Posted on: August 26, 2009 6:50 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2009 6:52 pm

Dear Hockey Fans in "Traditional" Markets

Dear Hockey Fans in traditional makets,

I am writing to request that you discontinue your aspersions against the Coyotes and the hockey fans of Arizona.  There have been many unpropitious decisions and circumstances that have led the team to their current situation. I feel that when you state that Phoenix is not a viable hockey market it is inaccurate. 

The team was fourth in operating expenses despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the league.  The average NHL coach makes about $1 million a year while Wayne Gretzky makes seven times that amount, all for having a sub .500 coaching record and no playoff appearances. It is a poorly run franchise, both on and off the ice.  The financial situation they are in cannot be summed up simply by saying Phoenix does not support hockey. 

Please see the below examples of teams that are in traditional hockey markets and have also had financial problems.  These teams have all been in their markets much longer than the 12 years the Coyotes have been in Phoenix, and have all had much more success than the Coyotes’ handful of playoff appearances and no advances past the first round.

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the league in 1967 and had won two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992 prior to filing bankruptcy in 1998.  They also had previously filed bankruptcy in 1975.

The Ottawa Senators entered the league in 1992 and filed for bankruptcy in 2003 despite having success on the ice.

The Buffalo Sabres entered the league in 1970 and also filed for bankruptcy in 2003.  The Sabres had made the playoffs every year from 1995 to 2000.  Their average home attendance in 2003 was 13,776.

The New York Islanders came into the league in 1972 and have had one of hockey’s greatest dynasties winning four Stanly cups between 1980-83.  They have made the playoffs 21 times, with their most recent appearance being 2007.  Although they have a proud history they have lost $208.8 million in nine years, including $33.5 million last year.  They also ranked last in attendance for the 2008-09 season.

I will admit that the Coyotes’ attendance has been exiguous recently; however they are not alone in having empty seats. Poor attendance does not discriminate between hot and cold climates.

Below are teams that are based in traditional markets, or in the case of the St. Louis Blues have been in the league over 40 years, and have ranked in the bottom 10 teams in attendance during recent years.

2001, Bruins, Blackhawks, Islanders
2002, Calgary Flames, Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins, Islanders
2003, Bruins, Islanders, Devils, Blackhawks, Penguins, Sabres
2004, Bruins, Devils, Capitals, Islanders, Blackhawks, Penguins (last place, average 11,877)
2006, Devils, Blues, Capitals, Blackhawks, Islanders (last place, average 12,609)
2007, Boston, Devils, Capitals, Islanders, Blackhawks, Blues
2008, Devils, Capitals, Bruins, Islanders
2009, Devils, Avalanche, Islanders

I hope that you will realize that poor attendance and finacial failure cannot be directly attibuted the the weather outside.  Bankruptcies and empty seats have plagued teams throughout the continent regardless of the teams time in existence, country, or past success. 


Arizona Hockey Fans.

Posted on: May 20, 2009 4:00 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2009 4:01 pm

Randy Johnsons and Russ Ortizes

It has definitely been a season where the negatives have been far outweighing the positives. Its easy after a game like yesterday against the Marlins to jump for joy over a win and a late inning rally. However, it was not an impressive win for the most part and there were a lot of negatives. Ive put together some of the good things named after the best pitcher in Diamondbacks history, Randy Johnson, and some of the bad things named after the worst pitcher in Diamondbacks history, Russ Ortiz. A weak attempt at being a bit more creative than just saying ups and downs. The Russ Ortiz factors The team scraped together only 6 hits despite scoring five runs. They were shutout for 8 innings and for the most part dominated by Josh Johnson, who is a good pitcher. The once reliable fielder Eric Byrnes committed two errors in a row, continuing his struggles in the outfield. The lineup featured 3 hitters who are hitting below .220, Jon Garland not included. The Randy Johnson factors Gerardo Parra continues to excel. He put up 2 hits and a walk and is hitting over .400. They need to find a way to keep this guy in the lineup. Someone print out directions to the bus station for Chris Young, the bus to Reno leaves at 5:00 The team did rally in an inning and produced timely hitting, something that they have very rarely done this season. 4 of the 6 hits came from the one inning, which is the sole reason they were able to win. Eric Byrnes continued to show signs of life at the plate. Not a great game but he singled, stole second, and walked. Qualls looked good and the bullpen was solid. It would be interesting to see how Chad Qualls would be doing if he were given consistent save opportunities. The Diamondbacks now have four batters in the lineup hitting over .300. They are making progress, and need to have Augie Ojeda in the lineup full time. All hes done is produce whenever hes in a game. In addition to batting over .300 hes good defensively which the Diamondbacks desperately need. Keep Ojeda at third and use Mark Reynolds as the full time first baseman. Hes not going to be any worse at first than he is at third.
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 26, 2009 5:10 pm

Suns are bad and it's good.


