Sports T&A w/ Amy: The Best/Worst Sports Cities and Sports Food
Once again, Amy and I decided to do the whole "back and forth" email thing, this time on the topic of the best and worst sports cities in the US. However, after a couple volleys, we felt we had completely put to bed the issue for all eternity, so we moved to what we like to eat and drink while watching various sports. Enjoy.
Ok, Amy. You live in Florida. Which is widely held to be one of the worst sports areas in the world. I live in LA, which isn’t really deemed any better.
I’ve got a couple things about the worst sports towns that I would like to bring up with you. So I don’t go snowblind from copying-and-pasting this shit later on, let’s do a pass at item #1, then move to item #2 later, etc. Here is what the world wants to know from you:
Do you think that Florida is a bad place for sports? Do you think LA is?
What are your criteria for a good sports town? History, winning, passionate fans, weather? What about a bad one?
What are the WORST sports towns in the good ‘ole U S of A?
What’s the best sports town?
You’re up sexpot. Let’s go.
Let's narrow down Florida to two locations (only because I've been to Gainesville. Have you? Ugh. That place is a dump. I would consider it the armpit captial the of the South. While Jacksonville isn't totally lacking in character, as far as cities go, it wouldn't make my "Top 100,000 Cities to Visit" list either, thus the narrow down): Tampa Bay and Miami.
Miami sucks for sports. It's terrible. The city has potential but so does every nerd in every chick flick movie you've ever seen. You struggle throughout the movie in limbo trying to decide if you'd bang the actor and then like 2 years later you see said nerd in like Playboy or another film and then decide you would. But only after Team Hollywood stepped in to assist in the make-over.
The best thing to come out of Tampa Bay was the Mohawk and the 2003-2004 Tampa Bay Lightning. Both came and went.
LA wrote "Creating a shitteous sports city for Dummies." Miami just followed LA's step by step guide.
If you could actually write "Creating a shiiteous sports city for Dummies" what would be your top 5 qualifiers?
First off, my top 5 shitty sports cities would probably be:
1. San Diego
They all have pretty good weather, which diverts attention from sports. As best I can tell, there are no actual Americans living in Miami except for Rick Ross, so that hurts as well. Numbers 5-3 I also just find to be kind of boring cities, though Atlanta surprises me sometimes. San Diego is just the worst though. It’s so nice there that I wouldn’t want to waste a minute at a sporting event. They’ve only got the Padres and the Chargers, and they still can’t sell out Chargers home games? Ridiculous.
You’ll notice that LA isn’t on the list. I think LA has gotten a (slightly) bad rap. The Dodgers, Kings, Lakers, and Clippers are the only pro teams in the city. Let’s not get started on that Anaheim bullshit. And then there’s USC and UCLA. I think that LA does a decent job supporting those teams, but for the amount of people out here, it’s nothing close to what it’s like in NYC or Chicago. And here’s why: no one in LA is actually from LA. LA is a very transitory city, and people from out of town aren’t going to drop their allegiances and buy Dodger season tickets, which is actually kind of cool.
That said, there are TONS of sports fans in LA, just not fans of LA teams. Sports bars out here get slammed every Saturday and Sunday during football season, so there are fans, just not so many fans of LA teams. So do with that what you will. So that may seem like I weaseled a bit, but I love sports and have no problem finding an army of people to cheer with me out here.
Here are my top 5 non-shitty or “best” sports cities:
5. Philly (I hate them like I hate cancer, but they’re there, even if they’re dickheads.)
4. Boston (A little overrated, but still a really strong following)
3. San Fran (Probably the most loyal fans, even when their teams suck. Even if they’re hippies.)
2. New York (I don’t think it’s that great, but MSG is the coolest place in the world, and they’ve got a huge mass of people.)
1. Chicago (Great history, great fans, great press)
In a great sports town, I want everyone to be at least a little knowledgeable about the home teams and the leagues. I want sell outs for no particular reason. I want people to skip work for games, and I want it to be understoodthat if there is a playoff or important game that night, the only question about that night’s activities should be “What bar are we going to to watch it?”
I don’t care if the fans are yuppies or blue collar or any of that shit. I want to see a mix of people at my sports bars. I don’t want to feel like it’s half an hour past closing time at the steel mill when I step in.
Now batting: She’s #24 in your program, but #1 in your hearts. Give it up for Amy. (What was your number, btw? And why did you pick it?)
My number was 3. Growing up I wore 13, but when I got to college I quickly realized that 1) Single-digit unis are the smallest. 2) Apparently I wasn't hot-shit enough to get a number specifically ordered. So I dropped the 1 and kept the 3. Which I ended up loving. I like it because it's a prime number. I have a thing for primes.
