The rangers had a home coming late last night. They lost; it’s the new New-York-way, I guess. I watched the people funnel out of the place like ants on a picnic blanket from my penthouse suite. I sat down at the baby grand and banged away, howling into that New York City night. It was surreal. I don’t know how to play piano, but the whole situation gave me goosebumps anyway.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Springsteen recently. I’ve always vibed with that blue-collar thing Bruce loves, like not capitalizing the R on Rangers. I’ve been trying to emulate him in my game. You know, the down and dirty stuff. Like playing defense and not back-pedal-down-the-length-of-the-court-slap-fighting.
I care about winning. I do. The league fined Coach Woodson 25K today for saying I was a superstar, so I fined myself 50K for being a superstar. It’s not just about the money.
The Boss would approve of that. He’s blue-collar like me. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Tramps like us, he’d say.
I kinda feel like that nowadays. Like it’s me, JR, Andrea, Ron and Pablo — a bunch of broken heroes on a last chance power drive. Down and out tramps the whole lot of us. Born to run. Unless JR feels like pulling the trigger from 36 feet out, we’ve always got a shot.
Bruce sang about America — the real America. Suicide-machines, warm beer and getting your high school sweetheart pregnant. The Glory Days. You gotta appreciate that — perpetually living in the past. It’s all about avoiding the present and taking refuge in false realities.
If Bruce played ball, he’d be tripping Lebron and hitting D-Wade in the groin. He’d refuse to accept his team was old and useless. He’d go to East Village bars and slug whiskey and talk about throwing 97 MPH heaters. His defense would be as plodding as all the oil and cheese on my Italian namesake’s favorite slice of pie.
Bruce’d find a way to win, defense be damned. You know, I’m coming to terms with the fact that defense might not happen for me. I can’t have everything in this life; I’m #blessed enough as it is. It’s not just the genetic lottery. You have to hit the motivation lottery too.
Look, I miss the old days, no doubt. Nostalgia is a powerful retention tactic. I want summer and J-Kidd hitting me in stride just as bad as you.
I miss Linsanity and the way of the world when I was digging up worms. I’ll always remember Mike D’Antoni and the shivers I got when he first played me Secret Garden.
But those days are gone. Doesn’t mean we should quit and give up. We gotta live on in denial.
What would Bruce do? I’ll tell you what — He’d go to Candy’s Room, even if she moved out thirty years ago. He’d get drunk and talk about all the chicks he pulled when he was 17.
So let’s turn this thing around New York. Bloated payroll, talent-starved roster? No problem Wendy. Let’s play the hand we’ve been dealt.
Let’s make Bruce proud. Let’s adopt that down and out Jersey mentality and get back to our old ways of winning games that made empty, hollow statements of relevancy. Let’s take a stand, boys.
Down in Jungleland.