed two of the greatest minds the sport has ever seen. Between Russell, Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams, Larry Bird, Kevin Garnett, Brady, Randy Moss, Manny Ramirez, Kevin McHale, Ray Bourque, Bobby Orr, Terry O’Reilly, CY Young, John Hannah, Adam Vinatieri, Hondo, Rondo, Ray Allen, Pierce, Curt Schilling, Nomar Garciaparra, Wes Welker, I could go on and on and I know I’ve left off some of the greats but I’m sure you’re tired of reading these names. The Green Monster, The Parque, The Razorblade, the fans, the players, the history, the legacy. It’s not the largest market, nor does it possess the biggest venues, but the fans and the history are enough to make any player want to be a part of the majesty which is Boston, Massachusetts.