Good shitty list. Also good non-shitty list. Funny. I really can't argue with anything you said. And I won't. I will add that the "best" sports cities ARE destination cities. So is Miami. So is LA. It's the why behind the trip that you have to think about. No one says, "hey lets go to Miami so I can drive out to boon-fuck Florida to go watch the Dolphins." You go to Miami for South Beach. I would however go to Boston just to go to Fenway.
I am now going to take this moment in time to tell you I think you drafted your response prior to me actually sending you anything.
I did NOT draft my response before you sent me yours! I’m a professional writer. And I write quickly. I was always 24 from grade school through high school. I always liked 24 cause it was divisible by almost every number. I think you and I are opposites in our math worlds. Oh, in HS I was a center on the bball team and I wore 55 cause it was the highest and Mutumbo wore the hell out of it.
Yeah, Miami seems like it would be the opposite of a good sports city. I remember when the Heat tried to do a “white-out” during the playoffs about five years ago. Everyone in the crowd wore white, and one of the opposing players said something to the effect of “When you do something like that, I think you should do it for intimidation. What’s intimidating about all white? It feels like I’m playing in heaven.” I always thought that was a good representation of Miami.
Since we have exhausted this little topic a bit sooner than we had thought, let’s get after this one:
What are the best food and drinks for watching sports? Lay some out for me. And if you want to be sport specific, that’s cool too. For instance, I enjoy tequila shots when watching playoff basketball cause you’ve got that “cusp of summer” thing going down.
Interesting. I didn't know that St. Marks had a basketball team. Who would've thought. To pay homage to your special number 24, here are a list of fabulous people who also wore 24. I got this idea from someone who did an entire break out of amazing athletes who wore prime numbers. Which by the way, I found highly impressive and clever, so here's to you Penn and the fabulous company you keep.
Willie Mays, Mets
Sam Jones, Celtics
Tom Chambers, Suns
Rick Barry, Golden State
Ken Griffey Jr., let's only acknowledge the Reds.
And your fun number fact. Jackie Robinson wore 42. 24 in reverse.
Maybe you didn't write your response in advance. But it was like I had read it before. Probably because I have. Sports cities don't really get me going if you know what I mean. I have nothing to bring to the table. On the contrary, I do however LOVE your idea of sports and food. I'll give you some thoughts on the first few sporting events/ food & drink combos that spring into my head and maybe we can go from there. I would invite you to comment on each and then perhaps add several more of your own suggestions. YAY!
Event: March Madness
Location: Local Sports Bar
Food/drink combo: Wings and endless PITCHERS of beer. Oh, and Irish Car Bombs. Lots of 'em.
Location: House Party.
Food/drink combo: Kegs & Eggs, and Bloody Mary's.
Event: Kentucky Derby
Food/drink combo: Airplane booze bottles. Smuggled. No food.
Event: First Fall NFL Sunday.
Location: My couch.
Food/drink: White bean and Chicken Chili, corn-bread. PBR, pounder cans.
Event: Heisman Trophy Presentation
Location: Booth in the bar, Nick & Sam's. Dallas, TX.
Food/drink: Steak, steak, steak. Wine, wine, wine......tequila.
Event: British Open
Location: My couch.
Food/drink: Bangers & Mash. Guinness.
First off, I’m more than a little peeved that you thought my high school didn’t have a basketball team. Does any school not have a basketball team? Yes, we had a basketball team. Yes, I put up 16 and 12 my junior year. Yes, I quit all my sports except volleyball my senior year cause I decided I liked booze and punk rock more than sports.
Thanks for the info on my number. Sadly, you used to have Steve Nash’s number, but now have Dwyane Wade’s. Tough break. I see you as an “8” or a “29.” I don’t know why but those numbers work for you.
For the ease of the reader, I’m going to take your different sporting events and comment on your cuisine selections, then offer any replacements/suggestions.
March Madness – I agree with the beer, but not with the wings. March Madness is a pretty taxing affair, especially the first four days. One of my favorite days of the year is the first Friday of March Madness. I usually take a vacation day if I haven’t been given that day off for Good Friday. I then find a bar (sometimes outside b/c the weather is so nice that time of year), and post up and drink for about 14 hours. Which is why beer is a good choice. I generally mix it up a little more though. Start with screwdrivers, then go with beer, then tequila rocks when I’m ready to mentally check out around 9 PM.
The wings, however, I can’t agree with. I’m not a huge wing guy, but I’ve never understood how chicken wings are the most popular food in America. They are probably the worst thing you can do to your stomach. I’m not saying you need pita and hummus, but not eating dead animal legs for 14 hours will probably benefit you in the long run. I say mix it up, but if I had to pick one dish – Peel and eat shrimp. Still messy and small enough that you can eat them for hours, but they won’t make you wish you were dead at 9 AM the next day when you wake up.
