Let me tell you why I love the guys here at Crossing Broad – they are no different than you.
It’s why this site is successful – mostly everyone on here is just like you – a Philadelphia sports fan, with an aptitude for breaking down a game or a segment of the game intelligently all the while still finding the time to overreact to something in the moment.
It’s what makes the Philadelphia sports fan so unique and so special. Conditioned from their formative years to respond with unbridled vim and vigor to even the smallest detail of a sport, often over-blowing it to the point of ridiculousness before gathering themselves and taking a much more rational look at it after they’ve had a few minutes to overcome their initial spastic outburst.
Our Slack chat was an unmitigated microcosm of that mentality during every last Sixers game this season. Even those ones against the most miserable teams in the NBA. Overtly praising the Sixers at the levels of religious fanaticism after blowing out the Memphis Grizzles and wanting to take the same people they were praising and put them on a boat in the Atlantic and hang them in effigy from the ships yardarm after the failure against Boston in the playoffs.
But they weren’t alone. I saw it everywhere I went in the Philadelphia media market. The same wild swing of emotion tied to the Sixers as every win was treated as a monumental triumph and every defeat was followed with a full-throated finger-point at someone, anyone, for bringing famine as pestilence to our city.
And this isn’t germane to the Sixers, although our group here at Crossing Broad is definitely a bit NBA-centric, which is totally fine. But until Nick Foles happened, the Eagles were just as readily subject to wild fan mood swings and the Flyers have a collection of supporters who always seem to scream about the wrong things because as good a hockey town as this is, there are a lot of people who really still don’t know or get the sport.
And that’s OK. I’m not here to tell you that you can’t be a fan unless you study up. It’s perfectly acceptable to be an uninformed rooter. It’s absolutely OK to let your anger out through a stream of misguided vitriol. It’s your God-given right to feel however you feel.
Just don’t do it on my property.
Yeah, I’m one of the old men here on Crossing Broad, and yes I yell at the clouds sometimes. New-fangled ideologies in sports definitely perturb me more now than they would have 20 years ago. It’s something that comes with age, I guess.
It’s not necessarily a longing for the good old days – although maybe sometimes it is – but I tend to think I’m fair with my assessments of where individual sports are today compared to where they used to be. I think there are definitely some athletes today that are the best to ever be a part of their sport but I also cringe when younger fans completely dismiss those that came in generations before them.
I always felt it was important for me to know as much as I could about the players who came in an era before my time so I could properly put into context what I was witnessing in the moment.
It’s all about finding context to accurately compare Tom Brady to Joe Montana, LeBron James to Michael Jordan, and Clayton Kershaw to Steve Carlton.
But nowadays, overreactions basically make me overreact to the overreactions. It’s a vicious cycle.
And this blog post was completely borne from an innocuous Slack chat exchange during the Phillies game last night:
Person A: “How did they not know Santana was cooked?”
Person B: “He hits better in June! I actually think he’ll be better. But, at the same time, not hitting for 45 games is kind of bad.”
Person A: “Being a better summer player doesn’t excuse AAA play for two months.”
(At this point, Carlos Santana comes to the plate with bases loaded and two outs in the third inning and gets an infield single to put the Phillies up 1-0.)
Person C: “Really knocked the shit out of that one.”
Me: “Wait, the Phillies are winning and you guys are bitching? I love this @Channel. It’s the perfect microcosm of Philadelphia.”
Person C: Anthony, are you new here?
Person A: Anthony you can’t just parachute in once a month and act like what we’re doing is abnormal. You’re abnormal.
Maybe I am. Maybe I’m desensitized to the mega importance of every detail of every game.
Or maybe I don’t like constant melodrama. I don’t know.
Point is, there’s a lot of crap going on in sports this week and I’m frankly tired of it. So, here’s my “Get off My Lawn” list for this week:
- The Phillies-Braves series that just ended with the Phillies winning two-out-of-three was touted by so many as a “big series.” Even Gabe Kapler highlighted it’s importance. He said how the whole clubhouse felt the same way. Guys. It was one series between two upstart teams in May. You want to use it as a measuring stick series to identify where you are less than a third of the way through the season? Fine. But to make it out as a “battle for first place.” And a “big series” when it’s not even Memorial Day yet, is comical. Here’s a steaming hot take for you – when these two teams play again in September, there could be playoff implications in terms of the Wild Card race, but neither team will be in shouting distance of Washington come late September. So, first place battles between the Phillies and Braves can be put on hold for another year, at least. Thanks.
