Monthly Archives: October 2013

In Defense of the Bandwagoner

Let's not be so hostile to those trying to climb aboard.

Let’s not be so hostile to those trying to climb aboard. (Photo via Gridiron Goddess)

Any good sports fan can spot one, even if they were a mile away, wearing an eye mask, five sheets to the wind, and having just finished a game of dizzy bat (though none of that sounds like a good idea in any sort of way). Bandwagon fans stand out like a black eye. But why all of the hate?

In just the last 24 hours I’ve seen such harsh things written on the Twitters and Facebook about fair-weather fans—namely those in Boston (after the Red Sox clinched their 3rd World Series in the last decade) and the Philly (the upstart 76ers knocked off the Miami Heat last night). True, die-hard, loyal fans went above and beyond their “call of duty” to put down anyone who showed any amount of excitement about either team winning, and who they were absolutely positive was not a “real fan” of either team.

For anyone who partook in those shenanigans, I hope you’re reading, and listen closely: Stop it. Ripping on bandwagon fans makes you look like a jackass. Just let those “fake fans” enjoy whatever moment it is they want to revel in, and look the other way. They’re not hurting you. They’re not hurting your team. They should have little to no impact on your daily life as a fan, and how invested you are in your team. If anything, you should be proud and excited that other people—especially those born and raised in the same town as you—want to support and throw some passion behind the same thing you do (that sounded dirty, but I’m alright with it, and you catch my drift).

A few things to consider about bandwagon fans, that maybe could change how maliciously you act towards them.

1. Just because they don’t post social media updates after every inning, or bucket, or goal, or huge hit, doesn’t mean they’re not as big of a fan as you.

Lots and lots and lots of people use social media in lots and lots and lots of different ways. Some go way overboard with the things they post or how frequently the share things (I’m usually guilty of this), and others will make an update once in a blue moon. The Red Sox winning the World Series might’ve given people in the latter group cause to come out of the wood works and share in the moment of celebration. A huge win over the defending NBA champs might’ve given people in Philly a reason to get excited for a hot minute about the Sixers. I haven’t said much about the Flyers on Facebook, Twitter, or this blog during the first few weeks of the season—frankly because there hasn’t been much of anything nice to say—but that doesn’t make me a fair-weather Flyers fan. Every time I get a text from ESPN about a blown lead and eventually a loss, it still hurts. It hurts because I’m a fan. Bottom line: Don’t judge someone’s level of fandom by their social media engagement.

2. Yes, there absolutely are different levels of fandom, and as long as a bandwagoner isn’t a “bad fan” then I have no problem with them.

Every team in every city throughout the globe has a wide range of fans. You’ve got your die-hards who literally live and slowly die with their teams and show up to 90-100% of the games (home and away), and can recite the team’s entire roster down to the 7th bench player’s height, weight, wing span, where he went to school, what he majored in, and what his shooting percentage is in the 4th quarter with his team down by 1 with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. (These are mostly your beat reporters, retired old men, and the unemployed.) Then there’s your passionate fans who stay in tune with a team and follow them throughout the season, occasionally go to games and can hold a conversation. Casual fans (where most “bandwagoners” probably legitimately fall) know who the all stars are, they understand the game for the most part, and know how to have a good time if and when you take them to a game—but they don’t pretend to know everything about everyone like you, you die-hard Yankees-addict. Then we all know what a true bandwagoner is—the guy (or gal) who goes out and buys the championship t-shirt, their first piece of team apparel, and wears it for the next week. But hey, that’s more money to the organization, and as long as they aren’t showing up to games and causing a scene (like intentionally vomiting on people, or kicking girls in the face) who cares what they do? Embrace those folks, catch them up to speed, and convert them to die-hards.

We all had to become fans at some point. Sure they’re late to the party, but why are you going to try and shun them away and prevent them from having a good time? I’m a fan of that cliche, ‘The more the merrier.’ A packed Citizens Bank Park filled with 45,000 bandwagoners is a much better atmosphere than barely 10,000 unhappy, pissed off, grumpy ass die-hards. Invite those people into the “in” crowd and celebrate the fact that your team has a whole host of new fans.

3. Can bandwagoners be annoying? Sure. You know, deep down, that you were there through thick and thin, but crying about it only makes you seem like a douche.

