POLL QUESTION – MAY 24
By Leo Haggerty

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE TEAM

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

What day is it?  Sunday so it’s time for another installment of our weekly poll question.  Not the usually cast of characters and I attribute that to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

So, let’s get right to it.  This week’s query is going to take our staff back to their sports roots.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TEAM/TEAMS AND HAS IT CHANGED AS YOU GREW OLDER?

A lot of really interesting responses from our crew.  Enjoy but don’t forget to spend a few minutes honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free.

DAVID ALEXANDER – AFC WEST CORRESPONDENT
My favorite team continues to be the New York Mets. I was 12 years old when my grandfather told me that in no way was I allowed to be a fan of the New York Yankees.  The Mets were the new kid on the block and I had a cousin who worked for the phone company (back in the day when there was just ONE phone company) and they gave discounted tickets to Mets games to their employees.  The first year at the brand new Shea Stadium — the same year as the World’s Fair in New York and an easy subway ride from our house — was all it took for me to be a fan.

For Mets fans, there have been more bad years than good. The Mets have been cursed with particularly bad ownership, right up to the present time. But the names of my favorites still resonate.  Ron Hunt, Ed Kranepool, Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Tommie Agee, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Koosman, Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson.  The championships have been few and far between but for real fans hope springs eternal.
ANGELO DIBIASE – NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
Clemson.  It used to be Notre Dame as Dad had a love affair with the Irish and even worked there. Grew up Irish fan. Went to Notre Dane stadium as a kid and saw Rick Mirer QB the Irish. Worked as a ball boy for ND basketball at Cameron Indoor when they had Hurley, Hill, Lattener etc…was incredible to be in Irish locker room.
My sister went to Clemson when I was a sophomore in high school and my parents bought season tickets then in ‘97. Started falling in love with the Tigers then  and it’s only increased. Best 4 years of my life were there until I got married and had children. Still go back as much as I can. Will never forget that night in Tampa when 4 hit 13 and we reached the mountain top. Will also never forgot running around twin brother’s Gabriel’s house when Trevor put on a show in Santa Clara. The fun is in the winning and the best is yet to come!
JOHN LENTZ – NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
I followed my college roommate, Rick Barnes, and pull for his team. Clemson to Texas and now Tennessee!
GABRIEL DIBIASE – NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
Was a huge Notre Dame fan as a kid, due to my dad’s allegiance.  Stopped when I attended Clemson University and have been “ALL IN” since the first day of my freshman year.  Go Tigers!
JEFFREY NEIL FOX – PUBLISHER OF ITS SPORTS MAGAZINE
New York Jets and they never got back to the Super Bowl due to, in my opinion, inconsistent  coaching  and quarterbacks.
JASON RUBIN – AFC EAST CORRESPONDENT
Grew up loving the Chicago Bulls of course. No longer though, definitely have to consider myself a Bucs fan. Anyone that went to old Tampa Stadium, in that heat with those ugly jerseys gets a lot of credit. I really hope the Bucs have a season, with fans, and can be the first team ever to host the Super Bowl.
LARRY DIBIASE – NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ANALYST
My favorite baseball team has always been the New York Yankees. Baseball was it for us growing up in a small town in South Carolina; you were either a Brooklyn Dodger, New York Yankee, Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs fan. As was with thousands of other kids, #7, Mickey Mantle was my favorite player; I occasionally use his name as a password! My dad was from Hoboken, NJ; every summer from the time I can remember up to college days, we would go on vacation the first two weeks in August, visiting my grandmother in Hoboken and my uncle Pete in Queens. We would always see a baseball game or two; I still reminisce about old Yankee Stadium with The Mick, Maris, Yogi, Clete Boyer, Phil Ruzitto, Moose Skowron, Whitey Ford…and on and on. Those were great times, watching them play and eating an Italian Sausage…don’t get much betta!
Always on my bucket list to go to spring training…got lucky…my college roommate and some other friends were able to schedule a golf trip, sandwiched around a spring trading game. We saw the Yankees play the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa…the game was March 10th…the last game played was the next day, the 11th, before all got cancelled due to Caronavirus.
LEO HAGGERTY – EDITOR OF ITS SPORTS MAGAZINE
As I have stated, ad nausium, when you cut me, I bleed cheesesteak.  That should give you a clue that I’m a Philadelphia guy and I cheered for the teams from the City of Brotherly Love.
My favorite was the Eagles.  That’s because, at age 7, I listened to Bill Campbell describe the 1960 Birds victory at Franklin Field over the Green Bay Packers.  It wasn’t until 2017, 57 years later, when the Iggles would capture the Lombardi Trophy besting the New England Patriots.
Since moving to Florida 32 years ago, I have shared my allegiance with the teams in the Tampa Bay area along with my family.  Still, when teams from those two locals collide, I’m cheering for the northern one.
Hey, you can take the kid out of Philly but you can’t take the Philly out of the kid.  That’s just the way it is.