Mid-Year Review: Will Pittsburgh Be the City of Champions Come December?
Well, I said it from the start of the NHL playoffs.
If the Penguins are able to pull out a Stanley Cup victory, all the Pirates have to do is have a winning season and it will come full circle. As of today, they are three games back of .500. It may be extremely close, but trading Nate McLouth was not the best start.
That said, let’s hypothetically say that they don’t make it and have a ML record 17th losing season in a row. Where does that put Pittsburgh in the 2009 scope? Unless the Steelers and Penguins are in last place by the end of December (fat chance), they should be at least in contention for the top spot.
It is interesting because I moved from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles 2 years ago. And it seems that L.A. has the only chance to dethrone Pittsburgh as the #1 sports city of 2009. We have already established that the Steelers and Pens have, at least, temporary supremacy over their respective sports. L.A. doesn’t quite have it yet.
With the Lakers knocking off the Magic in grueling fashion, the pressure falls on the Dodgers to pull out a baseball pennant. They are well on their way, even without Manny Ramirez, who will be back soon. If the Dodgers can even make it to the NLCS, some talk has to be made of L.A. supremacy because it is a much larger market than Pittsburgh.
However, the problem the city of Los Angeles has is the non-existence of a football team among the non-existence of three of its pro teams: the dismal LA Clippers, the upstart Kings, and the Beckham-less Galaxy. Throw in the Sparks of the WNBA, and L.A. has a three team lead on Pittsburgh. Between the string of terrible seasons for the Clippers (keeping par with the Pirates) and the David Beckham debacle in pro soccer, L.A. has its problems.
Ultimately, if it comes down to two championships apiece, the tie-breaker will likely be the records of the poor teams and the respective records of the current champs come December. The Lakers being in contention is always a given and the Steelers rarely miss the playoffs. The Pens will not lose much in the offseason, so they can only get better.
My personal vote is for Pittsburgh, because I sincerely doubt the Dodgers can keep the pace they have now. Even if the Pirates die off after the All-Star break, you cannot argue two major championships in one calendar year.
I will be sure to follow up this article come the end of the year along with a list of the top 10 sports cities in 2009.
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