Not much more I can say beyond that. Just know that whenever you complain about fair-weather fans, you’re just making yourself look like a fool. If you know in your heart that you are a real fan, that’s great for you. There’s no need to act all tough behind a keyboard (no, the irony is not lost on me here). You just sound all whiny and childish. “This was my team first! I love them more than you, and there’s no way you’ll ever be as big a fan as me! I have a different jersey I can put on for each day of the month. And they’re all authentic replicas that I spent my last seven paychecks on. How many jerseys do you have, (and t-shirt jerseys count for negative one)? Huh? HUH!?!? How many losses did you agonize through? How many dates with real girls did you pass up on so you could make it to each game of that big weekend series against the Mets? How many times have you sat in the 700 Level with the real fans? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Go back to being a fake fan, you fake fan, you.”

You with me?

I get that people are going to get passionate and want to act all macho about big of a fan they are, and they want to prove to themselves and others that they are, by far, the biggest fan in the world, but who are you really benefiting? Your ego? Maybe, but that’s all. People are going to be their own kind of fan at their own pace that they’re comfortable with, and everyone else should learn to respect that.

At the very least, learn to ignore those who you think are fair-weather in nature, and refrain from making yourself look ridiculous.

[Steps down from soapbox.]

Good Morning. Hope You Slept Well. And, No, You Weren’t Dreaming. The Sixers Beat the Miami Heat Last Night.

Google even says so.

Sixers Heat season openerI said it last night, but it’s worth saying again. I don’t care what the next 81 games have in store—that opening night win over the defending NBA champs, with guys like AI, Barkley, Erving, Malone, Doug Collins, and Bobby Jones in the stands, made the season worth it.

Being an admittedly bigger Cuse basketball fan than Sixers fan, I was excited to see what Michael Carter-Williams would bring to the table in Philly, and eventually adding Nerlens Noel to the roster, (and the possibility of drafting Wiggins or any of the other franchise changing players in next year’s draft) you had to believe that the future would be bright for Philly basketball. But they burst onto the scene last night in impressive fashion.

No one’s going to (or should) get in over their heads with excitement over one win on opening night, it’s a long-ass season, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t relish the moment. That was an incredible win,  and a quick glance into what the next few years could look like.

Highlights:

NFL Week 9 Picks

In a lightly-scheduled week, there’s always the possibility that things could’ve gotten ugly, quickly. They didn’t, though, and this kid went 10-3, making the overall record 76-44 (here’s the link for those of you keeping track of how I’m doing vs. ESPN’s experts). It’s another light week this week, and we’ll look to keep the train rolling.

Your byes: New York Giants, Denver, Detroit, Arizona, San Francisco, and Jacksonville

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins, Thursday, 8:25pm

It’s been a whole lot of junk on Thursday night this year, which has made picking them that much easier (7-1 to this point—thanks, Philly). This week sees the finally-surging Bengals, who look to rattle off their fifth win in a row and really take control of the AFC North, going up against a Dolphins team that is looking to avoid it’s fifth straight loss after a 3-0 start (remember when everyone wanted to pick them @ the Saints on MNF in week 4??? Seems like ages ago.) Since then, Miami’s offense hasn’t really been able to get anything going, and the defense isn’t doing much to help. The Bengals have been propelled forward on the arm of Andy Dalton who’s thrown 11 TDs to just 2 INTs over his last three games. Bengals win 31-21

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) @ Buffalo Bills, 1pm

Buffalo was able to hang around well into the second half of their game against the Saints last week, before eventually getting blown out. This week they get to host the league’s top-rated defense, at least in points per game (12.2). That’s a tall task for a Bills team that struggles to score in their own rite (18th with 22 per game) and is going with their not-completely-healthy backup QB. To think, Andy Reid might be 9-0 heading into his first bye week in Kansas City… Chiefs win 27-16

Minnesota Vikings (+10.5) @ Dallas Cowboys, 1pm

I can wholeheartedly relate to Vikings fans and how miserable it is to have an absolutely insane amount of instability at the quarterback position. It can really ruin a team, as we’re both seeing. The Vikings were able to squeeze into the postseason last year with a Week 17 win against the Packers, but that’s a far cry away after their 1-6 start this year—their only win coming on another continent. They get to head to Big D this week to take on a Cowboys team that seems just as unstable anymore after a collapse against the Lions with just seconds left of the clock. Meltdowns should be abound in this one, but the talent on the home team’s roster more than outmatches their visitors, plain and simple. Cowboys win 28-16

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ St. Louis Rams, 1pm

Both sides here are in desperate need of a win in this one. The Titans are coming off of a bye and a really rough stretch in their schedule, but have an opportunity to make up a ton of lost ground—three of their next four games are against opponents with a combined 6-17 record. Jake Locker should be much closer to 100 percent after the week off, and will look to attack a Rams defense that has the third worst QB rating against (104.5) and has given up the ninth most TD passes (14) and has the ninth fewest INTs (5). Plus, I can’t see myself picking Kellen Clemens any time soon. Titans win 24-12

