bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Why is it that the owners of professional sports teams and the heads of sports leagues have the extraordinary power to make whole cities do their bidding?

The answer: Remember that the word "fan" in sports is derived from the longer word "fanatic". Fans of any sport are, as a general rule, so invested emotionally in their hometown teams that every move of a franchise from one city to another is in a very real sense a theft from the losing city and an ill-gotten gain for the winning city. And that kind of emotional investment, so critical for a team's success, becomes in the final analysis an addiction, a "basketball jones" as immortalized by Cheech and Chong in their song by that title performed by the character of Tyrone Shoelaces.

It is in my opinion nothing short of blackmail what David Stern and Clay Bennett have done to the city of Seattle with the latter's theft by deception of the SuperSonics franchise (at least they are not going to keep the name, but unless a new NBA franchise is built in Seattle that is a worthless gesture) and the former's demands for tax expenditures (read for yourself) as a condition of ever hosting professional basketball here again.

And since the NBA has no intention of ever actually creating a new team, they would have to perform the same kind of theft from another city to restore the NBA to Seattle. It's a zero-sum game in which there are a finite number of winners and a potentially infinite number of losers. And as [livejournal.com profile] gmjambear has pointed out in another comment elsewhere, the NBA is infamous for teams moved hither and yon, so much more so than the other sports (in reputation and sheer brazenness if not in absolute numbers).

So why do cities put up with this out-and-out extortion? I understand that Major League Baseball is unique among the professional sports leagues in this country in that it was specifically exempted by Congress from the Sherman Antitrust Act. Why can't state and municipal governments harmed by the blackmailers bring suit in Federal court alleging monopolistic behavior in violation of that law?

I can think of two reasons: 1) cities will do anything for their fix of professional sports, and legal action against the league is the surest way to kiss off any chance at the coveted franchise; and 2) this sorry excuse for an administration has become adept at convincing the courts that the Sherman Antitrust Act is null and void. Maybe an Obama administration will be able to convince the leagues that this sort of behavior is ultimately not in the league's best interests.

But even barring an intervention from the Feds, state and local governments need to simply not put up with this crap. Barring a disaster that makes the facilities unsafe (as happened in New Orleans), there is really no excuse for a professional sports franchise to pull up stakes and move. The fans will never forgive them, even if perchance their city does.

Oh, by the way, I'm not even a basketball fan, at any level. I'm just incensed that the NBA and Clay Bennett were allowed to take 41 years of tradition and toss it so casually in the trash. And Sonics fans will remember that. When I think about the respect these folks gave Seattle and that which they deserve, the phrase "...and the horse you rode in on" comes to mind.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I'm sitting here with [livejournal.com profile] gmjambear watching the Grey Cup, the Super Bowl of Canadian-rules football, on CBC television out of Vancouver.

As I've said before, if they laundered it a bit more often it wouldn't be grey, right? No, it's not that kind of cup. If it were, the winning team would be fighting over who gets to wear it first. ;-)

Ironic that they had Lenny Kravitz performing "American Woman" at halftime. Somehow that song makes more sense as written and originally performed by Canadians, but he's at least a good sport about it.

The "Prairie Cup" moniker comes from the fact that for the first time, both teams hail from the Canadian Prairies: the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. But as prearranged long ago the game is being played in Toronto.

It's been an interesting game to watch, with lots of changes in lead, quite a few turnovers. Saskatchewan has been racking up the points late in the game -- not entirely unanswered, though. But the pivotal play of many pivotal plays was an interception by Saskatchewan with a minute and change left.

Final score: Saskatchewan 23, Winnipeg 19.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] gmjambear and I decided we needed to get out of the apartment yesterday, so we went to Key Arena for the first time to see the Seattle Thunderbirds face off against the Portland Winter Hawks. Bears in the stands, the shortcomings of Key Arena, and a trip to Queen Anne... )

We'd just had bratwurst for dinner, so as we got back to Renton we stopped in for a snack at Shari's, a nice little all-night diner out on the Maple Valley Road by the 405. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
bigmacbear: Me squatting naked in the Miller River (naked)
Where: Desk at Home
Wearing: Nothing
H Factor: 6
C Factor: 8

Last night [livejournal.com profile] gmjambear and I shuffled off to Buffalo to see the Sabres vs. the Ottawa Senators. We parked out at the U.B. South Campus in Amherst and took the train from there to the HSBC Arena. I like the train, and wish Rochester had a light-rail system again (they had one in the 1940's and '50's but removed it to build Interstate 490).

At the game itself we got a warm welcome from Sabretooth (the mascot) who tried to give us both a hug at once. ;-) The game was a very defensive one -- the first point wasn't scored, by the Sabres, until the middle of the second period -- but suddenly turned in the third as the Sabres scored a second goal, and then the Senators scored two within minutes of one another.

Just after that, the folks who run the scoreboard played a video clip of the lead character in Network (Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch) exhorting his audience, "I want you all to get up, get out of your chairs. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell" -- and then they cut the video and put up a stock "Let's Go Buffalo!" animation. I think it would have been more appropriate at that point to let the clip run a little longer and get the fans yelling right along with Howard, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!"

But it worked out in the end, as Buffalo scored once more in the closing minutes to win the game 3-2.

We're off to the Empire Bears' 8th Anniversary event at the Tay House. Catch you all later.

August 2017

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