Friday, July 10, 2009
Throughout history, mankind has competed in contests designed to test personal and group stamina, speed and coordination. And it's been well documented that the participants in these contests were routinely observed by groups of smaller, fatter individuals who scientists believe were absolutely convinced that they knew their favorite team or contestant was totally going to blow it. "Xithiachutichu is getting paid how many goats to drop the fucking head in these kind of pressure situations?" the drunken Mayan would scream at his bored son in the stands in ancient Mexico, "They should have sacrificed his dumb ass last season!" Of course, historical records of these exchanges are sketchy at best, but thankfully today we have the technology capable of preserving these types of shrewd analyses for generations to come. Today, I have spotlighted just a few representative websites designed to be suppositories of such fan wisdom. Enjoy!
Website: Bleed Cubbie Blue
Team: Chicago Cubs
Current Team Condition: Business as usual. The Cubs as of this writing are 41-41 with one of the highest payrolls in the major leagues. After a few years of being Cinderella stories during the regular season and then turning back into pumpkins the minute October arrives, the Cubs have decided to suck outright this year, helped along by bizarre deals made during the off-season including trading the popular jack-of-all-positions Mark Derosa and former Cub hero Kerry Wood to the Indians and acquiring the hot-headed, injury prone Milton Bradley. An early injury to star player Aramis Ramirez has hurt the Cubs offensively but perhaps no injury is as emblematic of the Cubs current season and indeed their well documented history of futility as the one recently suffered by starting pitcher Ryan Dempster: he broke his toe trying to jump over the dugout railing after a Cub win at Wrigley field.
Webmaster: Al Yellon. Al's one of the best webmasters out there, at least as far as fansites are concerned. He's been a Cub fan for years and his game reviews usually strike a great balance between insightful commentary on the game itself and his experiences as a life-long bleacher season ticket holder. I always count myself lucky that I stumbled upon Al's site right away when I was looking for a Cubs blog, as there are SO many blogs that forgo the human aspect of baseball in favor of sterile statistics and unreadable charts.
Commentators: BCB, as a member of SportsBlogNation along with all the other sites on this list, has "benefited" from a recent partnership with Yahoo Sports which now advertises and links to it in their box scores and news stories. This has had the effect of turning every game thread into a 1,500+ comment clusterfuck full of "funny" pictures of cats and TWSS* posts. It's reading these threads that gives Cubs fans the reputation they so richly deserve as they usually devolve into a long series of posts featuring pictures of Erin Andrews or whatever sports babe is currently popular.
Sample Wisdom From The Masses: "Now that Ryan Dempster is out on DL I truly believe the cubs should go after pedro, pick him up and allow him to become starter. When Dempster returns to full strength, trade him to a team in need, for another hitter the cubs REALLY need. I understand that Dempster has contributed but i think he is the cubs worse pitcher and the rotation could then be: big z harden lilly wells and pedro. Pedro has proven before that he is a great pitcher and i think deserves another chance to show his stuff on the big stage. If pedro doesnt work out, which i believe he would the cubs still have marshall to fall back on. The possible hitters the cubs could get would be big ones like 2B men Luis Castillio Miguel Tejeda Cristian Guzman Clint Barnes or a possible back up to theriot at short in Cesar Izturis Jhonny Peralta Edgar Renteria and maybe to protect ramirez a back up 3rd in Pablo Sandoval or similar players. This is just a few examples f but im sure a couple of those deals could work. A good result and the most realistic one to me would be Jhonny Peralta because the Indians may want another pitcher with there struggles, and you can see with the recent trade of Mark Derosa, there hungry for answers. GO CUBS and make a deal!!!!!!!!" - cooltrev
Website: Blog A Bull
Team: Chicago Bulls
Current Team Condition: Insane. After quite literally winning the lottery to acquire Derrick Rose in the NBA draft and coming within one game of beating the previous year's world champion Boston Celtics, the Bulls made some front office changes and now seem determined to undermine any chance to build on those successes. Just recently, they let Ben Gordon, who's heroics in last years playoffs led to some of the most exhilarating games the Bulls had seen since the Jordan & Co. were dominating the league, walk and he was immediate snapped up by the rival Pistons. Then they signed his replacement, Jannero Pargo. Seriously.
Webmaster: your friendly BullsBlogger. Another old hand at the blogging biz, YFBB is knowledgeable and able to put together very well constructed posts on just about any subject. He's great at breaking down the intricacies of the somewhat arcane salary cap and tax structure that NBA teams are cursed with and has a knack for exposing the odd patterns behind the statistics. Sometimes, however, he does seem like a debbie downer - after some of the more exciting wins last year, his headlines read like the team lost - but overall he's one of the best.
Commentators: All over the place. Most of the posters are at least as lucid and informative as the webmaster, but the ones that aren't seem to have their hearts in the right place, it's just that they seem to type by mashing their face on their keyboards. Most of the heated discussions right now are centering on the speculative fate of Tyrus Thomas, the Bulls' young, talented and butt dumb power forward with half of the posters seeing him as trade bait and the other half wanting to hold on to him and refusing to admit the Bulls fucked up by drafting him. Also, the "Don't Tase Me, Bro" guy from a few years ago posted a long, rambling diatribe a few months before his performance in front of John Kerry. So there's that.
