We have seen them come and we have seen them go. Sports teams in the Capital Region. The Albany Firebirds, Albany Patroons, Albany River Rats, Adirondack Red Wings and the Albany-Colonie Yankees are just a small sample of the teams that either left the area, went defunct or just morphed into something else.
While many of the local fans beg for a major sports team to set up shop in the Capital Region, those same fans realistically are skeptical it will ever happen.
The consensus opinion is that people in the area don’t come out to see the games. It may be a fair assessment but I do not believe it is 100% the fans’ fault. There are so many contributing factors to why sports teams struggle and why its the same vicious cycle in the 518.
Show up, Play a few years, Leave.
In my opinion we can point to some other contributing factors aside from just “the fans”.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that in order for anything in this area (or any area) to work is proper coverage. In the Capital Region we have several newspapers including the Times Union, Daily Gazette, Troy Record and Spotlight Newspaper among others.
We also have news stations like Channel 6, 10, 13, Fox News and YNN.
In addition we have local radio shows like Big Board Sports with Rodger Wyland, The Noe Show and Soundoff with Sinkoff.
While many may assume that these outlets would passionately cover their own local sports teams there is a huge void that seems to lingers. A lack of coverage, knowledge and a lack of caring.
It’s not only coverage though, it’s support. While Journalists are best to be subjective, opinionated and uphold a certain “Journalistic Integrity” there needs to be support for these local teams that doesn’t solely rest on the locals’ shoulders.
Many teams pay these very papers and radio stations for advertisements. All they seem to get in return is a print ad in the paper and the occasional article or a few commercial spots on the radio.
Let’s take the Times Union for example, “the king” of the newspapers around here. A newspaper who has a personal stake in the Albany Devils and should fully understand the need for sports to survive in the Capital Region. A company that should know the struggles first hand of a sports team trying to find long term success and staying power.
The Albany Legends have been having a great season. They have improved their attendance and really have built a connection with the local community. But all the Times Union seems to do in “support” of the Legends is have their Sports Columnists post articles that aren’t too flattering. Take Times Union’s Mark McGuire for example. Just read his lone articles from this season on the Albany Legends:
Never mind that McGuire themed his first article as a sort of “farewell” to the Legends. In fact, it read more like an obituary than sound Sports coverage on a still very-alive team. It’s more perplexing that McGuire felt the need to drive this point home again in his second article.
Instead of attending the games personally opposed to just reading box scores, instead of writing in each article you post about the Legends that local sports teams struggle and instead of driving these negative points down locals throats I have a few suggestions.
Why not focus on all the great things the Albany Legends do in the Capital Region? Or how the Adirondack Phantoms have an incredible relationship with the Glens Falls community? Why not cover the die hard girls of the local Roller Derby teams (some of which take the time to blog on your site) who have worked their butts off to bring Roller Derby to the area and actually make it work?
And actually, why not take the time to attend a few games before coming to the conclusion that the local sports culture is a “lost cause”?
Instead, what we get rushed and rather unflattering pieces from Journalists who don’t seem to have the time to truly care. Paragraph long synopsis’ of games played and no in-depth look at the team or any locals playing on the team. Just sporadic articles that sound more like a Politician pushing his/her opinions than actual Sports Journalism.
Do not get me wrong, I know that not all articles is “sunshine & rainbows” as Deanna and I say, but when the ONLY time you have mentioned the Albany Legends has been in two negatively doused articles it begs the question… Why do we subject ourselves to this?
There is no rallying cry to the Capital Region for these teams. No leading by example.
With so many readers you can have a positive impact on these teams. You can create a connection via your articles. You can show why these teams are important to our area.
But instead of doing that, we get the same tired sentiment that “sports teams won’t work” and “it won’t work because fans don’t come out“. But when does the responsibility (or part of it) fall on the Media’s shoulders? Why point the finger at the fans?
Maybe this sentiment is much more accurate and honest coming from the Media; “If a sports team wants to work in this area they better pay us a boatload of money for us to care.”
And “caring” doesn’t involve covering every game. It doesn’t even mean covering half the games. It means picking and choosing when to show up for a quarter or two, take a few pictures, video and then leave. type up a paragraph or two summary and call it a night.
But it doesn’t stop just with the newspapers, it hits the airwaves too. Although I do give kudos to Rodger Wyland for his focus on local sports, I cannot say the same to Soundoff with Sinkoff.
While I cannot necessarily knock some of the high school coverage they do provide (they do well in that area) they fail to do anything outside of that worth mentioning.
We hear local sports teams commercials on your station, on your show. We know that you will do at least one show from one of their games. Maybe you will even plug an upcoming game. But you’re a radio outlet, not a bulletin board.
Instead of telling me a schedule, tell me about the team. Actually show you give a damn about local sports teams. Tell us results, tell us about players on the roster, about incoming teams, etc.
Instead of providing the time to do that “Sound Off” would rather let their co-host take that time to do his “hacky” stand-up routine on the air. Not to mention they gave this guy air time to take verbal jabs at another local comedian (very unprofessional) while calling a local stand up venue that houses hard working locals comedians his “warm up”. Kudos to you Sound Off.
God forbid you disagree with their view on the show. Although they sell you on sports talk and debate they fail to mention that you’ll get hung up on and insulted if you dare challenge any of their points of view.
So instead of getting your in-depth coverage about the Legends, Valley-Cats, Phantoms, Hellions of Troy or Albany All-Stars we get….stand up routines.
They can defend this with their coverage of the Siena Saints and the Albany Devils. But let’s be “real” here, they pay you a ton of money and own the major arena in town (Times Union Center).
Many of you may agree with my statements in this article, many of you may not. But sometimes you have to go against the grain and just say you are fed up with the way things are going.
Deanna Ferris and I started SportsRantz.com and our media coverage because we are sick of this tired old act in the Capital Region. Let’s give these teams a chance and actually help them build a connection with the community. Let’s provide them the outlet to do so. Let’s have the passionate sports fans of any and every team (pro and minor) debate freely without hanging up.
These local teams can work!
I understand Media is a business. I have been in it for a few years myself and know that. But there come few opportunities to make a difference in an area that can have a profound impact on not only the culture but the economy.
Set aside your greed for money and team up to build a legacy with these teams. It’s not only is good for business, it’s good for the community and it’s great for the residents.
I know national sports is what sells. But local sports can have a place as well.
There needs to be change. A team in Schenectady, a team in Saratoga. Some of the issues with local team success is the over-saturation of teams in Albany. With the revival of Schenectady it’s time to branch some teams out. Downtown Schenectady has come a long way in the past 5 years and can be a great location for a sports team.
Saratoga is another great location. A winter sports team to offset the track season could keep business booming all year long. A city with a slot machine casino, vibrant nightlife and a world famous racetrack is a perfect setting for a sports franchise.
Most of all there needs to be a new format for sports coverage. And there is. Although we are a two person team, SportsRantz.com can provide the alternative. An interactive outlet for local and national sports that will be critical of our teams, not a detractor. A sports discussion format that won’t cut you off for a differing opinion but instead may shout you out on our podcast. A sports media company that defines success not only in monetary profit but in actually building and improving the Sports Fan/Team Connection in this area.
Compare and Contrast for yourself:
And our radio show-
So tell me readers….is it time for a change? I think so and SportsRantz.com can help make it happen.
25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event
The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.
Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.
The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.
Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.
I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”
In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”
And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,
Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”
Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”
Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”
Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”
Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”
Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.
“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”
About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.
The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23
Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.
Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
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