First of all, a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays and all that good stuff. I am very excited to be celebrating a very traditional and non-politically-correct Christmas. It's my favorite time of year.
Anyways as you may have noticed I haven't blogged much at all about the Vikings (you've probably also noticed I haven't blogged much at all about anything- thought I'd beat you to that joke, but feel free to make it none the less. It's a gooder!), and it hasn't been because of a lack of interest. I just haven't been able to see that many Vikings games living out here, so it's hard to comment on something I haven't seen. But after watching them on Monday night, as well as a Sunday nighter coming against the Redskins, well I'm breaking my silence soon. I'm working on a "getting to know Brad Childress/Tavaris Jackson is not, and never will be, an NFL quarterback" post, but I'm actually going to do crazy stuff like research for it. Yup I'm going to attempt to make a logical argument. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.
The NBA on the other hand? I have not blogged about the NBA specifically because of a lack of interest. I've been the biggest NBA fan I know as long as I've known about the NBA. It's always one of those things where I give reasons why I shouldn't be interested in it, and yet I always am. This year? Really couldn't care less. Part of it is living in Canada where we only get Raptors games- they're 3000 miles away but it's Canada's team without one single Canadian player on the team! Canada’s team everybody! Love Toronto! Love Canada! A-holes- and part of it is also that the team I grew up loving, the Seattle Suuuuuuuuuuuuper Sonics, have a once-in-a-generation talent (even if his lack of rebounding so far should be a major concern) and a GM who knows what the hell he's doing, and yet they're moving from a top 12 national market that has supported the team for 40+ years to Okla-f'ing-homa. Oklahoma. From Seattle to Oklahoma. Think about that. And what is the league doing about it? What is the great Don Stern doing about it? Nothing. Less than nothing actually, he's openly ENCOURAGING it!!! What business in their right mind moves from Seattle to Oklahoma and thinks they'll be better off in the long run? Anyone?
For years, sporting leagues have played the "if you don't build us a new stadium, we're moving" card. And it's worked really, really well. While I understand this is why Stern supports his owners, shouldn't common sense take over at some point? Shouldn't the ego get set aside to say that although in the short term a team would come out ahead moving to a city with a free arena instead of using $500+ million of their own money to build a new one in their current city, that in the long run it's a really bad idea? You'd think so, but it won't happen. The NHL is a perfect example of this: they haven't made one move as a league in their time under Gary Bettman, not one, with long term goals in mind. Not one! Every single thing they've done is to make a quick buck, and as a result, the league is a joke. Canadians love it because they have to, kind of like although college football is completely dysfunctional right now Americans still love it, because they almost HAVE to.
As logical as we can be as people, there's nothing logical or rational about being a sports fan. As fans we have been getting screwed more and more with every move every league makes, and yet we keep coming back for more. We love to love sports, and yet we couldn't be getting treated worse. Billionaire owners fighting with millionaire players over billions of dollars while both sides publicly cry about getting screwed while raising ticket prices, holding out, demanding trades, or moving franchises.
But you know what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We pay owners and players and make them all rich by buying tickets, watching games, and buying merchandise. Baseball, and this whole ridiculous steroid thing is a perfect example. How many blogs/websites/papers/TV shows/media outlets have you seen screaming about how steroids and HGH are ruining "the sanctity and purity" of the sport? All of them right? And yet baseball has never been richer. They've had the highest attendance, and TV deals in the history of the sport. They'll gladly let you bitch about anything you want as long as you keep paying for it. Because until you stop paying, and stop paying attention, sports will keep taking and taking and taking.
My favorite ESPN baseball writer, Keith Law, just laughs at anyone who gets upset about steroids and how it's ruining the game, and he's absolutely right: if people are so upset about it WHY ARE THEY STILL WATCHING THE GAMES?!?!? In 1994 baseball was at an all-time popularity high, and then they went on strike. When they came back, the fans didn't. And it scared the bejeezus out baseball. People were actually making a statement with their wallets, the ONLY thing owners pay attention to, that they were fed up and had enough. And so baseball turned a blind eye on roids, and McGwire and Sosa happened, and everybody came back. And everybody, despite everything that's happened, has stayed back.
