Resurgent Knicks, NHL-Leading Blue Shirts: Most New Yorkers Miss It All – The LINsanity of Jimmy Dolan Continues…
Do Knicks and/or Rangers fans really need another reason to hate Knicks/Rangers/Madison Square Garden/Beacon Theater, Nokia Theater/XL Center/Time Warner Antagonist James Dolan? Most of us would respond with a resounding “NO!!!” However, he has added another coal to the fire that is burning bright. Soon, the pitchforks will come out full force, especially once the Rangers skate towards the NHL Playoffs and a Stanley Cup. The Knicks have been playing better with a young player salvaged from the scrap heap that is the D-League — reinvigorating a team that was reeked worse than fish kill just a week ago.
These are great times to be a New Yorker and a New York sports fan: The Knicks are fun to watch again, and can really position themselves for a playoff run, as we near the midway point of this truncated 66-game season. The Rangers lead the NHL with 77 points and are playing stupendous hockey. The Giants just won their fourth Super Bowl Championship and second in four years, and the Yankees are always in contention (AND ARE ABOUT TO RID THEMSELVES OF TEAM ALBATROSS [Michael Kay Voice] “Allan… James… BURNETT”) so the six month stretch from April to October will be palpable as the Yanks chase World Series title #28.
Lost in it all is the fact that many New Yorkers cannot see the Knicks and Rangers on their beloved MSG Network, home of both clubs, and OWNED by Dolan’s Cablevision conglomerate — because of a pithy disagreement between Time Warner and MSG.
You see, MSG is its own entity unto itself. MSG and Time Warner have battled for years regarding the cost that Time Warner would pay in order to carry the Knicks on their cable platform. Knicks and Rangers fans, already being reamed by Dolan, who raised ticket prices 49% last summer — cannot see their teams without going to the games themselves, or to bars, or using satellite feeds through their league packages or illegal streaming online. Although I have only missed three or four Knicks games, and catch many Ranger games with no problem, the semantics of the whole beef between Dolan/MSG and Time Warner is pathetic.
Think about what Dolan has done to ruin both the Knicks and Rangers since his father bought the franchises and later acquired the other entities listed above — back in 1994:
— He ran Dave Checketts, arguably the best thing to happen to the Knicks’ front office in my lifetime, and that includes Donnie Walsh, who Dolan NATURALLY gave the shaft to in 2011, issuing walking papers to a guy who made the Knicks relevant again.
— He pushed Patrick Ewing out of New York; one of the few guys who should never play elsewhere and should have a lifetime pass as a coach or have some capacity within the organization.
— He mandated that Walsh execute the trade for Carmelo Anthony, which looks worse and worse with each passing day… as the Knicks are playing remarkably better WITHOUT Anthony, and the players the Knicks surrendered in the trade to acquire Anthony from Denver have all flourished ever since. Worse yet, the Knicks were bidding against themselves, and could have easily acquired Anthony WHILE KEEPING their young players who would have these same Knicks in first place with ease had they not been traded. Dolan’s impatience cost the Knicks in the long run, as they would have made the playoffs (which was necessary in order to protect the draft pick given to Houston in order to acquire and slash Tracy McGrady and his contract from the books in order to clear the space to eventually acquire Amaré Stoudemire, and subsequently, Anthony). The Knicks would be infinitely better without Anthony, as it appears, and Dolan couldn’t at least wait four or five months in order acquire him outright and at LEAST figure out if the previous players could mesh with Anthony. WE WILL NEVER KNOW, NOW.
— He raised ticket prices by 49%, despite handcuffing the Knicks in future deals for the next 2-3 years, creating a ceiling for their improvement.
— He pushed for Mike D’Antoni to be hired in 2008, despite objections to the contrary from most basketball minds and New Yorrkers, who abhor the style of coaching that D’Antoni brings to a tough-minded city and the Home of Basketball, New York City. The Knicks win DESPITE both Dolan AND D’Antoni.
— His love affair with Isiah Thomas, which is beyond stupefying and downright creepy.
— His outright refusal to bring Patrick Ewing into the fold, as well as ruthlessly cutting Patrick Ewing, Jr., who could offer more than anyone currently wasting away on the Knicks’ bench, while being paid handsomely to do so, I might add.
— His foolish and ill-timed declaration that the Rangers will win the Stanley Cup title, to the chagrin of Torts (Rangers’ coach John Tortorella), who was standing next to the buffoon Dolan and probably wanted to elbow Dolan in his temples.
— Blocking the New York Jets football team from constructing a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan over the rail yards in Chelsea — prime real estate that Dolan’s clueless conglomerate owns and refuses to allow anyone to build upon. All real estate agents/brokers are familiar with the term “AIR RIGHTS”, and savvy people who do not dabble in real estate are familiar as well. AIR RIGHTS are more valuable than the properties that are built (or NOT built) in Manhattan themselves. Although Dolan is not doing anything worthwhile with the land, he refuses to allow anyone else to encroach upon the area in order to build and profit themselves. Getting the Jets out of Giants Stadium, where they are still lessees from the Giants — would have been a boon for everyone. The Jets would have had prime real estate and a stadium to call their own for the first time in their 51-year history, and the Giants could easily revert back to Giants Stadium, or MetLife Field at Giants Stadium, as a result.
SEE HOW DOLAN JUST SCREWS EVERYTHING UP IN THE TRI-STATE? It isn’t relegated to the two teams he owns, but also the companies and other edifices that his conglomerate owns rights to. The Beacon over by Lincoln Center, eventhe XL Center up in Connecticut, is under Dolan’s control.
These are only a few samples of the screw-ups that Dolan has made since 1994. There have been many others that even Garden Insiders are not privy to (as MSG is loathe to speak to media, a longtime MSG tradition). There will be many more screw-ups until he is forced to sell the team. All we know is if the Knicks and Rangers make deep runs (the former is a long shot to win a title, the latter is a front runner) and, after having to pay a near-50% increase on tickets AND be blacked out from watching the teams on our beloved MSG Network, there will be riots with pitchforks over on 33rd and 7th Avenue.
If you really want to get the gist of the Time Warner/MSG situation, read the following:
KEEP IN MIND, HE IS DOING THIS BECAUSE LOS ANGELES LAKERS’ OWNER, DR. JERRY BUSS, INKED A $5 BILLION DEAL WITH THE SAME TIME WARNER, MERE WEEKS AFTER THE THREATS TO BLACKOUT THE KNICKS AND RANGERS CAME TO LIGHT BEFORE THE 2011-2012 NBA SEASON BEGAN. Time Warner said that it would cut the Knicks and Rangers/MSG from their cable platform, even after petitions from fans and corporate sponsors failed to yield anything beyond inertia in the contractual talks between MSG and Time Warner. Prior to the Lakers/Buss deal, Time Warner was only offering Dolan a fraction of what they offered and signed with Buss. Dolan obviously sees this and refuses to even negotiate in good faith any further; allowing for the blackout to come to fruition JUST as the 2012 New Year’s Ball dropped a mere 10 blocks away from Madison Square Garden.
By the following day, we were blocked out of New York Knicks and New York Rangers coverage on the MSG Network.
Dolan is trying to prove something to someone, but the only losers here are the fans. And if he’s been successful in proving anything to anyone, it is proving to us, the fans, who pay these exorbitant prices to support our teams, despite the lack of support and good faith by Dolan and MSG — that he SIMPLY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE NEW YORK SPORTS FAN.
Please share your thoughts, even if you are not a fan of either team.