Top Nine Great 'Americans' in Sports
By Lou DiPietro
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us again, and in addition to being the unofficial kickoff to summer, Memorial Day itself is in fact one of the truest "American" holidays – a day of remembrance originated to commemorate Union soldiers lost during the Civil War.
The final Monday of May is also a great time in sports as well. The NBA and NHL playoffs are nearing their conclusion (and this year, the weekend would host Game 7 of both NHL conference finals if necessary), baseball season is in full swing, and, even though we ranked the Borg-Warner Trophy as one of sports' worst prizes in a recent Niner, the Indianapolis 500 (held on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend every year) is still a cool event to watch.
So, on the verge of a holiday as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie, we bring to you a list of the Greatest "Americans" in Sports.
THE GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK
If you look up "bandbox" in the slang dictionary, chances are you'll find a photo of the home of the Cincinnati Reds as the definition. But hey, chicks dig the long ball, right?
They know why you fly, and they know where a lot of NBA players fly, too - because AA has their name on both the Mavericks' arena in Dallas and the Heat's home in Miami. And, in an effort to fit in with much of America, they even declared bankruptcy last year.
As the WWE Champion, this "Real American" fought for the rights of every man. Now, as a pitchman for Rent-A-Center, the Hulkster still fights for your most inalienable right: the ability to rent electronics and home furnishings at semi-discount prices.
THE NEW JERSEY AMERICANS
They may no longer be the Americans (or even in New Jersey), but in 1967, the now-Brooklyn Nets began their inaugural ABA season under that moniker. Later that year, they became perhaps the only pro team to ever forfeit a game because the circus stole their home arena.
THE ROCHESTER AMERICANS
The Buffalo Sabres' AHL affiliate has won six Calder Cups and reached the Cup Finals 16 times total in 56 seasons. Plus they play at an arena that was once named the "War Memorial."
Sure, Rocky may be a fictional character, but after he beat that bum at No. 7 in Rocky III he single-handedly turned the tide in the Cold War by defeating Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
GEORGE, ABE, TOM, AND TEDDY
Messrs. Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt race around Nationals Ballpark in D.C. during every Nats' home game, and even though Teddy "spoke softly and carried a big stick" as President, he's still carrying a goose egg in the win column as of the 2012 season.
THE AMERICAN LEAGUE
It may be No. 2 on this list, but as long as the Yankees play in MLB's junior circuit, it will always be No. 1 in our hearts. Math is hard!
KATE SMITH'S RENDITION OF "GOD BLESS AMERICA"
Ms. Smith's dulcet tones are played at most Yankees home games to celebrate patriotism, mark the seventh-inning stretch ... and, unofficially, announce last call for the many beer vendors Stadium-wide. God Bless America, indeed.