Suns fans finally have a reason to pay attention to the regular season, namely that there could be no post season.  The past four regular seasons have been irrelevant for many Suns fans.  The team was one of the top three or four in the NBA, and they were a lock to make the playoffs from the first day in training camp.


Each season would end in disappointment as the Suns would eventually lose in the playoffs, making it to the conference finals in 2005 and 2006.  Suns fans would start the next season wishing that it was over already so that they could have another shot at the playoffs and a NBA championship.  They would have to bide their time for the next six months as the team went through the motions of the regular season.  The Spurs were the only team that seemed to be able to beat them.


This year is different.  This year’s team has been very inconsistent and had some very high highs, and some very low lows.  It has made fans sick to their stomach at times, and now we sit on the verge of a brutal nine game stretch questioning if the team will even make the playoffs.  Amar’e Stoudemire is done for the season, Shaq is disappointed he wasn’t traded, and it is questionable if Steve Nash will be able to play the next few games.  Adversity has been abundantly present this season.


That is what sports is about, going through the ups and downs of the season to ultimately get your team to stick their foot in the door of the playoffs and hope they go all the way.  Every fan wants their team to be good, but when they are too good you begin to take things for granted and forget to enjoy the regular season.  You aren’t able to sit on the edge of your seat and watch each game with baited breath, knowing that each game could get you one step closer to the playoffs or put you that much more out of it.  Each game matters and it’s anyone’s guess if the Suns will win.


So thank you Suns, for a dramatic season, even if it does only last until April.


Category: NBA
Tags: Phoenix, Suns
Posted on: February 18, 2009 2:31 pm

140 points, millions of smiles

Congratulations to Alvin Gentry and the newly inspired Phoenix Suns.  This team was playing very lethargically prior to the all star break, but came out last night firing on all cylinders.  They crushed the Clippers by forty points, and dominated so much that Shaq felt at ease enough to eat popcorn from a fan.  That is something you never would have seen with Porter.


Granted they were the Clippers, and they were down a few key players, but a win like that will lift a team no matter what the circumstances.  In addition, under Porter, no team was to be taken for granted.  They Suns were owned by the Bobcats earlier in the season and regularly underperformed against inferior competition.


It is nice that the team is playing the Clippers again, and then the Thunder prior to meeting the Celtics on Sunday.  This gives the Suns three games to allow the team to gel under the new coaching style before having a true test against one of the leagues best teams.  It is just nice to see that the players are actually willing to play for this coach, and I hope that the Suns darkest days are now behind them.

Category: NBA
Tags: Phoenix, Suns
Posted on: February 17, 2009 10:24 am

Wayne please save the Coyotes

Another season filled with hope, another post all star collapse, and another post season that will not include the Coyotes.  The losses to the Flames and the Oilers have all but sealed the Coyotes fate for this year, and it is very unfortunate.  They entered the all star break sitting comfortably in the fifth spot in the west, now they are in last place in the Pacific Division, and a very outside shot to even make the playoffs.  There will be no white out in Phoenix, for the seventh year in a row.


They have had injuries to important players over the past month, but every team has to deal with injuries.  Kevin Porter and Kyle Turris, two rookies with high expectations, have both struggled and both been sent down to the minors at times this year.  The team is not growing, they are not showing any fortitude during the final part of the season, and they have lost their confidence, winning only one of their last 11 games.


Terry Porter was just fired as the Suns coach, it is time for the Coyotes to follow suite.  Wayne Gretzky needs to step down.  If he truly wants this team to succeed he needs to realize that he is not the right person to get them to the playoffs.  He makes $7 million per year in a league where the average coach earns only $1 million.  For this inflated salary Gretzky has brought the Coyotes a 132-148-22 record and zero playoff appearances in four seasons.  The Coyotes are in financial ruin, have the lowest player payroll in the league, and can no longer afford to throw seven million dollars away to be in the bottom five in the Western Conference. 


Wayne, for the sake of the franchise please step down.  Your salary could translate into two very good additional players for the team.  If you care about the franchise, the fans, and this city do what is right. 

Category: NHL
Tags: Coyotes, Phoenix
Posted on: February 16, 2009 5:14 pm

Planet Orange has been hit by an asteroid

All Star weekend came and went and Amare Stoudemire was not traded, and it is looking less likely that he will be, which is the right decision at this point in time.  Apparently no offers came in that were desirable enough for Steve Kerr to pull the trigger.  The Suns wanted to make a move that would benefit them financially and also not set them back too far on the court. 


Instead Terry Porter was fired after a half of a season to make an attempt to solve the Suns woes.  Terry Porter was largely ineffective with this group of players.  Steve Nash, Shaq, Grant Hill, and the rest of this veteran team were not responding to his style.  These players are looking for a player friendly coach, one that will let them be them.  So Alvin Gentry, a Mike D’Antoni guy, is now the interim coach, and the players can go back to doing whatever they want to do.


