Thanksgiving is upon us once again, which means it's time to watch March of the Wooden Soldiers on WPIX on Thursday morning, followed by eating too much turkey, drinking too much booze and watching too much football. And, of course, it's also time to give thanks. So we'll do just that, New York sports-style. And in honor of the Honeymooners marathon (also on WPIX on Thursday), in the immortal words of Jackie Gleason (but, of course, not Ralph Kramden himself), "And away we go!"
Let's give thanks for R.A. Dickey. The Cy Young award winner has been nothing but a breath of fresh air since he joined the New York Mets, not to mention fun to watch, along with producing a season that will forever live in Mets lore. He's one of a kind, articulate, thoughtful, entertaining -- and the pitch that he's mastered is just as mesmerizing as he is. There's not much else to be thankful for when it comes to the Mets, so let's appreciate Dickey -- while he's still here. Though we should throw in David Wright, too, as he broke another handful of franchise records this summer, and it's possible (but not probable) that he'll be shipped out of town as well.
Let's give thanks for Mike Woodson. He has the New York Knicks playing basketball the right way, with defense and a team-first philosophy. The coach has gotten through to Carmelo Anthony, who is finally playing an inspired, all-around game. Woodson has also gotten through to J.R. Smith, who has matured and accepted his role as sixth man (the Knick coach has even gotten him to pull his pants up as well and act like a professional while he's at the workplace). And Woodson is (for the most part) pushing all the right buttons, getting his team off to a hot start. With the result being -- thanks in large part to Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd -- not one peep being heard about Jeremy Lin no longer playing in New York (but there's no reason we can't give a final thanks for Linsanity, though).
Let's give thanks for Brooklyn. The Nets are now relevant and have a brand-new aura surrounding them, with their move to Brooklyn. Oh yeah, and they're good, too. So, we can now have a real, full-blown Knicks-Nets rivalry. Let's thank Billy King and Deron Williams for that. And Barclays Center has even come to the rescue to save the New York Islanders. Long Island (and New Jersey for the Nets) may have gotten a raw deal, but at least both teams are still in the area and didn't have to pack up and move to someplace like Kansas City (not that there's anything wrong with Kansas City -- we might as well give thanks for Kansas City, as they did sort of give us the New Jersey Devils, who began life as the Kansas City Scouts).
Let's give thanks for Eli Manning. Despite his slump, or whatever you want to call it, he's given us two New York Giants Super Bowl victories, and things could be far, far worse than his and the Giants' midseason swoon. Just look over in that other MetLife locker room, where the daily Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow drama plays out.
Let's give thanks for the New York Jets? I put a question mark there, because what should we be thankful for when it comes to Gang Green? Maybe we should give thanks for the St. Louis Rams (and Brian Schottenheimer) for being the perfect opponent at the perfect time while the perfect storm was brewing for the Jets last week. The Jets are entertaining, though, let's give them that.
Let's give thanks for Raul Ibanez: The New York Yankees came up short once again, with no 28th World Series title, but the old-timer gave New York a few October memories that will never be forgotten. And we now have to add Hiroki Kuroda, who signed a one-year $15 million deal with the Yankees. He was the team's most consistent starter in 2012, led them in innings pitched and threw two solid games in the postseason, while never once shrinking from the pressure of playing in the Bronx.
Who should we not give thanks to? The NHL. Come on, this was going to be the New York Rangers' year, with their perfect mix of blossoming youngsters and in-their-prime veterans. And we wanted to see Martin Brodeur for another season and see how his Devils would follow up last year's magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals. And it would have been one step closer for the Islanders to eventually develop into a true playoff-caliber team, with John Tavares leading the way.
Finally, let's give thanks that we have nine teams in the area to love and loathe, support and root against, drive us wild and drive us crazy. What's better than that?