16. Toronto Maple Leafs
File under: Poor helpless bastards
The Leafs’ home arena, Air Canada Center (okay, fine: Air Canada Centre), is regularly filled to 103 percent capacity, despite having the league’s highest ticket prices—and despite the Leafs not having reached the Stanley Cup finals since 1967. No wonder their mayor hit the crack pipe.
12. New York Mets
File under: Whoops
Few teams can boast a tradition of spending fortunes on wrung-dry former All-Stars (Mo Vaughn, Bobby Bonilla) and a legacy of idiotic trades. Meet the Mets! In 1971, they dealt away a young fireballer named Nolan Ryan, who immediately became Nolan Ryan, throwing all seven of his no-hitters after he escaped Queens. So what did the Mets learn from this? In 1977, the team’s chairman, M. Donald Grant (the “M.” stood for Motherfucker), spitefully traded Tom Seaver—who was making just $180,000 and had the audacity to ask for a raise—for a photo of Carrie Fisher and a map of the Bermuda Triangle. Okay, that’s not true. More recently, thanks to Mets ownership placing such faith in an investment wizard named Madoff, they worked out a gimmicky contract-deferral plan with Bonilla that requires the team to pay the fat-faced ex-outfielder $1.2 million a year until 2035, when he will be 72 years old.
6. New York Jets
File under: Whoops
Mark Sanchez’s “butt fumble” on Thanksgiving Day last year was no anomaly for the Jets—it was a metaphor for their special breed of creative destruction, a multi-decade roll of suck interrupted only by their shock/blip Super Bowl III upset win over the Baltimore Colts. And while we’re at it, may we nominate an alternative possibility for Lowest Jets Moment of Them All? In 2000, after three years as Bill Parcells’s defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick was promoted to head coach, and in his desperate haste to back out of the job, he scribbled a note on a napkin just before his introductory press conference: “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” LOL.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
File under: Mean, dumb, and cheap
We love CP3 and Blake Griffin, but until they arrived, this franchise was a disgrace. Clips owner Donald Sterling is a whoring, racist slumlord who paid $2.725 million for discriminating against blacks (“they smell”) and Hispanics (“just sit around and smoke and drink all day”) and once said—under oath—“If you are having sex with a woman you are paying for, you always call her ‘honey’ because you can’t remember her name.”
1. Every Cleveland Sports Franchise
File under: Mistakes by the lake. Then more mistakes.
To the great people of Cleveland: Look, you gave us Harvey Pekar, and apparently you’ve got a world-class orchestra. But facts are facts, and since your city is, even now, synonymous with Akron-born LeBron James, let’s look at the curse of Cleveland sports from his perspective. Between the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers, Cleveland last celebrated a title four years before LeBron’s mother was born—that’s a combined 152 seasons of futility. James ditched the Cavs not because he was the Whore of Akron but because he was the Oracle of Ohio. In his formative years, he witnessed Cleveland teams suffer The Drive (John Elway beating the Browns in 1987), The Fumble (Earnest Byner sabotaging the Browns in 1988), The Shot (Michael Jordan murdering the Cavs in 1989), and then The Move, when Art Modell decided Cleveland was such a hole he’d rather field his team in Baltimore. James surely knew that if he stayed in Ohio, some kind of ridiculous fate would befall him—The Hangnail, The Cramp, or maybe The Aneurysm. Hence: The Decision.