Monday, May 12, 2008
The thing that makes sports great is the playoffs. It doesn't matter what sport it is, when the chance at a title is on the line, there is nothing more exciting. Many times, cities rally behind their team full throttle because they realize that this opportunity might not come again. They embrace it. Because like Jake Taylor said in Major League, for some of them, it's their last shot and for the others, it could be their only shot. Take a look at the Rockies last year for example. They turned a franchise that was 4th billing in the city of Denver into the month of "Rocktober". Corny, yes, but still pretty cool. It was nice to see. But not all cities back their teams when it comes to postseason glory. Hell, we have one city who's favorite team is in the conference finals yet no one is going to the games. And that's just pathetic. There is no excuse for NOT jumping on the bandwagon. Especially when your team is finally living up to the expectations placed upon it.
This week's Middle Finger goes to the hypocritical assholes known as Detroit Red Wings fans (yep, a hockey post!).
Let's give you the backstory for this one from the way that I understand it (I know that Drew will be along in a little bit to clarify anyway). This past weekend, the Red Wings hosted the Stars in the Western Conference finals. For a team that has underachieved in the playoffs like the Wings have over the past 5+ years, you would think that the fine citizens of Wayne County would be jacked. Well, think again. Neither game this past weekend sold out. So much for HockeyTown USA, right?
So what does this mean? Is one of the last bastions of American hockey mania dying? I'm not sure and I am in no way qualified to answer that (eventhough my penchant for watching Blue Jackets games and constantly muttering "these guys suck" would beg to differ). The only conclusion that I can deduce from this is that Red Wings fans are now morphing into Atlanta Braves fans and they don't even realize it. The Braves are so used to playing in October that the novelty of the event has worn off and people stay home as opposed to packing the stadium. In 2003, in the divisional series against the Cubs, annoying Chicagoans absolutely took over Turner Field. So is the same thing happening in MoTown? It's tough to say really, but I'd bet that Ted Turner chucking a few octopi out on the ice would get some asses back in the seats.
The funny thing about this is the excuse that Red Wings management is making. According to the Wings brass, who is responsible for the dwindling home attendance??? THE ECONOMY!!! That is such a bullshit cop-out excuse. And you want to know why, because the Tigers sold out for their weekend series with the Yankees going on at the same time and damn near reached capacity in the mid-week tilt against the Red Sox. Now I know what you're thinking, "well, it's the Sox and Yanks coming to town, of course we want to see them play". And that's all fine and good until you realize that not far away, the team that is the most beloved in the city is playing in the conference fucking finals. The region's economic struggles aren't an issue for the baseball team. Yet hockey, who you would think have more affluent fans anyway, can't pack a smaller venue. That doesn't make sense. It screams loss of interest, not lack of funds.
It really boggles the mind that Detroitians(?) aren't showing up for this team. We all know that for almost every area in the country, hockey is horrible. But that isn't the case in Detroit. So what does this say about Wings fans then? Well, for a group of fans that think that they are some of the best fans in the world, it shows how hypocritical that they truly are. Do you think you'd be able to walk up and get tickets for a playoff game at Fenway? A Lakers game? Any Canadian arena for hockey? Of course not, because they have true fans.
So enjoy your Middle Finger this week, Red Wings fans. As your punishment, you have to sit next to Ted Turner for an entire season of Atlanta Braves baseball and drink out of Justin Verlander's spitoon. Please, I beg you, start selling out The Joe. I don't want to hear Don Cherry call you out on Sportscenter again, you Detroit Rednecks. Unless you really want to be labeled as the NHL's version of the Braves?