Last night, the Albany Patroons played their first postseason game in nearly a decade, as they faced the Ohio Bootleggers at the Washington Avenue Armory. And with an explosive 41-point second quarter – buoyed by a 20-pout rn by point guard Stefan Bonneau and twelve hard-fought points from Jalen Robinson, the Patroons took Game 1 of the best-of-three NAPB semifinals. One more win, and they go to the championship to face either the Kansas City Tornado’s or the Yakima Sun Kings.
This is big.
The Patroons were cheered on a by a loud and raucous crowd. Close to 1,000 in the building. And they had a fantastic time. At one point, Albany led by as many as 21 points, and just kept the pressure on Ohio all night.
For this Patroons fan right here – this felt really, really good. I’m ready for Game 2 this Tuesday night for sure. They cheered when Steven Cunningham launched two “Steven Stunning-Slams,” they gave love to local kid Sajie Pryor as he scored eight points in relief, and they tore the roof off when Jamario Moon hit a tremendous coast-to-coast dunk that would have given Fred Sanford the big one. You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m comin’ to join ya, honey…
That being said, I need to address a big fat elephant in the room.
And that elephant lives on Albany-Shaker Road.
In Yesterday’s Times Union, reporter Leif Skodnick wrote one of the bloodiest hatchet jobs against the Patroons I’ve ever seen. Absolutely bloody. He trashed the team, he trashed the ownership, he threw in cheap, snide asides about the players (linking Jamario Moon and Xavier Moon to Will Ferrell’s “Jackie Moon” character in the film Semi-Pro), he basically stomped on the Patroons at a time when the team is flourishing. He threw shade at former Patroons player Smush Parker (bringing up Parker’s beef with Kobe Bryant), he basically threw the Patroons under the bus and backed over them a few dozen times. He even suggested that the Patroons would only have two more games in their season – perhaps he presumed that Ohio would sweep the Pats on two straight? Or perhaps he doesn’t understand that Albany gets home playoff dates when they keep winning playoff rounds?
This wasn’t a news article. It was an opinion puff piece based on the same anti-Albany Patroons schtick that Tim Wilkin had thrown at the team for decades. It was an attempt to produce a snarky article, but was about as funny as passing gas in church. And it comes on the heels of Skolnick’s fawning piece on the success of the Albany Empire Arena Football team. Yes, the Albany Empire team – owned by the Times Union’s parent corporation, and playing in the Times Union Center.
Yeah, I don’t see a conflict of interest there, either.
You know the big difference between the Patroons and the Empire?
The Patroons are winning games in the postseason. The Empire hasn’t won a single game yet in a four-team tournament that’s disguised as a season.
Besides, would it have killed Leif Skolnick to actually show up to a Patroons game? I certainly didn’t see him at last night’s playoff match. Because if he did come to a game at the Armory, he would have been pleasantly surprised … and certainly would have a different attitude towards the Patroons.
So, Mr. Skolnick, here’s the deal. The Patroons host Ohio in Game 2 of the playoffs on Tuesday night. Tip-off is at 7:00. Come to the game. I’ll even buy you a beverage of your choice if you show up. Beer, wine, diet cola, muscatel, whatever you’re into.
Don’t worry, you won’t miss an Albany Empire game, they’re not scheduled to lose to Baltimore until this weekend. 😀