|01-26-2008, 04:15 PM||#21|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Re: Boston: Sparta of America?
Suffolk, i agree and disagree at the same time. Yes, the winning brings more [bandwagon] fans out of the woodwork, so to a degree, people care more in general. However, it's these bandwagon fans that make it seem like people care less. The diehards will always live and die with every play while these bandwagon fans (the "suits" who look like statues in the front rows of Fenway in their $500 seats) just go back to business as usual when the teams lose... making it seem like no one cares.
Don't get me wrong, the fact that the teams (both the Sox and the Pats) have recent championships certainly helps ease the blow after a rough game, but go into any long-time sports bar (unfortunately, Cask and Flagon and GAME ON! are packed with fair weather fans during the season... except during some away games) after a defeat, and you can feel the deflation in the room... it's eerie. We're a more confident bunch, but it's the bandwagon fans in the forums and chat rooms who say, "San Diego can't win!" or "Indy Sucks!" , or my personal favorite "The Yankees are Chokers!" (They're also nowhere to be found when the teams lose). I know real Pats fans have been nervous since the Ravens game and are still nervous because Eli Manning (Eli Manning?!) and the Giants are rolling. Same with Sox fans during the playoffs... no true fan "knew" the team would make it to the series after the slide against Cleveland, it's the bandwagon fans who talk the game.
When we're on the other side of this, you'll see who really cares and who's going along for the ride.
|01-30-2008, 03:15 PM||#22|
Join Date: May 2006
Re: Boston: Sparta of America?
Some amusing articles from Philly.
Bob Ford: For loathing, we'll take Manhattan. Hey, even the Giants don't play there.
By Bob Ford
Hate is such a nasty word. We shouldn't hate.
Hate is ugly. It is a waste of energy, a drain on our skimpy emotional resources. It is a sign of weakness and certainly not worth ascribing to anything as globally unimportant as sports.
In the case of New York, however, perhaps a minor exception can be made.
Boston? You can't hate Boston. You can't hate Faneuil Hall or the North End or the Freedom Trail. You want to hate Paul Revere? You go right ahead. One if by land, two if by sea, it sticks to you and bounces off me.
Boston has won a bunch of sports championships recently. As Phil Sheridan so accurately points out, this seems massively unfair since Boston and Philadelphia are old-school blood brothers. We shared misery. We shared disappointment. We shared Benj. Franklin and the Second Continental Congress, which was presided over in Philadelphia by Bostonian John Hancock for the purpose of forming a more perfect union and a darn fine insurance company, too.
What do we share with New York? Street vendors, bad cab drivers and a border with New Jersey, which is nothing much to brag about.
New York doesn't need friends. It doesn't need brothers. It apparently doesn't need street repairs, either, but we're in kind of a glass house on that one.
For the moment, and for the purpose of picking a side in the coming Super Bowl between the New England (nee Boston) Patriots and the New York Giants, you have to ignore the fact that the Patriots haven't played within the city limits of Boston since 1968 and the Giants have been breathing the toxic air of East Rutherford, N.J., since 1976.
These are vagabonds, my friends, creatures of expediency. By comparison, the Eagles have had six home fields, all of which have been loyally within the civic boundary of Philadelphia. If the Eagles played in a location similar to Foxborough, Mass., they would be taking the field somewhere around Wilmington - and without the added benefit of tax-free shopping!
No, regardless of the actual mailing addresses of the teams, this has to be Boston vs. New York. And the choice is easy. You have to root for the Patriots because, really, what do we care? Go ahead, win again. Steal the signals, wear the hoodie, score a hundred points, go to Disney World. What does this make? Four Super Bowls in seven years? Five in eight years? Whatever. Will Hunting stands at the coffee shop window with his armful of Lombardi trophies, asking, "How do you like them apples?" We don't care. Enjoy your apples. Make a pie if you like.
New York, however. That's another bushel of fruit entirely.
The Giants are no better than most of the semi-competitive circus acts in the National Football Conference. On a given day (although no given day this season, one must note), the Eagles are every bit as good as the Giants. As are the Cowboys, Packers, Bucs, Seahawks and, ye gods, maybe even the Redskins.
The Giants are a nice little team playing way over its head at the moment - or at least over the height-challenged heads of the rest of the conference. They were 4-4 in the second half of the season, including a scintillating 0-4 at home, which means the Giants haven't heard a real cheering crowd since Rudy Giuliani had a presidential campaign. (Oh, sure, sure. They gave the Patriots a game at the end of the regular season in the Meadowlands and Eli came of age and blah, blah, blah. We'll get to that.)
The fact is, a New York win next Sunday would hurt a lot worse than a New England win because, well, that could just as easily have been the Eagles.
Of course, the Eagles are far from perfect. Of course, they have a bunch of holes that need to be filled. Same goes for the Giants. They played three very good, very efficient games in the playoffs so far, underdogs each time, trailing at some point each time. Very commendable. Now go away.
All right, then. Eli.