If you don't like what's happening in baseball, if you're disgusted by what's happening in that sport or any other, then do something about: stop watching it, stop paying for it, stop caring. It's hard but it's the only way. Otherwise, shut up, stop bitching, and watch the games.
Me personally? I'm not willing to give up baseball, and so that's why I haven't been up in arms about the Mitchell Report and steroids and all the rest. Honestly, the Mitchell Report is a joke. It's all rumors and zero hard evidence. It's all opinions and people blaming other people. None of that would hold up if somebody dared to take it to court. But it's credible exactly because nobody has dared to take it to court. Want to know if a public person is innocent? They sue. I've used this example before, but I'll do it again: at the height of his career in St Louis, running back Marshall Faulk had a women falsely accuse him of having her baby, hoping to blackmail him to get money. I don't know Faulk and have no idea what he's like as a human being or behind closed-doors, but his public persona is one of a class act and good guy. The woman threatened to take her story public unless Faulk gave her money. You know what he did? Sued her. Took her to court. He decided that although this accusation was false, and he could easily by this woman off with hush money, that it could tarnish the image and reputation he had worked so hard to build, that it was worth it. Because if he let this woman blackmail him, what was to stop any other woman from doing the same? So he sued, she immediately backed off, and the story died. She had zero hard evidence, Faulk knew it, believed the short-term credibility loss he'd suffer was worth the long-term peace-of-mind he'd get knowing he was innocent, and he won. It would be that easy for any of these baseball players to do the exact thing to prove they didn't take steroids: and yet curiously, they're not.
As much as I hate frivolous lawsuits, or just lawsuits in general (it's pretty much the epitome of the whiny, always-playing-the-victim, "woe is me" "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!" culture we live in), if your good name is being dragged unfairly or unjustly through the mud, the easiest way to clear it up is to sue. And as I said, you couldn't find a bigger pile of unsubstantiated dog crap than the Mitchell Report. But nobody's suing. In fact, players like Andy Pettite and Brian Roberts are already coming out saying the reports are true! To me, this just shows how guilty the rest of the guys in that report are. If you're being slandered, do something about it...unless of course the rumors are true. Jose Canseco's book seemed like a total joke...until nobody in it sued him. Now Canseco is actually a credible voice in all of this. The guys from the San Francisco Chronicle who published the testimony that Bonds used roids were willing to go to jail to stand by their story. Bonds? Just sent out denials. Why would he not sue them if they were lying? Why would Roger Clemens not sue the pants off his former trainer if the guy was lying? I believe Bonds, Clemens, and everybody in that report used roids or HGH. And I think there's a ton more guys that used too.
I realize what I'm dealing with here, and I'm willing to put up with it. I'm willing to accept that most baseball players are dirty cheaters. I accept it and move on because being a baseball fan is worth that to me. I cheer for a team with a payroll that will push $120 million this season, that just signed Carlos Silva to a $44 million contract (hang on I need to go throw up after typing that), and will be lucky to finish at .500 this year. And yet I press on.
The NBA? I've been surprised how little I've missed it. Oh sure, I'd love to support the Sonics if they were staying, love to cheer for Kevin Durant (and cheer for him to start grabbing some f**&ing rebounds!) the way I did for Payton, Kemp, Detlef, Perkins, McMillan etc. in the days of my youth. That group of Sonics in the early-mid 1990's was my favorite team I've cheered for. And yet I've decided I've as an NBA fan that I've had enough, and I'm walking away. I haven't missed it as much as I thought, and I don't think NBA fans in Seattle will either. So thanks to David Stern for pushing me away from something I loved, because I've realized life carries on just fine without it. Now if only more sports fans would realize the same, maybe sports in general would get better.
Gleeman and The Geek #337: Wild Card Postgame Show
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