I also like Guinness for this cause it doesn’t make you feel all bloated after six hours cause of the low carbonation. I know everyone out there thinks Guinness is this total gut-bomb of a beer, but it’s really not.
And you’re totally right about the bar. I think March Madness is the most bar-friendly sporting event there is.
Wimbledon – I never really thought of Wimbledon as event television, but if you were to throw a Wimbledon party, I would probably show up with four bottles of cheap champagne and some fresh orange juice. Foodwise, I guess I would go with something a little dignified. Meatballs. Just kidding. I think I would create a waffle station. Yup. Waffles.
Kentucky Derby – Well this event lends itself to drinking because it’s so anticlimactic. I heard it’s cool, but I really don’t see the allure. If I was going to get all dressed up, I would rather be at a boxing match, I think. If I was there, though you could rest assured I would try to be all civil with a glass of champagne early on, then totally fucking wrecked off of juleps about 29 minutes later. I would eat whatever the paramedics fed me after they pumped my stomach, though if it was up to me, I would probably go hot dog. Everyone acts like the Derby is so classy, but at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of assholes getting dressed up to go stand in horseshit like idiots.
First NFL Sunday – Your white bean chicken chili is pretty damn good, as is your couch idea. I am normally a huge proponent of staying home for big games so you can focus, so I’m with you there. But I’m not really a beer guy when I’m at home. I actually hate drinking on Sundays at my house, so there’s a chance here I would stay away from alcohol. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Maybe a tiny hit of pot just before the afternoon games start. I’m with you on that chili call, but not in Texas or LA, where it’s too hot in September to think about soups or stews. Cheesesteaks until October, then your amazing chili.
Heisman Trophy Presentation – I refuse to watch sports awards. They always are on a Saturday night when I could be not looking at a bunch of old dudes on TV. But if we’re gonna play your game, fine. If someone is making me watch the Hesiman Ceremony, they better be feeding me lobster thermador paired with an ‘82 Chateau Lafite. And blowing me under the table. Otherwise, I’m not showing up.
British Open – Not a golf guy, but if I was, I would probably want something other than British food, so I’m apart from you here. I think spicy food would contrast nicely to the painfully monotone announcers, so I think some spicy Asian food is in order. And to drunk? Fuck it. Sake bombs. I just made the British Open the most Asian sporting event in history.
Now if you don’t mind, let me add a few things:
NBA Playoffs – I like to go to bars when my Mavs are in the playoffs, assuming I can’t get back for the games. The atmosphere seems copacetic with the arena vibe. Consequently, I like to drink Red Bull vodkas or Patron Silver on the rocks with extra limes. I turn into a douchenozzle when watching the NBA Playoffs, I guess. Whatever.
College Football Marathon Session – I’m pretty okay with getting absolutely dickfaced while watching college football, mostly cause the good teams come from the south, where no one is sober ever. Coors Light and Wild Turkey. That way I can be drunk and numb by the time the west coast games start, and I can see USC get ear-raped by Stanford for what seems to be the 97th year in a row. Fuck Stanford.
I appreciate that neither one of us have any microbrews on this list. Is it just me or do most men kind of look like little boys when they drink Fat Tire? I think its that stupid little picture of the bicycle. So dumb.
I don’t think that people should eat or drink anything while watching baseball because I don’t believe people should watch baseball. It’s boring as hell and seems like a sport for old people who are worried about getting over-stimulated.
Also, sorry I have such long responses in your column. I smoked a bunch of meth a few days ago and don’t seem to be coming down.
Next topic is yours, Thumbelina.
Holy hell. Where to begin. Oh wait, I know. First, you have opened the door for a normal response from me. Here I am, trying to be all Susie-square pants. One line answers, quick thoughts. Fuck one line answers. Fuck quick thoughts. I don't even need a meth-induced excuse. We both know I'm a talker.
Second, before I go any further I think it's important to mention that when I walked into my office this morning I had a 3ft by 1.5ft long fold-out of the 2010-2011 Miami Heat Dancers propped up on my desk. It appears the pic was shot in Barbados. Yes, of course it was autographed. An inspirational gift from my husband to "have a great day." God I love him. In case you are wondering, it stays. I put it on my side-shelf next to my Dwight bobble head and the Franklin & Marshall #22 action figure of my favorite college basketball player of all time. Which leads me to my next point....