Let's leave it at this, because he seems like a nice enough fellow. Eli Manning is due to play a real stinker. The Giants have dumbed-down the offense for him recently, and he has stood in there and done just enough to get the wins. But this is still Eli, the same Eli who went to Buffalo in the 15th game of the season and committed four turnovers all by himself - two interceptions, two fumbles - and who hung up a sparkling passer rating of 32.2 against the Bills. The Giants won the game by 17 points, you say? Very true. Try it against New England.
In New York at the moment, however, Eli is king, Eli is the man. Eli is the mayor. Maybe Tom Brady is sneaking around town bringing flowers to Gisele Bundchen (as if she wouldn't let him in otherwise), but Eli owns all five boroughs.
That's what is truly annoying about New York. It doesn't do understatement very well. Everything is big, too big. Everything is great, too great. Everything is beautiful in its own way, but more beautiful there.
Boston, bless its tortured Calvinist soul, knows it will have to pay for its temporal excesses with suffering at some later date. Winning streaks end, dynasties crumble, the exalted are humbled. There is, after all, a tomorrow.
If New York wins, though, I'm not so sure.
Phil Sheridan: With the bond of misery now broken, Philly ponders: Why Beantown?
By Phil Sheridan
Jimmy, the shuckah at the bah at the Union Oystah House, eyeballed the woman who asked for a glass of water.
"Championship watah?" Jimmy said with a glint in his eye. "Drink this, and you'll win a championship."
He swiveled toward the visitors from Philadelphia, who were in town for the Eagles' November game against the New England Patriots.
"Hey," Jimmy said, "there's something in the watah heah. Everybody wins championships heah."
Let's just say the oysters in Boston go down a little easier than the attitude.
The day of that game, which A.J. Feeley nearly won and then suddenly lost for the Eagles, my column was about the gap that had grown between two cities with so much in common. Philadelphia and Boston had been joined since Colonial times, and our histories remained oddly similar through a 20th century filled with sporting misery.
The Red Sox went 86 years without a World Series title. The Phillies won just one in 120-plus seasons. The Patriots got to one Super Bowl in the '80s, in New Orleans, and were blown out by the Bears. The Eagles got to one Super Bowl in the '80s, in New Orleans, and were blown out by the Raiders.
There was the great Sixers-Celtics rivalry. There was the Flyers' first Stanley Cup championship, won by defeating the Bruins.
The bond was very real and very deep. And now it is a distant memory. The Patriots are on the brink of winning their fourth Super Bowl in seven years (one at our expense, not incidentally), and they're going 19-0 just to rub it in. The Red Sox have won two World Series - one more than the Phillies in their history - in the last four seasons. The Celtics, awful for much of the last decade, have the best record in the NBA. They are a mere 19 games ahead of the Sixers in the Atlantic Division standings.
Look, it's easy to hate New York and its sports franchises. Everyone in the country hates New York and its sports franchises. Anything that happens in New York gets stuffed down the rest of our gullets in a most distasteful and nauseating way.
But with Boston, it's personal. The deeper the bond, the more painful when it is broken. It's the difference between hearing about some stranger from the snooty part of town winning the lottery and watching your oldest friend win it and then start acting as if he deserved it and, by the way, you didn't.
When that column ran in November, I braced myself for an e-mail onslaught from outraged Bostonians. I'd felt their wrath before. Back in early 2005, when the Eagles were about to play the Patriots in the Super Bowl, I wrote a column pointing out how close the Eagles and Patriots had been for the previous few years. The Patriots were a very good football team, not some mythical beast.
Well, the word mythical brought out the sharp knives from our pals up north. I received literally hundreds of e-mails questioning my sanity, my football knowledge, and my manhood - not necessarily in that order.
So it was surprising when the e-mails from New England that Sunday ranged from sympathetic to sheepish to supportive. Readers described themselves as "disoriented" by the success, and a few even expressed distaste for the arrogance they sensed in many of their fellow Boston fans. (Their names are being withheld to protect them from vigilantes in Tedy Bruschi jerseys.)
Ultimately, the reason Boston's run is harder to stomach is that there's no good reason Philadelphia couldn't be right there, too. New York is the media capital of the universe, and its teams have a substantial economic edge - even in leagues with a salary cap, more revenue means more money to spend.
If the Red Sox can compete with the Yankees and Mets in the payroll department, there is no rational reason the Phillies can't do the same.
If the Celtics can radically reshape their team around Kevin Garnett, how did the Sixers parlay Allen Iverson and draft picks into Thaddeus Young and expiring contracts?
Andy Reid's tenure has been relatively successful when compared with most of his peers, but there is no argument when it comes to Bill Belichick. The New England coach reached a higher summit and did a better job of sustaining it.
Boston proves that the problem isn't Philadelphia. It's the people running the teams in Philadelphia.
Boston holds a mirror up to us that we don't really want to look into.
Boston is easier to despise right now because it didn't do anything to deserve what's happening. Boston fans are no better than Philadelphia fans. They just got lucky, wicked lucky.
Now how about a big tall glass of that water?
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