Sunday, October 7, 2007

Expansion teams help make pro sports bite

Either the Arizona Diamonbacks (founded 1998) or the Colorado Rockies (founded 1993) will be representing the National League in this year's World Series. That's just sick. They displaced the Chicago Cubs (founded 1870) and the Philadelphia Phillies (founded 1883). Arizona's already won a World Series three years into it, whereas the Cubs and Phillies have matched that mark over the past 180 combined seasons.

You might notice that both teams are named after states, as there really aren't major cities as we've come to understand the term in either. Please don't give me Denver and Phoenix. When you order a Denver-style sandwich or hear someone speak with a native Phoenix accent, you get back to me. Don't you love that Denver soul sound? Who doesn't love TV shows set on the mean streets of Phoenix? (Even Mork & Mindy was set in Boulder, seeing as Denver is profoundly uninteresting.) How 'bout the other way round, Phoenix soul or Denver accents? Colorado food? What, no reference points? Until then, neither's a real city. Both regions are temporarily bloated with retirees dodging minorities, taxes and/or weather. Neither deserves to win crap.

It's difficult enough for a pro team to reward its fan base with success, all else being equal and approaching things from a coldly statistical random distribution, with 20 or 25 teams in a league. With 30-35 teams in a league even random distribution can't reward a team's supporters once per generation. How is that possibly good for even the bottom line for these leagues in the long run? Isn't the whole point of fandom that there's some sort of pay-off within your lifetime? The sheer number of teams has dropped the overall talent pool (there simply aren't enough decent big league pitchers, quarterbacks, goalies and point guards to go around). The sheer number of teams has required expansion of playoffs to add weeks of junk games which load the odds in the favor of teams with inferior records and suck more advertising dollars out of what amount, statistically, to diminished hopes for success.

The sheer number of teams that greedy league expansions in all four major team sports have sought merely serve to cheat fans in established cities with actual cultures and real, multi-generational loyalties. They transfer reward to transient populations in vague agglomerations of population with no hope of building a stable audience. This myopic greed in our ever-expanding sports world is a perfect compliment to the cheating that Americans get in the workplace and with their tax dollar. There's no refuge even in entertainment.

Winning teams in population blobs don't even have a proper place for a parade; witness the New Jersey Devils hosting non-parades in a parking lot. It's just sick that Winnipeg, Hartford and Quebec City lost hockey franchises that "Carolina" (can we limit the population blob to one state at least?!), Atlanta and San Jose could pick them up.

It's not just the Phillies' series loss that drove this rant. The fact of the matter is that there are too many damn teams in pro sports. Who does it hurt? People who are loyal to Rust Belt communities who've remained true to their homes and traditions. And who does it reward? Transient Red State turds for picking up stakes and vamoosing in search of middle management, chain restaurants and a McMansion. As Mad magazine used to say, Blechhhhh!!!

4 comments:

Low and Inside said...

What about the "Texas" Rangers or the "California" Angels?

Seattle is a "real" city, as is Toronto, but I still see their teams "fake."

Real or fake, however, doesn't a team win by playing better baseball?

If I recall, the Phillies and the Cubs have over a century of bad baseball under their belts. How proud they must be.

Perhaps if we expand baseball enough, we can get some real guys playing instead of overpaid, overrated divas.

No one is a star if everyone is a star.

When your order your next Denver omelet, remember that a Philly boy has no place disparaging other cities.

Great cities are great because the people there make them great. One characteristic of greatness is not giving a shit what other cities think.

QuizMasterChris said...

First off, Low (may I call you "Low"?) it isn't the "California" Angels anymore, is it? It's the - wait for it - "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," at least until the courts straighten out whether or not a team that doesn't play in L.A. can hitch its little wagon to Anaheim. Oddly the name LAA of A is at once redundant and contradictory, which gives us all some idea of how lost in space these people are.

The Rangers are another bunch of frauds (as witnessed by their hiring of King Fraud George W. Bush), having been the SECOND incarnation of the Washington Senators to be moved out of DC. It's kinda sad when you're pulling a xeroxed franchise away from a city...

Let me get this straight, Low, you want MORE teams in baseball? Why? So we can have thousands of guys who wouldn't otherwise hack it in AA ball in the pros? Do you want a team to make the playoffs once every 50 years, or shall we expand the playoffs to four rounds and end the World Series around Christmas?

I'm not looking to DILUTE the talent pool here, I'm looking to INCREASE it.

The phrase "next Denver omelet" suggests that I've ever ordered one, when in point of fact Id never heard of such a thing. If in fact an omelet is your best proof of local culture I think I already won that debate. I'd describe Denver and the Phoenix-Tempe area as large suburbs in search of a soul if it weren't for the fact that I think people in that part of the world are pretty much indifferent to having any.

You also seem to think that I give a shit what people in the Boomburbs think about my city; I don't. You've actually flipped things on their head; I'll remind you that I made statements about other places and that you're the one who's responding defensively to me.

Rose Muffin College Alum said...

Hmm...just compared recipes and apparently your "Denver" omelet is awfully similar to what the rest of the country refers to as a "Western" omelet.

Low and inside said...

Call me "Low," dear. Just don't call me L&I. Shades of the booze Philly Booze Nazis.

I don't have an opinion either way about baseball. The whole buttload of them desanctified themselves with the FIRST strike. When the seocnd rolled around, I didn't care, because I had already written them off.

The entire sport is now a vague buzzing sound that some people make.

Let them make all the teams they want. Who cares anymore?

Conversely, if there were only two teams in the country, the Phillies and the Cubs, they would both lose.

No defensive at all, dear boy. My tone is fat and motherly, as is my physique.

I simply find it an interesting trait among Philadelphians to disparage and resent disparagement from other cities, at the same time.

Never seen it anywhere else. It's curious.