So, the New York Yankees once again win the World Series, ending the decade as they began it. I don't care much for it, but that's another subject.
Instead, I'd like to focus on the decade's champions and the cities that got to celebrate them, because so much of the meaning of winning a championship has something to do with where the fans come from. New York has won the last championship of this decade.
Disclaimer: There are a great many people out there who love to point out that the decade has not officially ended, that because there was no year 0 that a decade starts with 1 and ends with 10. We had this argument in 1999 when everyone wanted to celebrate the new millennium the next year. Sorry, folks, the decade is determined by the first three numbers of the four-digit year, and why can't we just call the year before Year 1, Year 0 anyway? I'm not going to go through the motions of what Jayson Stark did in this article, where he felt the need to put quotation marks around every mention of the word "decade."
Besides, decade means ten years, and 2000-2009 is ten years.
Which city won the most championships in this decade?
Why, this one is easy if you think about it. Boston. Although the Patriots play in Foxboro, we know that the Patriots are the representatives of the closest metropolitan city. The Patriots (3), Red Sox (2), and Celtics (1) combined to score 6 championships for the city.
Los Angeles won 4, all by the Lakers. But if you want to encompass the entire L.A. area, you could include Anaheim's 2 combined championships from the Ducks and the Angels, and L.A. would also have 6.
New York City just won its 3rd championship of the decade, with 2 World Series wins and the Super Bowl-winning Giants. Of course, the Giants play in New Jersey as a New York team. If you would like to include all of New Jersey's teams as part of the NYC metropolitan area, New York came away with 5 championships if you also include the New Jersey Devils, who brought home two Stanley Cups.
Of the 39 championships (there was no Stanley Cup in 2005), these areas took 17.
So who else won multiple championships? Pittsburgh won 3 with the help of two Steelers wins and one Penguins win. Detroit won 3 with the help of the Pistons and twice with the Red Wings.
Tying St. Louis and Pittsburgh? Try San Antonio and those pesky Spurs, with 3 championships in a city that they own by themselves.
That leaves St. Louis (Rams and Cardinals), Tampa (Bucs and Lightning), and Miami (Heat and Marlins) with 2.
After all that, 15 more championships were taken by these 6 cities and that leaves 7 with individual championships:
Indianapolis (Colts), Chicago (White Sox), Phoenix (Diamondbacks), Denver (Avalanche), Philadelphia (Phillies), Baltimore (Ravens), and Raleigh (Hurricanes) round out the rest.
So now we know who won. How many championships did these cities have a chance to win?
Boston had 7 and came away with 6, the lone loss being that Patriots defeat at the hands of the Giants.
Including Anaheim with L.A., that metro area contended for an astounding 9 total, coming away with 6, the Lakers losing 2 NBA titles and the Ducks losing a Cup.
New York's metro area tops all of them, with 11 total attempts. The Yankees lost 2, the Nets lost 2, and the Devils lost 1. The Mets lost 1, but it was to the Yankees, so New York was both a winner and a loser there.
It gets a little more interesting and varied with cities like St. Louis (4 total attempts), which lost a Super Bowl and a World Series (and also won both those things), and Detroit (6), which lost a World Series, a Stanley Cup, and an NBA championship. Pittsburgh went to 4 and came away with 3, with the Penguins losing the 2008 Cup.
The city that had their hearts broken the most was Philadelphia, of course, with 4 total trips and coming away with only 1, losing a Super Bowl, a World Series, and an NBA Championship. Dallas would come away totally empty-handed with 2 failed attempts, the Mavericks and Stars.
The number of once runner-ups from individual cities is massive, starting with Nashville's Titans in 2000, Tampa (Rays), Charlotte (Panthers), Raleigh (Hurricanes), Chicago (Bears), Denver (Rockies), Houston (Astros), Oakland (Raiders), Indianapolis (Pacers), Cleveland (Cavaliers), Orlando (Magic), Phoenix (Cardinals), Seattle (Seahawks), and three Canadian teams who just couldn't bring the Cup back to the promised land: Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa.
So, then, I thought, what about the states? I would have to include college sports, too--strictly basketball and football.
It should come as no surprise that the state of Florida won the most. With 6 college wins, 4 of them from the Gators (2 per sport), 1 for Florida State (football), and 1 for Miami (football), combined with the 4 professional wins, Florida took home 10 total. They lost 5 more (yeah, the Gators actually lost in the NCAAs in 2000. It was a happier time). The state of Florida was involved with 15 title attempts.
Then it's California, with 7 wins. USC football won 1, combined with the 6 others previously mentioned. So they lost out on 5: USC (football) and UCLA (basketball), and the 3 other professional attempts, for a total of 12.
Texas went for 7 and got 4, when you include the Longhorns' win over USC to add to the Spurs. Houston and Dallas, what a bunch of losers.
Michigan: 8 tries. Michigan State won an NCAA, so 4 total wins for that state, and an extra loss when they lost to North Carolina this year.
Pennsylvania was all professional attempts: 8, coming away with 4.
North Carolina went for 6 and won 4, with Duke (basketball) and 2 UNC (basketball), along with the Hurricanes win. Losses came from the Hurricanes and Panthers.
And who knew the Sooners went for 4 BCS wins in this decade? Oklahoma came away with 1, over Florida State. They lost to LSU, USC, and Florida.
Ohio's only championships were with the Cavaliers and, perhaps, most memorably, with Ohio State. With the ignominy of losing to Florida in both football and basketball in the same year (2007), they also lost to LSU. They took their lone championship for Ohio when a referee decided some 3 seconds after a play was over to call pass interference in the end zone against Miami in 2003. I know what you're thinking. Screw Miami. That's 1 win with 4 crushing losses.
Maryland took 2 with an NCAA and the Ravens. They lost nothing. To hell with them.
Indiana had 3 tries, when you include the Hoosiers loss in the 2002 NCAAs. Indiana says Thank God for the Colts.
Louisiana won 2 with LSU (football) and that's it.
Kansas: 1 and 1 with a win and loss in the NCAAs.
Arizona: 3, with an NCAA, but still only D'Backs to celebrate.
Missouri: All St. Louis and their 2 wins, 2 losses. Sorry, Kansas City.
Massachusetts: all Boston of course. No need to delve further.
Washington: the lone Super Bowl loss from Seattle.
Illinois, 3, with the NCAAs. They still only had the White Sox actually win.
Connecticut, Georgia Tech (basketball), and Virginia Tech (football) were the lone representatives from those states in any kind of championship. UConn won, the Techs didn't. Sorry, Georgia, Virginia.
New York State, strictly to the letter, took 3 championships: 2 Yankees and 1 for Syracuse. New Jersey won the same amount, if you go strictly to the letter and give the Giants to Jersey. Overall the two states won 6 and had 12 tries between them. In other words, you just add Syracuse's win/attempt to all the New York metro area wins/attempts.
Tennessee went for 2, when you include Memphis, and came away empty-handed.