New Orleans Saints (-5.5) @ New York Jets, 1pm

The fifth edition of the Ryan Bowl is bound to be an interesting one (they all are though, aren’t they?). Since they’ve been in the NFL  in the 90’s Rob is 0-4 against Rex. He has his best shot to end that losing streak this week as the Saints, who’ve been on a roll this year on defense, head to New York to take on a Jets team that managed just a week ago against the Bengals, and got torched on defense—just imagine what Drew Brees and Co. are going to be able to do. Part of me hopes it doesn’t have to come down to a last second defensive stand for Rob, because we all know how those one’s end up:

Rob-Ryan-Sad-face(GIF via DiehardSport.com)

Saints win 34-27

San Diego Chargers (EVEN) @ Washington Redskins, 1pm

At least the NFL gave the Chargers the week off between West to East trips this time, geesh. In weeks 2 and 3 they went from Philly to San Diego then back out to Nashville, and split those games. This time they headed from Jacksonville to SD and head back out to play in Washington, where they were 0-4 as a franchise until 2005. Philip Rivers has made quite the statement this year, leading the league’s 6th ranked passing attack, but despite the 4-3 record, the Bolts are finding that they have to keep pace with Denver and Kansas City in the AFC West. Rivers should shred the Washington secondary, but this could be a back-and-forth game like that week 2 matchup against Philly. I see the result being the same though for SD. Chargers win 33-30

Atlanta Falcons (+7.5) @ Carolina Panthers, 1pm

These NFC South rivals are on completely opposite trajectories. The Panthers have been on fire on offense, specifically the running game which is averaging 130 yards per game (8th best), putting up 30+ points in four of their last five (including three straight). The Falcons, meanwhile, have been completely decimated by injuries on offense, and have asked Matt Ryan to carry the load without his top two receivers and starting running back. Carolina has the running attack; Atlanta’s passing game is equally as good; this one should come down to what defense can step it up, and the way the season has gone, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the Panthers who put the clamp down at home. Panthers win 30-27

Philadelphia Eagles (EVEN) @ Oakland Raiders, 4:05pm

You know what’s ridiculous? The Oakland Raiders, the goddamn Oakland Raiders, are more stable at the quarterback position than the Philadelphia Eagles. W.T.Holy.F.? With how uninspired the Birds have looked over the last month and a half, and how far they have to travel for this one, and how flashy Terrelle Pryor looked against the Steelers, I have no reason to believe the Eagles will get back on their plane with a W. What happened to that high-octane offense that had me all giddy the first few weeks? Cummon Chip. Raiders win 17-13

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+16.5) @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:05pm

Mike Glennon. LOL. Seahawks win 24-3

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Cleveland Browns, 4:25pm

This is an extremely dangerous game for the Ravens, who look for their 12th straight win against the AFC North rival. The games here tend to be close (like any divisional game), decided by just a possession or two, and the Ravens have been teetering all year long. An upset here wouldn’t surprise me, especially considering Flacco loves to struggle against the Browns defense, but I like the extra week of rest and preparation for the Ravens on the other side of the ball. Two weeks of studying Brandon Weeden is so much more than enough time to figure him out. Ravens win 20-16

Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) @ New England Patriots, 4:25pm

Streaky, this Steelers team is. Lose four. Win two. Now they’re back on the losing shnide. Interesting note about Big Ben so far this year, and the stat which will likely determine the outcome of this one. In Pittsburgh’s two wins Ben was able to keep the INT column empty, but in each of their losses he’s thrown at least one. The Pats rank 6th with 10 INTs this season, and something tells me they’ll be able to get at least one out of Roethlisberger. Pats win 23-19

Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) @ Houston Texans, 8:25pm

Musta been nice for Indy to be able to soak in that win over their old QB for an extra week. They get a few extra hours this Sunday, before taking part in their second consecutive Sunday Night Football game, this one at Houston. Earlier in the year, you might have circled this one as a potential playoff preview, but that’s not likely the case anymore. Houston also comes into this one off their bye, but having dropped their last five games and seeing their once-stable QB spot get turn into something of a revolving door (thanks to injuries and poor performance). Case Keenum is expected to make his second career start after successfully snapping the Texas five-straight games with a pick-six streak. I’m not sure how exciting a shootout Luck-Keenum is going to be, though. Colts win 26-21