College basketball. Fine. I can admit that eating a dead animal leg for 14 hours can wreck your gut. That said, I still feel like its a better choice than peel and eat shrimp, so I am sticking with my selection. Peel and eat shrimp, really?? Yeah, that's exactly what I want to eat for 14 hours. At a bar. Lets start with the quality question. I doubt that you are eating seaside, so we know it's been frozen. Then thawed. And by thawed I mean some 57 year-old dude with dreds and missing teeth in the back probably saw it was still a little frozen after it had been sitting on the counter for 2 hours and and thought, "maybe I should throw this in the microwave." Yummy, fresh shrimp. All I am saying is if you go this route you better eat it all on the first pass. If you don't, you risk the temptation of coming back from the bathroom after downing umpteen beers and then maybe, just maybe finishing that last one that's been sittiing on the table for the last 6 hours. YUCK. Talk about wrecking your gut. Food poisoning. Taking it a step futher. That shrimp smell isn't coming off. Which means when you are stumble upon a random girl with huge tits who is sporting your school T (a vintage one at that, which you dig) and you strike up a conversation you are now fighting beer breath, shrimp breath and fish fingers. Which means when you wake up the next day and pull a Role Model moment (Guess what I did last night?) the answer will sadly be peel and eat shrimp vs. finger-banging. Now, because we are friends, and as we discussed the other day, there is no such scenario in which you would say, "I've gotten too much pussy lately, so eff it. On with the peel and eat shrimp," I will give you an alternative. Jalapeno poppers. Or maybe a Stodge Burger from The Porch. Done and done.
Kentucky Derby. No one goes to the Kentuck Derby to drink juleps. Well, only the douche-lords and the highly civilized. I, myself am neither, thus I prefer the infield. If Mardi Gras, Girls Gone Wild, and St. Patrick's day got together in an orgy the result would be the infield at the Kentucky Derby. HOT MESS. The range of sport here is huge. Screw the horses. You've got everything from hot, topless girls peeing in trough urinals, to toothless hillbilly women in tube tops. Sublty reminds me of what I would imagine the Indy500 to be like, minus the hot chicks.
British Open. Finally. You have come up with something beyond amazing. A spicy British Open. I'd be good with Asian. I'd also feel equally stoked about Mexican. Although I feel as though I have to reserve Mexican for the NBA Playoffs. The NBA Playoffs seems to go on FOREVER. It seems like there is a game EVERY night. Which is why I would choose Mexican. I could eat Mexican every night. And tequila! Lots and lots of tequila. (Random thought- I said almost every night. Why is it that on off-game nights is the World Series of Poker is ALWAYS on EEEsssPPPPPN. (thank you for the pronunciation lesson, Rachel Nichols).
NHL Playoffs. Hockey goes with box seats and Red Bull and Vodka. Box seats, because unless you catch it live, you know your aren't watching that shit and there is just something about it that screams Red Bull. And Jager. Yep Jager bombs coming 'atcha.
French Open, Wimbledon, Austrailian Open- Look I know that tennis isn't exactly a television event, but in my household I strongly support spectatorship of any sport that starts prior to noon. It gives you a reason to have a guilt fre tequila sunrise, or a bloody mary, or a beer, or shot. Whatever you prefer. Celebrating such events by a Keg 'n Egg party is a must. And now that I am feeling all Mexican-like, I am turning my Kegs 'n Eggs suggestions into huevos rancheros, with a side of Gran Patron Burdeo Anejo.
Now that I have said my piece, I will let you finish. I know last time I got the last word in so here is your chance. Besides, I'm not sure it gets better than tequila for me, so a tequila finish it is.
Ok. I kind of agree with you on the whole shrimp vs. buffalo wings thing, but your anecdote reminds me of the urban legends about people who eat chicken wings, then end up getting intimate, to much pain. I always like these stories, cause it makes me think of a love connection taking place at some divey Pittsburgh sports bar over Bud and wings. Which is funny, cause I’ve never even CONSIDERED sex in the same 24 hours as eating chicken wings. My brain has two modes: The chicken wing-eating mode and the trying to have sex mode. Never the twain shall meet.
Red Bull vodka for hockey? I’m sold, Amy. That’s a good one.
As for juleps at the Derby, you might be right about them being for the rubes, but I love juleps and don’t get to have them nearly enough, so I will seize every opportunity I get, douchiness notwithstanding.
Morning drinking? Can’t be beaten. It’s sad when there are no sports on, but that’s just why we love sports.
I fear that if anyone has to read any more about our weird little tendencies, they’re going to start to judge us, so I’m inclined to kill this piece right now and let it run at it’s oh-so-brief 100,000 or so words.
This week, we found out that Amy is not only a sports expert, but quite the gourmand. And something of a lush, which we all sort of suspected.
Until next week, goodbye from Penn and Amy. Stay sober. No. Don’t.