Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nets to NY Commuters: Drop Dead.

"But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your door." - The Proclaimers

Yes, I'm starting with The Proclaimers. Because, if you are trying to get from New York City to the Meadowlands, it feels like a journey of 1000 miles. But, while those twins were probably walking for some sweet, pale, freckle-faced Scottish poonani, you are going to see a franchise with a historical winning percentage around .400 with bleak-to-mild future prospects.

You see, I live in New York City, and it's the only city I want to live in. From the odd smells, to the flagrant displays of homosexuality, to the joy of being completely broke - New York has it all. But, being a Nets fan in the Big Apple has its draw backs.

First, your team name rhymes with two other equally shitty franchises - the Jets and the Mets. So, you will find yourself making specific distinctions. "Fuck no, not the Mets. The NETS. They play basketball. In New Jersey. I am NOT a crackpot!"

Then, there's the whole "watching the game in the bar" scene. It is never on, and you will have to grab a bartenders attention. The ordeal rarely ends there, as apparently a bar with 45 flat screen televisions can only show two different channels at once. So if the Rangers and Knicks are on, you are shit out of luck.

But, now, on top of this, the Nets and NJ Transit have gone and fucked up the ways to get to the Izod Center from New York. Before, they would just pack up buses from Port Authority and send them to the Meadowlands one after another on game day. In fact, they STILL do this for Giants/Jets games. Take a look:

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Four point one miles. Estimated 11 minute trip. Granted, with rush hour traffic, it might take 20-25 minutes. But still, if you left at 7, you could comfortably arrive at a 7:30 game. After the game, you would fly back to New York without traffic in around 15 minutes.

But this season, all this changed. Now, instead of Port Authority, you have to go to Penn Station. OK, it is 8 blocks away, no big deal. But does Penn Station take you to the Izod Center? It's the Nets, so of course not! It takes you to my least favorite junction: SECAUCUS. JUNCTION.

This ride takes around "10 minutes" by itself. However, as I have frequently found, there are multiple delays. I would safely estimate that you should allow 20 minutes for this ride as well. So, for those of you doing the math - we are now at the same exact amount of time that it would have taken if they still provided the bus option. Here's the kicker - did you get any closer to the arena? Let's take a look at the map:

View Larger Map

SHIT NO! You are now SIX POINT FUCKING SEVEN miles from the stadium. You went BACKWARDS by 2.6 miles! So it is now ANOTHER 20 minutes to the stadium. Double the time, half the fun.

Now, to safely get to a 7:30 game on time, you probably have to depart New York around 6:30. And getting home is no fun either, as there are less trains from Secaucus Junction back into the city at night. You'll probably end up back to New York around 11:00. So, what used to be a roughly 3:15 endeavor (7:00 - 10:15) is now clocking in at 4:30 hours. And that's if you live in a convenient neighborhood - subways will be running less frequently at later hours. God forbid the game goes into overtime.

The reason I'm pissed about this is because of one underlying reason: IT. MAKES. NO. GEE-DARN. SENSE. I have used the Port Authority system for years before. It worked fine. The buses were never empty - there were always long lines to get to the arena on game-day, even through the second quarter. It was not broken, so they decided to smash it?

But even more importantly is that this team wants a New York City fanbase! They will be moving to Brooklyn in 2009 2010 2011, and needs as large of a fanbase as possible. They should not only be slurping the New York fanbase, but tickling their balls, too.

It is an utter pain in the ass that makes zero sense for all parties involved. The Nets fans are not happy with the extra commute. The Nets need to get as many fans to that half-empty stadium as fast as possible (which helps concessions sales as well, too). And the Secaucus Junction commuters can't be happy with the extra crowds clogging the stations as well. I've been to a few season ticket holder Q&A sessions, and I am not the only one who is bitching about this. It severely deters from the entertainment value of the game, and is making me reconsider the amount of games I will go to in the future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nets versus Heat

"Looks like you saved the best for first." - Andy Bernard

So I'll kick this shit off with a BIG WIN against the Miami Heat. It was the first game I had been to since a mildly forgettable win against the Bulls in late February. With the team struggling since then, I didn't have much expectations - I just needed to do something to make my Friday night a little more interesting. I went with my friend Danny, whose main objective was to show off his sweet new Brook Lopez jersey.

I gotta say, it is a very nice jersey. What impressed me most was two things:
  • Danny is Chinese, and broke the mold by not going for the Yi Jianlian jersey. Although, this isn't too surprising since Danny has a strict policy against wearing the jerseys of players who suck.