Sample Wisdom From The Masses: "the beauty of the NBA channel is watch the bulls playoff series with the celtics without emotion………if you people do the same you will see a short non defensive player hold onto to the ball to long and yes making a great shot……then you will see that same guy not ever try to fight thru a screen to contest a celtic player to make a game winning shot or send into overtime…….gordon stiffled roses’ development and what JR, Gar and Pax are saying THIS IS ROSE’S team not your s BG7….so to pay 10 mil a year for a 6th man is plain dumb……and yes i do think they have a plan……the trade to get salmons and miller was excellent……and i think the trade they plan to make to get bosh is going to smart as well…….so i think tyrus will have to eat is words when he says “He is the starting PF” yeah you are but in Canada……." -bluezman7
Website: Windy City Gridiron
Team: Chicago Bears
Current Team Condition: Cautiously hopeful. Last year, the Bears underperformed spectacularly thanks to a worn-out and aging defense and inexperienced quarterback. With the addition of Jay Cutler, they have addressed one of the issues that plagued them last year, but a lot of questions remain, including an untested receiver corps.
Webmaster: Windy City Gridiron is a relatively new addition to SBN and when it first began it was run by someone named WCG and he was terrible. Writing poorly worded headlines that were often misspelled and chock full of erroneous information, he started being called out for the lack of quality in the comments thread. Since then, the blogging has been taken over by ChiFan13 and former commentator GeauxBears and the site has improved considerably. Now it's a valuable resource for information especially during the off-season.
Commentators: One thing I noticed about the football blogs as compared to blogs of other sports (except maybe hockey) is the willingness of posters from other teams to visit a rivals team's blog and talk shit. Indeed, some of the fans of other teams sometimes become regular posters who can be counted on to post in the game threads dedicated to that weeks match-up, at least up to the point when their team starts to stink up the joint, at which point they mysteriously disappear.
Wisdom From The Masses: "obviously, you watched every single game for both the Jets and Vikings last season in anticipation of this post. You’re right, the Vikings did play the hapless Lions twice last year, which everyone likes to throw in the faces of the rest of the NFC to tell us “lucky” we are. Here’s some teams for you, Cincinnatti, Rams, 49’ers, Seattle, Buffalo Bills (twice) offensive juggernauts all. What do they have in common???? Oh, yeah they all played that formiddable Jets defense last season, no wonder their stats were so far below the Vikings.
I can’t believe you are making me defend the team I hate the most in the NFL, but you are quite the expert and I’m sure in line for the next scouting position on Jerry’s staff, so how could you possibly be wrong." - BearFan611
Website: Second City Hockey
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Current Team Situation: On the way up. After a very good playoff run that saw the team make it to the Western Conference Finals only to lost to the hated Redwings. During the offseason, the 'Hawks have made some deals to improve their team including signing an absolute monster in Marion Hossa to replace the departing Martin Havlat. Unfortunately, they've also made some really boneheaded mistakes like screwing up their offers to their free agents this year which they may end up paying for. A very good young team that will only get better.
Webmaster: SCH is run by two Chicagoans, SamFels and Matthew Dirt, both of whom are very knowledgeable and have followed the team for years. They attend most the games and sell a homemade "real fan's program" called The Committed Indian outside the United Center before the game starts. I was curious and ordered the electronic copy for a few months and found it really funny and insightful. During the playoffs last year Dirt titled each of the game treads after Mastodon lyrics, so he's got that going for him.
Commentators: In a word, scarce. Hockey, of course, is no where near as popular in the U.S. as it is up north and you have to be able to get an obscure extended basic cable channel to even watch the games in some parts. Most news posts are lucky to get 10 comments, but usually those comments at least will add a little bit to story. But as hockey fanatics, the comments are sure to be pretty informative and profane.
Wisdom From The Masses: "FREE WILLY!!!! GO HAWKS!!!! I’m hopin’ for that initial goal too – I couldn’t stomach another 60 minutes of the clam trap. Really enjoyed the CBC pre-game story on the 4 Vancouver Hawks and their peewee team they all played together on – the Pacific Vipers. Just awesome. They all agreed of the 4 (Ladd, Fraser, Brouwer, & Seabrook) that Seabrook was always the standout, although Seabrook himself siad he always thought Fraser had the best goal celebration moves. - Hungryhawk
*In case you were wondering, TWSS stands for "That's What She Said" and allows for emotionally stunted men who have never felt the touch of a real, live woman to imagine that they are wittily zinging the previous commenter by giving their post a sexual connotation that was not originally intended.
Poster A: Boy, I sure do like the way Carlos Zambrano is pitching this year but I can't help but think I'd rather have his penis in my vagina.
Poster B: omg TWSS dood!