Before there was sports radio, ESPN, Twitter and “sigh” TMZ Sports, there was the stoop.
Growing up in Brooklyn in the late 1970’s, we would start our summer vacation by going down to Joe’s Candy Store on Glenwood Road, pick up the papers, and park ourselves on one of the several stoops on our block to discuss the sports news of the day.
Discussions of trade rumors, who had the better centerfielder, and which coach or manager was next to get fired was a normal rundown. Sure we’d spend the rest of the day playing hoops at Farragut Park or wiffle ball at Rob Smith’s house, but the mornings were for serious sports discussion. And you’d better know your stuff too, especially if you had an opinion. Root for the Yankees? Fine, but if you didn’t know Ed Figeruoa’s ERA, you’d better pipe down.
Maybe that’s way when I started covering sports, I had such high expectations for the so-called experts of the sports journalism world. If the guys I grew up with knew that Reggie Jackson played the 1976 season with the Baltimore Orioles before coming to the Yankees for the 1977 season, shouldn’t the guys in the press box know that, and his stats too (.277, 27 HRs, 91 RBI)?
Sadly, those expectations were dashed almost immediately. Not knowing historical facts was bad enough, but having highly biased opinion about players without really knowing how good or bad that player was? That’s the opposite of what we are supposed to be doing. And that trend keeps getting worse.
Compared to many of the talking (and writing) heads on your media platform of choice, I could walk into any bar in Rockaway and find a group of Rangers fans that could better break down the Blueshirts’ chances of coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals, or tell me what’s wrong with the Mets, or if the Yankees will be in a pennant race this summer.
So that’s what this is; a virtual stoop for us to talk sports. Send your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have some fun. This week’s question: Should the Mets fire Terry Collins, and if so, who should replace him as manager? I have my answer (yes) and my candidate (Wally Backman), and I know you’ll have yours, so let me know.