The Misery of the New York Sports Fan in February

Sports fandom is an addiction; it doesn’t go away in midwinter when your seasonal teams are dreadful; March Madness is, well, in March; pitchers and catchers are still working out in high school gyms and the Westminster Dog Show is a fast-approaching headline. Today, if you’re a New York fan particularly, with the Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils and Islanders all wallowing in the kind of meh play that drains the juice out of both hope and despair, and particularly on Super Bowl Sunday with our football franchises in a catastrophic state of haplessness, you’re fundamentally lost.

O.K., there is the powerful Yankee lineup to look forward to, with its promise to rocket countless baseballs into the stratosphere. But opening day is a distant horizon, and we’ve been dreaming that dream for weeks now since Aaron Judge and his 52 homers almost carried them to the pennant and then Giancarlo Stanton, with 59 of his own, came aboard in a December trade. An addiction needs to be fed more regularly than that.

So the really hard-core fan — by which I mean someone like me, who is so pathetically hooked on local sports news that the hiring of a new defensive coordinator has an effect on my day — might find himself in deep consideration of whether the Jets should take another chance on an equal-parts talent and pain in the neck like the pouty, stubborn defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. (Probably not.) Or, as I confess to doing, arguing in the comments section of that Eli Manning still has a couple of years left in him, so the new general manager ought to forget about drafting one of those touted-but-flawed West Coast quarterbacks and take the running back from Penn State instead.