  • It is a very unique jersey for a Nets fan to wear at this point. You see many fans garbed in Carter and Harris jerseys at the game, but very few Lopez ones. And very few red road jerseys. In fact, we only saw one other person adorned in a red Lopez jersey at the game. However, it was being worn by a 12-year-old girl. Sad trombone.

We scored free tickets via the Nets new marketing program entitled "PLEASE SHOW UP! PLEASE!!!" Getting to Izod Center from New York City is such a pain in the fucking ass. Manhattan and the Meadowlands are FOUR miles apart, yet the Nets and NJ Transit have somehow devised a system that takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get you from point A to point B. I'll go into this in greater detail in a post I'll probably call "Nets to Fans: Public Transportation is for Fucktards."

Back to the game, what made this a special night for my comrade and I was access to the MGM GRAND AT FOXWOODS ALL ACCESS LOUNGE CLUB THING!

Yes, that's Nets Basketball presented by VONAGE. At the IZOD Center. We're at the All Access Club presented by MGM GRAND. And the thrill of athletic competition is brought to you by YORK PEPPERMINT PATTIES, TASTE THE THRILL!

I've been to this All Access club two or three times before, and I'm telling you - it's the only way to fly. When we first showed up around 7 (half hour before game-time), it was pretty crowded, and there was a long line to get drinks. It's like they were giving away free beer or someth--

...heart. Love. Free beer!

After getting our drinks, we hit up the free food buffet as well. Nothing too special here - an assortment of pasta, pretzels, hot dogs, and other junk food you'd get at a sporting event. But soon it became clear how some people took advantage of this free beer policy. For example, when Danny alerts me he will be by the "far" TV (a television screen that is on the other side of the room), some random person misheard him and thought Danny had said "FART" TV. He was highly amused by this, and I was greatly amused by his amusal! Furthermore, the lovely ladies serving food were singing Rod Stewart's greatest hits. Truly, the New Jersey Nets organization, known for constantly giving fans the shaft for the better part of 30 years, have created a miniature version of, what I can safely say without hyperbole of any sort, FUCKIN HEAVEN!

However, there is a dark, mysterious presence in the universe...

The Man In The Video Room

Yes. He sees you. You. Now. At all times.

Who knows what he is thinking? What is he scheming? Is it just me, or does one man in a room watching multiple televisions just lead you to think that he is evil? Next time I go, I must make it my mission to find out more. I'm not sure how I'll do it...perhaps I'll rig up some repeating video ala Speed.

The Game: Not much I can really say on this front. The Nets won (woo!), but the game was free of any major things to complain about on either end. It was your textbook basketball game - even the score, 96-88, was very standard. Plus, I was chugging beer after beer, so my mind frequently meandered to other thoughts. A couple notes:
  • Jermaine O'Neal and Jamal Magloire. The Slow and the Uninterested. Like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, you'd be able to get an audience for them seven years ago. Now? Ugh.

  • The best play of the game was a Dwyane Wade 3/4 court heave after a foul call. It really got the crowd going. The play was on a dead ball and didn't count, which pretty much tells you how forgettable the game was. It is worth a second look:

  • The Nets lost the lead and made things dicey towards the end of the third quarter and early fourth before pulling it out. And I saw this coming. Not because I'm super smart about basketball, but because I had two major karma no-nos. First, someone came to claim the seats we were sitting in (which we were only sitting in because someone was sitting in our seats), thus causing us to switch seats. Bad idea. Not shortly after that, I broke the seal. I should have just gone for the trifecta and sprayed chicken blood over the court. I swear to you, that above shown Dwyane Wade shot happened mere minutes after my karma debacle.

But the Nets won, Danny and I got drunk, and we didn't have to bust our wallets to do so. I'd highly recommend that everyone call their Nets ticket agents and demand your ALL ACCESS pass; it is something that is definitely worth checking out. Tell them the MGM Grand sent you. But don't get too drunk - the video man sees all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Intro

OK, let's make this fast and with as little crying as possible. World of Internet, I'm Rory - a Nets fan since 1996. I am making a foray into basketball blogging for the three main reasons everyone starts a blog - fame, fortune, and women! Being 100% confident that those shall be achieved shortly, this blog will also find time to provide "worm's eye" insight into all things Nets. I'll detailing my adventures to Nets games and other events thrown by the team. While there will be some occasional analysis, I want to steer away from that - you can find basketball "analysts" on thousands of blog. Rather than opining about who should be traded, who should be drafted, etc., I'll focus on obscure and inane narratives going on around the basketball game.

In summary, this blog will be the stories that I tell my friends after the game, but in WONDERFUL FULL COLOR BLOG FORM! Let's go!