Strasburg is a delight to observe. He has the curveball, the
changeup, a hint of a slider. Good hitters stand there and wonder what
just went by them. He makes it look easy, although we know it is not.
The fans are glued to his delivery, and then turn their heads to check
the radar gun and find out if he topped 100 miles an hour. You know who
they are here to see—the beer lines get longer when the home team is at
the plate. It’s not the Toledo Mud Hens that are drawing those big
As we watch him, we almost hope he doesn’t get too great too fast.
We want to keep him around a little longer, fill him with salt
potatoes, give him a taste of how good and rich summer life in Central
New York can be. I’m sure San Diego was sweet and you know he’ll dazzle
them some day in D.C. when he gets the call from the Washington
Nationals, but for now he’s ours and we take pride in that. As we
should. We are not just lucky to have a world-class talent here in our
midst. We are worthy.
Why do we have to keep reminding ourselves of this? Maybe because some of our leading media keep inviting us to question it.
A few weeks ago Syracuse was voted one of the most fun cities in the
United States. Maybe you were having too much fun to notice, but
Portfolio.com ran a story ranking the top 100 cities in country and, lo
and behold, we were No. 17. It was one of those silly surveys that
somebody makes up, and puts out there for people with time on their
hands to read, but so what—we were ranked ahead of most places in the
country, including Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla. We were ranked the most
fun city upstate. We were just a few spots behind New Orleans. New
Orleans, for cryin’ out loud!
It was something to crow about. So what did the blog on the website
of our daily paper have to say about it? Did they ask people to write
in with stories about why this is such a fun place to live or visit?
Did they start a “we wuz robbed” write-in campaign to Portfolio.com
insisting that we belong in the Top 10 and demanding to know how anyone
in their right minds could put Bridgeport, Conn., and Detroit ahead of
us? Really, Detroit.
No, instead of seeing the sunshine, the wizards of Clinton Square
offered people the chance to wallow in gloom and to discuss whether we
belonged there or not.
Here were your choices on the poll posted on Syracuse.com on April 26
Does Syracuse deserve its No. 17 ‘Most Fun’ ranking?
Yes, there is a lot to do here
O No way. . . are you kidding?
O I don’t know. . . it’s better than Poughkeepsie
That is pathetic. If you followed the string of posts, ranging from
a guy who calls himself “pompous idiot” to a dueling duo who hide
behind the screen names “hamster chip” and “retrovirus” (you know who
you are), you get a glimpse into the dual personalities that can infect
Central New Yorkers.
Humility is one thing, self-deprecating humor can be attractive, but
this incessant questioning of our own worth has got to stop.
Yeah, this is great, we think on the first pitch—outdoor fun, great
place for family life, convenient, clean air, easy access to
recreation, New York City an hour away by plane, 10-minute commute to
work, Adirondacks and Finger Lakes at our doorstep—all the things that
make us want to live here.
But before the next pitch we’re wondering: Is this really good enough? Are we good enough?
Part of it is the nature of the beast. We are home to a minor-league
club, part of the farm system for a major-league baseball team. Our job
is to watch the players develop and, sadly, to bid them farewell when
the big claw from the Nationals decides it’s time to reach down and
snatch them away.
Destined for greater things they are, and those greater things
happen far away from Heid’s hot dogs and Doug’s Fish Fry. We are home
to a great college athletic program (several in fact). Carmelo Anthony
and Donovan McNabb were ours for their college careers, and we will
always see their professional careers through Orange-colored glasses,
but it is in the nature of things that we nurture them and send them
off to a grateful world.
That’s OK, that’s what we do. Doesn’t make us second-rate, and we
have to stop thinking as if we are somehow in a lesser orbit. We are a
mid-sized city that is a great place to live. Period.
Stephen, we are happy to have you here. We know you are lucky to
play this part of your career in such a fabulous town. If those big
city lights don’t do it for you, you know we’ll be here waiting for
you. Central New York is a great place to come home to. Just ask Gerry
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