Category Archives: Sports

On Sports

As  a Jets fan, I’m in a dark place with lots of questions and very few answers.  For the first time ever, I will not watch the Super Bowl.  But I love football.  So, how did I get to this point?

There are many factors.  For one, it’s the gluttony of “what Jets fans should do on Sunday” articles that keep popping up.  Right now, the media has a sick interest in the plight of the Jets fanbase, sort of like rubber-necking a bad car accident, caused in large part by the team’s brash brand image, penchant for big talk and ensuing collapse. All things considered, I keep coming back to one big question.

What does it really mean to be a fan?

I’ve been an athlete for a long time.  10 years of organized football, 4 years of collegiate rugby and countless pickup games.  In each case, I was a fan of the team I played for.  I wanted to win, because it proved that we, the team, were better than the other team.  I was mad when we lost.

But what if I’m not involved in the game?  How does fanhood extend from a professional sports team to an average joe like me who is not participating?  Should I be happy when “my” team wins?  Rather, should I really be MAD when they lose?  Does being a FAN of a winning team make someone better than the FANS of the other team?

And what makes them “my” team to begin with?

Typically, it’s based on geography.  If you’re from, let’s say, Pittsburgh, you root for the Steelers.  But most of the players aren’t from Pittsburgh.  In fact, maybe none of them are from Pittsburgh.  They are playing in the game, so sure, they’re  rooting for their themselves, just like you or I would.  But are they rooting for Pittsburgh?  Do they even give a shit what city they’re in?

Is it possible that perhaps fans place more importance on a game as it relates to their city than the players do?  Does sports success have any implication on how “great” a city is?  Or are we better suited making that judgement based on actual attributes, like free parking?

After a certain period of time, fandom is no longer about where you’re located.  Instead, it’s based on the fact that you’ve “followed the team for a while.”  If after 20 years you move from Pittsburgh to Phoenix , you still root for the Steelers.  You have  a passing interest in the Arizona Cardinals, but they don’t have the esteemed winning tradition that your city of Pittsburgh has, so your fanaticism is minimal at best.  “Phoenix doesn’t even have a Primanti Bros.,” you think to yourself as you enter the double doors of an old, creaky saloon.   “Do they even have cardinals in the desert?  At least we [used to] have men who work[ed] the steel mills.”  You view Cardinals fans as awkward, out of touch and a little sad.  Even if they’re from Phoenix.

But who are you to judge in this capacity?  Is it because you’re a Pittsburgh fan? Because the Steelers have a “winning tradition?”  You’ve somehow earned the right to gloat based on the success of your “blue-collar” franchise, made up of millionaires from Florida, Texas and California, who would be totally fine with playing in Pittsburg, KS, if the salary was the same?  Remember, you don’t play for Pittsburgh… you were just born there.  And regardless of how hard you’ve rooted over the years, or what superstitious traditions you’ve kept up, the odds are that aside from the occasional false start due to loudness, your fandom has had zero impact on the outcome of the games.

Fan allegiance is not always about geography though.  Let’s not forget about the folks who determined their rooting interests based on who was good when they were kids.  (Heathens!)  I’m talking about the 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots fans scattered across the country because those teams had extended success in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, respectively.  Think about it – ever met a Seahawks fan in New York?  What about a Jaguars fan in San Francisco?  The success of a franchise can give birth to legions of fans, with no relation to geography.  Outside of football, the same can be said for the Yankees, Lakers, Bulls and Celtics.

On the other side of the coin, there are teams that suffer from an awful brand image due to years of ineptitude, poor image, bad management or some combination of the three.    These teams don’t have legions of fans across the country.  Instead, they’ve fostered disrespect and sometimes pity from America’s fans.  I’m looking at you, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles.  Basketball fan? How about the NBA’s LA Clippers or Minnesota Timberwolves.  Why on earth would anyone root for these teams?  Are they mental?  Do they like pain?  Is heartbreak an aphrodisiac?  Why didn’t they just pick the Lakers or Patriots when they had the chance?

The one shimmer of hope is that things can change overnight.  Look no further than the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

Some might argue that it doesn’t really matter HOW you picked your team, as long as you’re a “true fan.”  What the hell does that mean?  And more importantly, is it really worth it?

Is it being an insufferable die-hard?  You’re frequently spotted at your local sports bar wearing your lucky jersey with a pitcher of light beer close by.  You missed a game during the birth of your 1st son, but not the 2nd or 3rd.  Your season tickets cost more than your mortgage.  Is that really healthy behavior?  Your fanaticism plays into your personal brand, but does it really reflect who you are as a person?  Does anyone really give a shit who you root for?

Is it knowing everyone on the roster, past and present?  Say you can rattle off every Saints QB since 2000.  Say you OWN a Billy Joe Hobert jersey.  Were you entitled to more joy when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV than any of the casual fans?  You might think so, but my guess is that everyone in New Orleans had an awesome time that night.  Sure, you may have broken down in tears, telling everyone about how you sat through 3-13 seasons with a bag over your head, but it doesn’t really matter.  People are still going to enjoy it just as much as you.