- Kevin addressed this earlier this week, but I was seeing it more and more on my Facebook timeline about how terrible it is that the Vegas Golden Knights are in the Stanley Cup Final in their first year. People, get a clue. This is a great story. It’s the greatest underdog story in American Sports history for sure and I can argue it’s an even greater underdog story than Leicester City a couple years ago in the English Premier League. This is great for hockey. Vegas is now all-in (bad pun) on hockey for several years. It’s no different than when St. Louis and the Flyers were instantly competitive when they were expansion teams in 1967-68. Their immediate success turned what were considered non-traditional hockey markets at the time into what are now considered traditional hockey markets. Vegas is now on the same path. That’s great for the sport. The underdog nature of their run is great for the sport, too, as everyone will be talking about the Stanley Cup Final. You have two teams who have never won. A league Superstar in Alex Ovechkin who has never even been to the Final. A long-suffering franchise vs. the greatest underdog story ever. A team against their former general manager. This is great drama and a boon for the NHL.
- On the same note, the only thing about Vegas reaching the final that is bad for the NHL is the fact that it completely blows up the notion that you can’t build a winner quickly in hockey. All the nonsense about rebuilding taking several years and it being a process is now hogwash. Vegas winning would immediately put every other franchise and their general managers on notice. I say that’s a good thing. Make them actually care about trying to win for a change instead of protecting their asses by accepting several years of mediocrity or sub-par play in hopes of hitting it big down the road.
- What has happened to the NBA? How come most playoff games are blowouts? It’s fascinating to me that one team can win a game by 41 one night and then lose to that same team the next night. Shooting numbers are down. The games seem so disjointed. Run, drive, either take it to the hole or kick out for three. That’s 75% of the games anymore. Its frankly difficult to watch. The instant gratification society wants high scoring games. Us cranky oldsters want good, physical defense. Set plays. Strategy. I don’t care if the game is lower scoring if the competitiveness level is through the roof. Running and gunning is not fun. It wasn’t fun on the playground 25 years ago, it’s no fun from my couch now.
- What the hell are the Tampa Bay Rays doing starting the same reliever in consecutive games? First of all, Sergio Romo isn’t even that good a pitcher, but to try and combat first inning scoring (which is the highest scoring inning in a baseball game) at the risk of not having a go-to pitcher later in the game is asinine. This is someone trying to be progressive for the sake of being progressive. If you don’t trust your starting pitchers in their first inning of work, then why are they even starters? I know it worked and Mike Trout and Justin Upton each struck out twice against Romo, but come on, this is a terrible idea. Would I rather risk being down 1-0 in the first inning? Or would I rather have my reliable setup man/closer available to me in the eighth inning of a one-run game? There’s a reason we hear so much now about “high-leverage situations” in baseball. Because they matter. And burning a reliable relief arm in the first inning is nothing but someone saying, ‘look at me, I’m the smartest guy in the room’ all while wearing a dunce cap.
- I hate the NFL. I have never seen a more over-officious business that can’t get out of it’s own way like Roger Goodell’s football bonanza. The “new regulations” regarding standing for the National Anthem does nothing but politicize the league even more than it already is and create factions all around the sport. Yes, the NFL is a private business and can institute whatever rule it wants. But this is purely a knee-jerk reaction to corporate greed and likely threats of advertisement removal from big companies if a change wasn’t made. When I was in the newspaper union, we used to show up to work in matching t-shirts or wore buttons that may have been seen as disparaging at times to our employer. But we still did our jobs. We found a way to protest. To make the company uncomfortable. Show solidarity and still do our work. This is exactly what the players in the NFL are doing during anthem protests. If it was preventing them from doing their jobs, then the League would have a legitimate gripe. But, it doesn’t. The protests aren’t interfering with the jobs they are being paid to do. They are simply bringing awareness to a growing cascade of social injustices (Sterling Brown anyone?). But the league can’t have that. Nope. Just like they wouldn’t let DeAngelo Williams wear something pink all season in honor of his late mother, who died of cancer, but allowed him to do so during Breast Cancer Awareness Month when the whole league wears pink and the NFL profits on the merchandise sales. The League is a mess. It’s success today is borne purely from the fact that it is the most gambled on sport in the country (which includes daily and traditional fantasy sports) and has nothing to do with the actual on-field product – which has been slowly deteriorating for years now. The commissioner is terrible. The sport handles everything pretty terribly. And yet, we all get sucked in 24/7, 365. Which reminds me…
- I used to bitch about play-by-play of NFL training camps on social media, or stories outlining great plays made in seven-on-seven drills. But we’ve gone to new lengths when we’re getting play-by-play updates from OTA’s. Stop. Please. No one cares or will remember said plays down the road. Nor do we care that an assistant offensive line coach is versatile enough to play different positions on the scout team. It’s senseless information overload.