Originally written on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 11/10/14

The photo's from 2001. It's Sporting News Magazine cover photo listing New York as America's best "Big 4" Sports City." In 2012 New York still leads the pack. Generally New York teams do well in this survey. The New York Giants and New York Yankees, cream of the crop. The Mets have had a few World Series from past years, but today they're a tough sell. The Nets are heading to Brooklyn after surviving New Jersey. The Knick's and Madison Square Garden are tough to compete with, it's at the center of town and gobbles up all the attention. Moving to Brooklyn should help the Nets. The New York Jets brought in quarterback Tim Tebow but until they win a Super Bowl the Giants will stay in the spotlight. Critics of the Jets say coach Rex Ryan is wearing out his welcome. Monday, things got out of hand at the Jets Cortland, New York training camp when 20 of the Jet players got into a brawl during what many called a "chippy" practice. Tuesday Coach Ryan had his team running "sprints" before starting the regular practice session. A punishment players hate. "Gassers" players call them. Coach Ryan had 300 plus pound players running ten "gassers" to remind them they better listen to him. Jet management expect big things from their team and anything less will mean tough times lie ahead for them. It could be Coach Ryan's last season with the Jets.The New York Rangers always puts on a good show. While they lost in last years NHL finals they have made a number of trades off-season that will keep them in contention. Here's other "Big 4" cities.

Boston is up there with New York. The New England Patriots look to continue their dominance this season. The Pats are perennial contender for a Super Bowl appearance.
The Red Sox have faded in reputation over the past few years. This season will add to that reputation. The team's in turmoil, crisis mode, with a new manager, Bobby Valentine at the helm, wearing on his back a large "BULLS-EYE" target that may soon be hit. While World Series titles can't be taken away from big Poppy and others, the present day Red Sox need a total over-haul. The Boston Celtics are still ranked high in the NBA. They're the most likely candidate to challenge the Miami Heat this season. The Bruins will again be in the mix. They beat Vancouver for the Stanley Cup last season in a fantastic series.

Chicago's always been a great "Big 4" sports city. The Chicago White Sox and Blackhawk's have come thru with Championship teams in recent years. The White Sox occupy first place in their American League Central division. The Cubs still struggling in their National League Central division (5th place) still play to full house crowds at Wrigley. The Bears are not doormats, but their not dominant either. Chicago football fans are still willing to give quarterback Jay Cutler one more season. The Blackhawks and Bulls are not being picked to be serious contenders in their respective sports. But fans still fill the seats to see them play. Chicago's one of the countries best sports cities.

Rounding out our "Big 4" sports cities, Philadelphia. "Philly" is pretty good in most pro sports. Strongest in baseball (not this season). They started the season with a great pitching rotation. They won several World Series titles a couple of seasons back. Today they sit in last place of their National league East division. The Flyers are overdue for a Stanley Cup title. The Sixers are always contenders. The Eagles have Michael Vick. Will they rally this season or give fans more reason to give them the boot? Philly fans will continue to support their teams.

The above cities are categorized "Big 4" in U.S.pro sports - baseball-football-basketball-hockey. We may soon have a "Big 5" category. Adding "soccer" to the mix. The games embraced and loved by sport fans around the world (except in the U.S.A.) Seven metro areas in the U.S. can now boast of having "Big 5" listing. Increased soccer attendance is proving it's a "major" U.S.pro sport. Our women U.S.Olympic soccer team is generating new fans every appearance on television. We now have male and female pro soccer teams. Washington, D.C.recently became a five-team town.
Expect more and more "Big 4" cities to become "Big 5" cities...........

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports"-source: americanscoccer/wikipedia/

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