My gut says we’re better suited viewing teams as brands, because that’s what they are.  Do you think the Giants or Patriots really give a shit about the people of New York or Boston?  Not in the slightest.  Neither do the Jets, Yankees or Red Sox.

That’s what I tell myself anyway, and I still can’t bear to watch this game.

It’s pro sports and it ain’t got no soul.

Beef Supreme is Editor-in-Chief of the Idiocratic Post.

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Idiot of the Day: Rashard Mendenhall

Here’s the deal.  This is America, and you are entitled to free speech.  We all know the First Amendment; a point so important that our founding fathers made it numero uno on their big list of shit they thought a new country should care about.  So say whatever you want.

But what often goes unmentioned when discussing one’s right to free speech is that you’re 100% on the hook for whatever reaction your words elicit.  It’s called common sense.  It’s the reason you can’t scream “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, or “BOMB!” on an airplane.  And it’s that same reason why Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall is the Idiot of the Day.

Mother, should I trust the government?

Mendenhall, who apparently thumps both his bible and Weekly World News, had this to say about Americans celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death:

“We’ll never know what really happened.  I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.”

“For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn … I ask how would God feel about your heart?”

“What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

Rashard, let me do some homework for you.  Here’s what OBL had to say about Americans, before he met his ultimate demise at the wrong end of a U.S. Navy SEAL’s barrel:

“Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God . . . . I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America.”

“Every American man is an enemy to us.”

” . . . It is far better for anyone to kill a single American soldier than to squander his efforts on other activities.”

Indeed, we HAVE heard bin Laden speak.  And we’re damn proud that he’ll never utter another word again.

Also interesting to note how both OBL and Mendy throw “God” around when trying to justify themselves.  OBL hoped to be rewarded for hostility toward Americans by the same God that Mendy cites in judgement.  Divine authority, folks.  It’s easy fodder for any argument.

This isn’t the first time Mendy has gone on record with some stupid shit. For context, he was one of the idiots that agreed with Adrian Peterson when he compared the NFL to slavery:

“@AdrianPeterson is correct in his anology of this game. It is a lot deeper than most people understand.”

“Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel eachother”

What are you fucking insane, bro?  Do you realize what you said?  Comparing the NFL to slavery is like comparing Disneyland to Vietnam.  It’s fucking ludicrous.  How can anyone take this guy seriously?

Besides, I don’t think a slave could ever make it rain.

The idiocracy of celebrities using Twitter is beyond the scope of this post, but let me put it as simply as possible: in 2011, if you’re a public personality, you’re blessed (or cursed) with a captive audience 24/7.  You can cite the 1st Amendment, but not realizing that you’ll be held accountable for whatever you say is the real ignorant action here.

Though Mendenhall’s comments offend millions of Americans who were affected by 9/11, not to mention the thousands who lost family and friends that day, he does have the legal right to say whatever he wants.  But keep in mind he’s earned every single bit of scrutiny bestowed upon him by his former fans and the general public.  If you  hide behind your bible and shoot from the hip, you’ll be viewed a coward regardless of what evocative phrases you manage to string together.

I can exercise free speech too.  On behalf of NYC:  go fuck yourself, Rashard Mendenhall.  You’re the Idiot of the Day.

Beef Supreme is Editor-in-Chief of the Idiocratic Post.

Dude… is that a Robot?

As our “future” rapidly creeps into our “today,” we’re posed with head scratchers like this:

PhillieBot, the one-armed, three-wheeled robot, designed by Gozer worshipers engineers at the University of Pennsylvania, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.

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The spectacle is part of Science Day festivities at Citizens Bank Park, said Evan Lerner, a spokesman for Penn’s engineering school.

First of all, I’m almost positive that this is not to commemorate “Science Day.”  No.  It’s to bug out the stoners on 4/20.  That much is obvious.

So what can this thing do?

After the press of a button, the robot’s mechanical arm reared back and then moved toward home plate; at the top of its delivery, it flicked its mechanical “wrist” and shot the ball forward.

The ball appeared to be traveling no more than 30 or 40 miles an hour, the Inquirer reported. But that was by design, since the Phillies didn’t want the pitch approaching Major League speeds.

So… you’re saying these Doc Brown wannabes “could” have amped this baby up, Tim Allen style, but chose not too.  I guess that’s believable, considering they built this baby in their spare time.  That’s right – time otherwise spent socializing, partying and getting laid.

In related news, the Tampa Bay Rays kicked off Fan Appreciation Day with one of those baking soda volcanoes from 7th grade.

‘Tis the Season

Forget about groundhogs, the vernal equinox or Sophie B. Hawkins.  We’re less than 4 full days away from the official start of spring:  MLB opening day.