I wouldn’t say that the state of the team is necessarily Porter’s fault, but I wouldn’t say that it isn’t either.  The players quit on him, but that was largely due to him trying to reset a team into something that it is not.


I am still in favor of trading Amare.  He’s not the player that will lead this team to success, and he’s not willing to be a role player either.  He refuses to play defense, he refuses to work to get rebounds, and he seems largely lackadaisical about it.  Perhaps a better offer with come in the off season,


In addition to the discontent in the locker room, and the admission of failure with Terry Porter, the Suns now have Jason Richardson endangering his 3 year old son and everyone else on the road.  He was arrested for driving 90 mph in a 35 with his son unrestrained in the backseat.  This is the icing on the Suns dysfunctional cake.  So the question is now, what else can go wrong?

Category: NBA
Tags: Phoenix, Suns
Posted on: February 13, 2009 5:41 pm

Small Market or Large Market

Yesterday Robert Sarver, owner of the Suns, was being interviewed on the radio.  He stated at one point that Phoenix was a small market, at which point I yelled at the radio.  This lead me to question if Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the US is a small market, what constitutes a large market.  Population of the city, attendance, what? 


Below I have compiled information on the 8 largest cities in the US, and also included Boston and San Francisco.  This includes the population of the city, and the % of overall (home and road) attendance the team draws.  So 100% would mean the team is selling out their home games, and all their road games average to sell outs as well.  95 would mean that for the total seats for all the games the team plays, 95% are sold. I used this to see how the team is followed on the road.  I realize this is not a perfect examination of a team’s national following, because teams such as the Red Sox, sell out every home game no matter who the opposing team is.  Although it’s not perfect, I felt it was a decent interpretation with out examining apparel sales, TV ratings, etc.


So, who are the largest markets?


By population it is New York, LA, and Chicago.


For basketball, it is LA, Boston, and Phoenix.  So the small market that Robert Sarver cited is somewhat of a misnomer.  Out of the eight largest cities, as well as Boston and San Francisco, Phoenix ranks 3<sup>rd</sup>. 


For baseball its, Boston, Chicago (Cubs), and New York (Yankees).  No real surprise there.  Unfortunately the Diamondbacks are next to last.  The Diamondbacks do, however, get very good TV ratings statewide.


For football, guess what, there is a reason that this years Super Bowl was the highest rated ever.  The Eagles, CARDINALS, and Giants, are the largest. 


For hockey, Chicago, New York (Rangers), and the Sharks have the largest markets.  This does not include Canadian markets, and Detroit was not included.  Coyotes, like the Diamondbacks, are second to last. 


Again, just the eight largest cities by population were included, and then I wanted to look at the other two markets.  So next time someone tries to tell you that Phoenix is a small market for football or basketball, you can call them a liar right to their face.


New York 8.2 million, Knicks 93.6,  Yankees 86.2, Giants 100.6, Rangers 102.2

LA 3.8 million, Lakers 99.8, Dodgers 80.3, NA, Kings 89.8

Chicago 2.8 million, Bulls 94.6, Cubs 90, Bears 96.3, Blackhawks 104.5

Houston 2.2 million, Rockets 93.2, Astros 78.3, Texans 99.8, NA

Phoenix 1.5 million, Suns 96.2, Diamondbacks 68.9, Cardinals101.4, Coyotes 90

Philadelphia 1.4 million, 76ers 79.7, Phillies 84.6, Eagles 102.3, Flyers 96.1

San Antonio 1.3 million Spurs 92.2, NA, NA, NA

San Diego 1.2 million, NA, Padres 73.7, Chargers 94.5, NA

Dallas 1.2 million, Mavericks 95.3, Rangers 57.6, Cowboys 99.9, Stars 92.8

San Francisco 764k, Warriors 91.6, Giants 77, 49ers 94.3, Sharks 96.5

Boston 599k, Celtics 99.1, Red Sox 92.9, Patriots 99.1, Bruins 93.9





Category: NBA
Posted on: February 6, 2009 5:18 pm

"I'm not the captain" -Amare, 02/06/09

"I’m not the captain, you can't blame too much on me"


No you’re not Amare, and you never will be.  It’s hard to gain the respect of your teammates when the most athletically talented player hasn’t learned how to rebound or play defense in the past five years.  It’s hard to gain respect when the so called “all star” routinely gets shown up by no name players on opposing teams.  Steve Nash, the 6’3” 180 lb 30 something captain has done more for this team and this city that you could ever hope to with only a fraction of your talent.


You’re done here Amare.  You are a selfish player.  You are a lazy player.  You are an overrated player.  You are now a joke on a weekly basis.  This team cannot win with you.  This team is less than the sum of its parts because of you.  Your true colors were masked under the D’Antoni system, but now that he has left you’re true colors are exposed.  Have fun in the Eastern Conference being the go to guy on a losing team.  There is another organization out there that is waiting for you to alienate yourself in their locker room too. 

Category: NBA
Tags: Phoenix, Suns
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com