Chicago Bears (+11) @ Green Bay Packers, Monday, 8:30pm

Chicago had their best offensive output of the season against Washington two weeks ago, but it wasn’t enough, thanks to a last second Roy Helu Jr. TD. They’ll have had an extra week and a day to prepare for their showdown at Lambeau against a Packers team that hasn’t missed a beat on offense, despite missing more than half of their regular starting skill-position guys. Defense is going to be at a minimum in this one (odd for a game involving the Bears, but that’s just the way it’s been this season). Given Chicago’s struggles against the Pack of late (six straight losses, and no wins in Green Bay since 2007), I’ll stick with the cheeseheads. Packers win 48-41

5 Years Ago Today…

…was the greatest sports day in my life.

That is all.

So, What Are People in St. Louis Doing Tonight?

I can tell you what most of them aren’t doing. Watching, or attending for that matter, their Rams’ Monday Night Football game against NFC West-leading rival Seattle.

A team starting Kellen Clemmens + A team with Brady Quinn as Kellen Clemmens’ backup + A team that has completely failed to live up to any kind of expectations / The fact that St. Louis is also playing host to Game 5 of the World Series tonight = A half empty (or full, for you optimists) Edward Jones Dome.

If Skretta’s estimate is even close to accurate, that would mean the dome is actually barely one-third full.

Here’s an even better(?) view of just how empty it is in there.

To be honest, I’m not sure why it isn’t even less empty. There’s a World Series game taking place, for Christ’s sake. If you couldn’t get into Busch Stadium tonight, then you ought to be out socializing at one of the local watering holes with other fans in your boat, commiserating about how the Cards need to win this one in order to go back to Boston only having to win one of the next two rather than being in an impossible situation, needing to win both games back in Beantown.

Just sayin’.

Brandon Meriweather Just Doesn’t Get It

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather—who, mind you, has only played in 5 games so far in 2013—has already been fined over $100k this season, and was forced to sit Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos for a pair of illegal hits in the team’s game against the Chicago Bears. (That suspension was reduced from 2 games to just 1 after an expedited appeals process last week.)

Meriweather, who’s quite possibly one of the game’s dirtiest players, spoke with the media on Monday and voiced his displeasure at the fines and the reactions of the people he hit. Per Chris Russell of ESPN 980 in DC:

Hand-to-forehead.

Meriweather wasn’t done, though. He went on to criticize Brandon Marshall, the guy he launched himself at to get himself into this mess in the first second third fourth however-many-times-he’s-done-this place. Some context to this next quote: Marshall said guys like Meriweather might deserve to be suspended or removed from the game altogether.

“He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league, I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too,” Meriweather said, according to ESPN (Marshall has a bit of a history, getting himself locked up several times on alleged domestic-abuse charges). “You tell me who you’d rather have? Someone who plays aggressive on the field or someone who beat up their girlfriend?”

I’m not going to touch that second comment (just thought it was something juicy that you might enjoy 🙂 ), but I would like to go back to what he said about having to change his style of tackling. See, tearing ACLs and ending careers isn’t going to cut it either, my friend. Especially when you come out and say that’s what you intend to do (no money is changing hands, but this screams Bountygate). But let’s take a quick dive into the depths of the NFL’s rule book for a hot minute. Two things I’d like to shed some light on for you, Brandon.

  1. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6, Part (i) states “using any part of a player’s helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/ hairline‖ parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily” shall be considered unnecessary roughness. This includes any part of the body, not just the head—so knees are out. And spearing with the crown of the helmet is what you’re known for.
  2. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (The Defenseless Players), Part (b), Number (2) states that prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is “Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/‖hairline‖ parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body,” or, Number (3), “Illegally launching into a defenseless opponent.” Again, the essence of how you play the game.

So forget about the knees, you idiot. Worry about going out there, keeping your head up, both feet on the ground, and making a clean tackle. Roughly 2,000 clean tackles are made every week, and a healthy portion of them go unfined. Everyone else seems to be able to adjust to these new rules that make it impossible to play defense. Time for you to do the same.

Baby’s Andy Reid Costume Wins Halloween

You think you’re so cool with your sweet-ass pirate costume, or that all of the attention’s going to be on you with that sexy nurse’s getup? Well, forget about it. You haven’t met the absolutely most adorable baby in the world, in the absolute best Halloween costume ever home-made. Please feast your eyes on Baby Andy Reid.

Baby_Andy_Reid_Costume_PictureGood luck getting back to your to-do list at the office today.

(ht CBS Sports)