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NY Post
New York Post
17 Feb 2024

NextImg:Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting turning celebration into crime scene changes everything

We really can’t have nice things. That’s become clear. You’re not going to see a Second Amendment debate here, I’ll leave those cheery arguments for the op-ed page. Here’s all I know: When violence invades the sports section, I take it personally. And if you are a sports fan, you should, too.

If you are a sports fan, and you’re of certain age, some of the most glorious moments of your life haven’t taken place at actual sporting events — even if you were fortunate enough to have a ticket for a game when a team you care about won a championship. No. Better than that has been the communal gathering a few days later, the parades that makes them all official.

In New York, that has for most champions since 1969 meant a trip up the Canyon of Heroes, the northward path from Battery Park to City Hall Park. If you lived and died with the ’69 Mets, chances are you wound up there. Same with any of the seven championships the Yankees have won since 1977.

On June 17, 1994, on a brilliant day bursting with sun and good cheer, the Rangers celebrated their first Cup win in 54 years with, it seemed, every living New Yorker who ever rooted for the team. And Feb. 7, 2012, the Giants kicked off a two-state, two-site celebration of their win in Super Bowl XLVI by making that time-honored trip.

That was just 12 years ago.

eople flee after shots were fired near the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. AFP via Getty Images

But by the standards of the way our world has changed, it took place in another time, another era, another solar system. It’s not that we were invulnerable to the evils of the world — for goodness sake, there is no greater reminder of the dark hearts that occupy some people’s hearts than the whole of, and lasting hole in, lower Manhattan — we’ve just never had the kind of incident like they had in Kansas City this week.

Maybe we were just lucky.

Or maybe even 12 years ago the world was a different place. After all, as awful as Wednesday’s mass shooting in Kansas City was, it was the third such parade this year that was marred by gunfire. In Denver in June, 10 people were wounded by gunshots as Nuggets fans gathered to celebrate their team’s first NBA championship. And in November two people were arrested — though nobody was hurt — when a shot was fired in the air over a parking lot argument as Rangers fans were celebrating Texas’ first World Series championship.

Emergency worker direct people leaving a victory rally celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl 58 win after a shooting following the event Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 AP

Inevitably, this is going to have legs. Kansas City is still planning on having its St. Patrick’s Day parade. But a common narrative in the days since Wednesday’s horror has been the public question of whether going forward any city can risk the potential hazards of asking so many people to gather on such short notice in such a contained space.

“They have to think twice about having these parades,” former Boston police commissioner Bill Evans told the Associated Press. “When you have that many people hanging around in one place, nothing good’s going to happen.”

Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas, whose city has hosted three Super Bowl parades and one World Series celebration since 2015, also hinted things might have to change.

“If we’re blessed enough to win a Super Bowl again, do we do this again? Or do we all just say, ‘Go to Arrowhead Stadium. Walk through metal detectors. Have a very secured, vastly smaller event,’” he told local TV station KMBC.

People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII victory parade on February 14, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images
The Chief celebrate their Super Bowl championship. AP

You want to say: That won’t happen here. That can’t happen here. But that’s only because it never has happened here. And the sad truth, as we were reminded in Kansas City this week: It doesn’t matter how perfect your record in this matter is (and K.C. also had mass celebrations for the Chiefs in 1970 and for the Royals in 1985, this is no rookie frontier sports town), all it takes is one time. And that changes things.

We’ve been hungry for another championship around here for years now, and one of the big reasons why is that we have the best place in the world to appropriately celebrate such things. After all, the Canyon hasn’t just feted sports champions, it’s also welcomed Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, and so many others. It’s been too long since we gathered there. Can we ever do it again?

It was awfully cool to see Caitlin Clark get her record with that 40-footer Thursday. Just as amazing that same night Lauryn Taylor of Division II Francis Marion — daughter of Rodney, the late Villanova Wildcat — grabbed an NCAA-record 44 rebounds in win over North Greenville. Forty-four!

You know who is very quietly playing their best basketball of the year at the most opportune time? The Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

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And speaking of sneaky-good hoops: Do you know the Fairfield women’s basketball team is 21-1 and this week sits at No. 27 in the AP poll? Keep an eye on star freshman Meghan Andersen.

Seriously? Blake Snell is still out there and that doesn’t interest either the Yankees or the Mets? Really?

Sam Tee: How is it with spring training starting, Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are still unsigned?

Vac: More to the point, how is it that with both teams at least an arm or two short, the Yankees and Mets haven’t made a play in them yet?

Blake Snell is still a free agent. Getty Images

Jay Cummings: What do I bet in the Over/Under All-Star Game when it’s 364.5? That darn .5 always throws me off. Good for the kids to watch defensive skills.

Vac: I look at defense in all sports this way: Everybody wants more defense in games until they see what defense looks like. Maybe that’s because I spent the past 40 years of my basketball career guarding no one.

@MJBJAX0723: St. John’s is like Elvis Patterson: Toast.

@MikeVacc: Patterson hasn’t been a Giant since 1987 and has been retired since ’93, and this reference STILL makes me laugh.

Roland Chapdelaine: The Mets’ underwhelming offseason brings to mind a marvelous quote from the legendary Dick Young in the spring of 1979: “Now that the Mets have acquired Frank Taveras, I’ve torn up my pre-season prediction that they would finish sixth. They’ll now finish fifth.”

Vac: The Mets could use Taveras. I bet he could still steal you a base at age 74.