And as baseball kicks into high gear, us New Yorkers prepare to be annoyed by incessant, rambling Boston Red Sox fans who bitch and moan that the Yankees are trying to buy a championship with their astronomical payroll.

Even the little ones are a nightmare.

This year is a little different, however.  We all know about the Red Sox’ spending spree this offseason, in spite of it’s “scrappy” fan base.  Do we complain?  No.  In the uber-competitive AL East, it’s a fact of life.

But today, my interest was piqued by an article on the Worldwide Leader about Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter criticizing the Red Sox of the same crime most pin on the Yankees (god forbid): overspending.

I applaud Buck for stirring the sauce, but regardless of what he says in March, the Orioles will be irrelevant come June.

With the Yankees and Red Sox payrolls well into 9 digits, is there really an argument that one is worse than the other?  They both spend more in one year than you or I will ever make.

My real gripe is with ESPN’s headline:

“Terry Francona annoyed by comments”


THAT is the headline?  That Terry is annoyed?  Am I reading the fucking Onion, or ESPN?  What’s next?  Francona has Special K for breakfast; upset clubhouse manager bought skim milk?  Francona drops hot dog at barbecue, family irate?  Terry and Dustin’s hot night out?

Let’s look at how articles about payroll are typically word-smithed when the Yankees are involved:

Anyone else see the disconnect?

When asked for comment, Joe Girardi said “beep bop boop bop beep” and  rolled away.

Beef Supreme is Editor-in-Chief of the Idiocratic Post.

Stevie Wonder…

This is the first-ever Idiocratic Post SPORTS EXTRA… where we take you so far inside the numbers, you can’t find your way out.

Who’s to blame for the Jets’ loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday?

Dare I say it was Stevie Johnson?

Forget about Sanchez, Rex or Brian Schottenheimer.  WHAT IF… Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson had caught that game-winning TD pass v. Pittsburgh on November 28?

Credit: Associated Press

If Johnson would have caught that 40-yard game winner in OT, the Steelers would’ve dropped to 8-4.  Add a loss to the Jets on December 19, and the Black and Yellow would have finished 11-5.  An 11-5 record and head-to-head loss v. the Jets would have earned them a #6 seed, slotting the Jets at #5 and the 12-4 Baltimore Ravens at #2 with a first-round bye.  Assuming Pittsburgh won a hypothetical Wild Card game and pulled out a win on the road at Baltimore, they would have visited the #5 seed Jets at the New Meadowlands in the AFC Championship Game.  And theoretically speaking, the Jets could have won that game.

So there.  Blame Stevie Johnson.

Expercheese

What is an expert?

Someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely has accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.

Pretty self-explanatory, right?

So here’s my question: How can one be considered an expert, if he or she is generally wrong?  Shouldn’t factual oversight,  propensity to advance one’s personal agenda and overwrought chest-puffing be detrimental to one’s status as an objective observer?

Not if you work for ESPN.  Instead, the “Worldwide Leader” prefers to jam hubris, catchy one-liners and general “holier-than-thou” interaction down our throats on a weekly basis.  Watching “NFL Countdown” is like watching a pack of turkeys bloat and posture for mating season.

This week’s egregious display of blowhardery was no different, as it seems the folks at ESPN save their most ridiculous antics for the post-season.  Take a peek at the “NFL Expert Picks” for this past weekend, and the NFL Countdown picks.

Coming out of wild-card weekend, only two of those “NFL Experts” were over .500 in the playoffs.  In the divisional round, one of those clowns even went 0-4.  Not to mention that every single one of them picked the Patriots over the Jets.  Need I remind you of what the final score was?

ESPN has done a great job of making the lead-up and post-game analysis more important than the game itself.  Special thanks to the NFL, who decided to let the Jets and Pats play even though ESPN had already picked a winner.

Beef Supreme is Editor-in-Chief of the Idiocratic Post.

Get Some Dome

The Onion is one of the best satirical outlets of all time.  Their infallible content consistently delivers a three-punch combo to all things idiocratic, ranging from news and politics to sports and entertainment.  Last night on Comedy Central, The Onion debuted its delightfully accurate Sportscenter spoof, SportsDome.

Silly at times, no topic is too taboo for SportsDome, which ran with segments about “maniacal, brain-damaged NFL retirees” and  “who would you kill?”  And of course, my personal favorite: Meth Addict Rob Langer Takes On Hundreds Of Invisible Snakes.

As is often the case with satire, the true wit is in the details.  SportsDome’s cast nails the egocentric banter that is so common between ESPN’s sportscasters.  The deep voice overs on lead-ins and cut-aways are perfect, the graphics and stat sheets are hilarious and the long-winded over analysis is right on.

Much like Idiocracy, SportsDome is cheesy at times.  But if you dig satire and can appreciate the swipes they’re taking at ESPN, give it a watch.

-Grunge Harris

Grunge Harris covers TV for the Idiocratic Post.