Call it a hangover from the NCAA National Championship (as well as the weekend no doubt), but I’m feeling underwhelmed with the sporting world at the moment.
I was sure that this year would mark the return of the fan. Professional sports leagues, teams and the sports media have largely ignored the power of their fan bases for a while now, but with everybody losing money, I was sure that they would remember that it’s the fans that pay their checks. Yet with a barrage of spring sports giving us all the business, shouldn’t we be skipping classes to watch three games at once while getting hammered enough to fight hand dryers like Jeff Reed on couch arrest?
I’m not, and I blame it on one man in the NCAA.
No, I’m not talking about Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough, for no more needs to be spoken about that guy. The NBA will straighten him out — or just kill him — in no time. The real criminal of Monday is the NCAA jackass who scheduled the tournament final on baseball’s Opening Day. Hell, a committee made of Plaxico Burress, Zach Randolph and Michael Vick’s bankruptcy filings could have done a better job of decision making.
Meanwhile, hidden behind the Disaster in Detroit that was the Final Four (even the mayor of Indianapolis got robbed outside the Ford Center), MLB’s Opening Day was absolutely bitchin’. First off, the Angels beat the A’s. Taste it, Oakland. Mike Scioscia and Arte Moreno are going to spend all season with babes rubbing money on their balls while you guys get mauled in more ways than one on Bring Your Dog night.
Personal amusement aside, millions are pumped that the Yankees got shit on by Baltimore, no more than the Orioles fans that came out in force like they haven’t in years. Sure, it was mostly just to hurl obscenities and trash at Mark Teixeira, but it was impressive to see the return of a solid fan base. Plus, with the economy in the tank and booze prices on the way up, it was positively refreshing for the cheap beer-swilling baseball obsessed everywhere to see proof that the cash-flaunting New York front office still can’t simply buy wins despite amassing a supposedly All-Star team. It’s a beautiful lesson for tee-ball teams across the nation!
Meanwhile, the Philly faithful spent their 2008 championship pennant-raising ceremony the only way they know how: by getting drunk and beating the hell out of each other. No longer content to contain their shenanigans to brawling on Dollar Dog Night and throwing batteries at opposing players, the drunks at Citizens Bank Park are already taking up the good fight against the oppressive forces of sobriety and the legal system that have held down their particular brand of fanaticism. That’s what I’m talking about, brothers and sisters.
We’re in the middle of the greatest crossroads in the yearly sports calendar, and as fans, it’s beginning to feel like we’ve all hit the lottery. March Madness has just ended, the MLB season just started, the NBA and NHL are headed into playoffs, the Champions League is heating up and Formula One has already completed a few drama-filled races. I can’t even complain about a lack of pigskin, with the Indoor Football League just beginning their inaugural season, an XFL championship ring on sale somewhere on the Internet and a plethora of batshit-crazy NFL players getting arrested during the offseason. Shit, maybe if we pray enough, A-Rod will soon get busted with an uncomfortable amount of amyl nitrate.
At the same time, we’ll only stay in the Promised Land if we keep supporting what we like and hurling garbage at what we don’t. For every Teixeira, Jay Cutler or Sean Avery that gets ostracized by a team’s fan base, another general manager somewhere will refuse to pay premiums for douchebag players (discounting the Raiders organization, we love to wallow in that shit). Also, for every sold-out game at Camden Yards filled with team color-wearing fans, another small market team like the Rays will make the World Series. It’s all part of being a good fan, and it’s finally time for us all to shine. Of course, I just bought six tickets to a Clippers-Kings game, so I’m doing more than my fair share.