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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A few words on following a losing team......


This post was brought about by a recent letter to the Pirates from a fan that was not renewing season tickets for the 2009 season due to some discontent with the team's player moves or lack of them since last season's classic break.
I really don't want to comment on that,really. Seriously,when you make make the amount of money that I make and look at the friends of mine that are out of work or working low paying jobs,this gentleman will get along fine seeing "a few games this year" and I have a hard time sympathizing with his plight.
After all,if I get to PNC Park,once a year-it is a good year.

I would like to concentrate on the woes of following a habitual loser.
When you look at the teams that we follow here,most fit into the losing category.
The Pirates are 200 games under .500 since 2000 (619-837),the Indians are above .500 over that time,but constantly have to retool their roster and lost for over 25 years before boosting themselves out of doormat status in the mid-nineties.
The Browns have been a sad sack since the Marty Schottenheimer years and are 52-92 since 2000.
I am not including the Seahawks since it has been only a few years since I started following them.
The Cavaliers are dominant now since the addition of LeBron James,but they were awful for many of the years that I was a big fan and now I consider myself just a casual follower of the team.
I can tell you how they are doing in the standings and the players on the team,but not the kind of in-depth analysis that I can on the Devils.
Why?Because I don't watch that many games.
The Devils and Ohio State are elite teams,perhaps not of championship caliber every season,but usually at least a upper level team.

So,what are the problems following a losing team?
Well,mainly you get to watch others enjoy games that you don't,you get to suffer and agonize through moronic personnel moves and you get the pain of well,losing all the time.
But there are a few neat things as well.
The fans of perennial losers tend to be the most passionate and knowledgeable fans and you can meet quite a few smart fans that know the game.
For example,I have met many Pirate fans that are some of the best baseball people that I know,but have met many Steeler fans that are among the dumbest.
I use Pittsburgh as the example because the baseball team is awful and the football squad is one of the elite teams every season.
You will find that many fans of teams that are contenders every year to be casual fans that simply want to be aboard with a winner.Yankee,Steeler,Cowboy,Chicago Bull (in the Jordan years).
These people don't want to have to learn anything or suffer through losing,it is so much simpler to root for a winner every year.
I am not saying that every Yankee fan is a front runner,just that it is easy to be a fan of a team that every season has a chance to make the post season and therefore being a fan of one of those teams is easy.
When your team is top notch,one also does not have to learn much about the game.
Just be able to say-Name team,league champions!
Or my personal favorite of dealing with the dumb-We beat your team,even when said know nothing doesn't even know who my team is.

Another fun thing with rooting for a loser is that unless you live in that city,it allows you to stand out as an individual.
Being a Pirate fan is not as original here as most places due to the Western PA folks that have moved down here through the years,but it still is somewhat different.
The only bad part of being a Pirate fan is people assuming that I am then a Steeler fan.
One guy came up to me last year at the Muni and asked me what the Steelers did in their pre-season game.
When I didn't know,he said "I figured you would with the Pirate hat and all".

The teams that I root for that have a chance to be a champion every year weren't selected by me because they were that.
I became a Buckeye fan because I used to live there and they were an easy team to follow.
I started rooting for the Devils in the late 1980's because they signed a whole bunch of players that I liked and had a group of young players that were fun to follow.
The Devils also run their organization in a professional,team oriented manner in which the team comes first in both marketing and on ice play.
In a time that celebrates the me attitude,it is fun to be involved with a team that puts an emphasis on the we and that is the largest reason that I have such a passion for the New Jersey Devils.

Following a loser also means finding hope in things that result in making you more knowledgeable.
Bad team fans tend to know much more about minor league systems and upcoming prospects for drafts than the fan of the winner.
Many fans of good teams don't bother because they don't need to hope for future glory-they have it now!

All and all,following a loser can be frustrating,annoying and painful,but if and when things turn around-there is no satisfaction like being the long time fan that finally strikes gold....

Bullpen Notes

The passing of Ricardo Montalban yesterday at the age of 88 was quite saddening.
Montelban was most known to members of my generation as both "Mr.Rourke" on the late 70's-early 80's Fantasy Island and his appearances in both Star Trek the series and Star Trek II as "Khan".
I was surprised to hear Montalban was 88 though,I figured around 80 was his age.
That would have made Montalban in his early 60's when he did Wrath of Khan and he looks to be in remarkable shape for the film.

Montalban is also noted for lending his voice to a cow in Family Guy,his co-starring role in the first of the Naked Gun films and for his commercials for Chryslers in his Fantasy Island days.


I am a member of the last generation that really grew up with 5 channels of television and Montalban's passing makes one reflect upon those times.
In the 70's as big as film stars as Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds were,people like Montalban were bigger stars to me.
Why?Television stars were in your home every week (or in syndication everyday) and therefore made a larger connection.
As a kid in the 70's,Farrah Fawcett and Clint Eastwood were mega stars,but Barbara Eden and William Shatner were far bigger stars in my backwoods world.
Now,TV is better and more varied with more and better options,but I can say this with near certainty-no other future generation will ever look at TV in the same way as mine did....

Credit to the Mountain West and Missouri Valley conferences for hooking up for a challenge series in Basketball next season.
The two arguably are among the top of the Mid-Major conferences and this series should not only be fun to watch,but should help the RPI of each in the future.

Ohio State lost both wide receiver Brian Hartline and corner Donald Washington.
Hartline is projected as a seventh round pick or as an undrafted player and that makes this a questionable move on his part.
Washington was a starter yet I don't think he will be a huge loss.

Brendan Shanahan signed his contract with the Devils today and is expected to be with the team for tomorrow nights game in Columbus.
No word on who,if any,will be replaced by Shanahan on the roster.
The Devils also announced that Petr Vrana broke his leg for the Lowell Devils and will be undergoing surgery soon.

1 comment:

Mike said...

I don't know if I'll remember him for the "Rich Coritian Leather"or "I was understanding I could live here Peter" but he will be missed.. not alot,but he'll be missed