Browsing in sports

For more than eleven years I’ve lived in San Francisco I have been frustrating locals with my loyalty to San Diego sports teams. But what can I do? I lived there first? I moved to San Diego the summer before I turned four and was instilled with San Diego loyalty by my father who had grown up there.

Three years later we moved to Northern California which put us in the media market for Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. That meant we could see games of the SF Giants and 49ers and Oakland’s A’s and Raiders. We could still see some of our San Diego games when when they played their division rivals: the Padres vs. the Giants and the Chargers vs. the Raiders. This means to me the Giants and Raiders have always been opponents. I’ll keep track of what they’re doing but only to see how it relates to America’s Finest City’s teams.

Thankfully the 49ers and the A’s only play the San Diego teams once every few years (less before the MLB started interleague play). So I could wear my Red & Gold with pride and without any sense of betrayal. I want to see all four of those teams do well each and every year. The best Super Bowl match up I ever got was XXIX and at the start of every season I hope for another one. But maybe this time The Unconventional City could win their first national professional sports championship.

It’s not easy being a fan of an out of town sports team.  The opportunities to see your team are either rare or expensive and always influenced by opposition from friends, neighbors or announcers.  You’ve got to put up with a lot for just a chance at glory.

In my lifetime it’s become infinitely easier to follow a sports team from another city or state. I grew up reading two-day old box scores in a newspaper sports section but now I can get streaming recaps or each pitch on the computer I carry in my pocket. If I felt like spending the money I could pay to get everyone of my team’s games on tv, but I don’t.  So now I just have to wait for schedules to align when my team plays the locals and their announcers bad mouth the opponents for three hours.  But text updates and slanted tv coverage pale in comparison to the big chance to support my team and be a part of the game, seeing it live.

I happily buy a ticket, hot dog and soda and sit on plastic seats while I cheer for my team and great plays on either side of the ball.  I never taunt or curse and I’ll go out of my way to avoid drunks.  I don’t cause trouble not because I fear the people sitting around me, but because I respect them and the sportsmanship we’re there to enjoy.

But still, I’m wearing my colors. I’m the lone spot of blue and white in a sea of black and orange.  It’s a small act of defiance that says this is what I believe and support and I’m willing to suffer slings and arrows because of it.  Though instead I get “whys” which make me regularly justify my loyalty to a team that’s five hundred miles away from the city I’ve lived in for the last ten years.

It’s because I’ve been wearing these colors when they were my local team and have keep it up for the last twenty-four years through good, bad and ugly years.  So just because I’ve moved to a place that already has a team, doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon mine.  And it certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to be happy for my fair-weather-fan friends and neighbors dressed in their brand new black and orange outfits.

  1. He Got Game
  2. Futurama episode “Time Keeps on Slipping”
  3. The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island
  4. The Wire episode “Game Day”
  5. Teen Wolf
This was actually a hard list to come up with.  I did it in honor of the upcoming NBA finales, but I actually don’t care about basketball so I don’t seek out the game or something with the game in it.  Actually, the basketball just snuck into each of these things I already like.

Sports announcers have gotten so bad in recent years that it really detracts from my enjoyment of the game. I used to think that the announcing really helped make the game what it was. Originally there were two guys: a play-by-play man and a color commentary guy. Together they gave you the details and the flavor. But now we have computer graphics that appear in the corners and edges of the screen that tell you all the facts you’ll ever need (e.g. “Hairston hits .375 against left handed pitchers in an domed stadium on days with the letter ‘U’ in them.” So now the two men (always men) just chatter to make noise. It’s annoying to say the least.

It doesn’t help that I live outside the local market for my favorite teams. So I never hear a pro-San Diego team opinion. Instead I have to suffer through things like tonight’s Giants/Padres game. It began with a celebration of the No Hitter SF pitcher Sanchez threw in July 2009 against the Padres. I’m not making fun of the accomplishment because it’s an amazing thing. But it really doesn’t have much bearing on tonight’s game. So then in the bottom of the second inning Sanchez throw two wild pitches in a row and the announcers talk about what a good job the catcher did to stop the ball from getting away. But they couldn’t dare comment on the pitcher’s mistake, they can only talk about somehing positive about the Giants. Even when it’s a possitive asset he shouldn’t need to demonstrate. But of course the announcers couldn’t just hold their tounges, they must be full of sound and fury.

1. Charlie Brown trying to kick the football
2. Any Given Sunday
3. King of the Hill episodes (specifically “Three Coaches and a Bobby”, “Bills Are Made to Be Broken”, “A Beer Can Named Desire”, “Peggy Makes the Big Leagues,” “Meet the Manger Babies”)
4. The “Wossamotta U” story arc from the fifth season of The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show
5. Brian’s Song
…in honor of this weekend’s Big Game

San Diego Comic Con was last week and I missed it.  I was here at home enjoying birthday celebrations for some great friends of ours.  Of course, my thoughts did drift down there pretty regularly.  It sounded really crowded but that for the most part people had fun.  That’s how I remember it when I went down there before…2006?  Wow.  Anyway, plans are being made to go down there again next year.  Colleen will come too and I’ll have to protect her from the Twi-hate.  Of course maybe by then idiots will have a new grudge.

The bit of news that has intrigued me the most is Marvel buying the Marvelman rights.  Of course, like many people have pointed out, Marvel has only announced half of what interest people.  This is a character with decades of history on and off the page.  But is really only remembered for 28 actual comics (Miracleman 1-24, Miracleman 3D 1, Miracleman Apocrypha 1-3).  So not being able to announce plans to reprint those comics makes this half a news story.  Of course, the fact that they are drawing him and selling t-shirts with the original logo and not the modified one used in the memorable comics is very telling…

Of course, at least you can say that Marvel has people talking.  And while I’d love to see a great hardcover collection and best case senario of Neil Gaiman & Mark Buckingham completing it.  I’m now torn, because I actually had a lead on some issues of Miracleman which I had always dismissed as being un ownable…but after seeing some issues in a box I’m tempted, but if there is a fancy hardcover in the not to distant future?  Hm, what to do?

The best news about real comic books that people can really and truly buy at some point are the new Bone books!  Those sound wonderful.

And sneaking in some sports news, NFL training camps are open.  And I’m very happy to see Shawne Merriman is back in action.  And with some enthusiastic hair!

We attended a birthday party for Matt West, a fellow Quincy-ian and roommate of James Wilson.  James has agreed to draw WMC #5.  A story I’m particularly proud of.  I have really high hopes for this issue.

Saw “BOLT”, or as it should be called “The Incredible Journey, starring Buzz Lightyear trying to get back to a Truman Show version of Inspector Gadget, guest starring the Goodfeathers from Animaniacs“”.
Don’t create, imitate!  Which is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but it’s not worth thinking about.

There was also a preview for Neil Gaimen’s Coraline, though to watch the preview it was simply “Coraline.”  There was absolutely no mention of his name.  Which was just strange.  And I didn’t think that the trailer was very effective or interesting, so mentioning the name of the person who created it certainly would have helped.  They did mention that it was directed by the guy who directed “The Nightmare Before Christmas” which made me think “and what has he done since?

Then the weekend ended poorly with yet another Chargers loss.  Which shows again that the team just doesn’t want to win.

Our defense needs to learn that if three guys are covering one receiver, don’t just watch him catch the ball and then try to tackle him.  Someone could try to get in the way and block or even dare I say, intercept the ball.  You have to make some effort, and know that the other two players will be there to back you up.  Someone needs to make an effort, or try and correct this problem that I see at least once a game.

Of course, that would mean the coaches would need to coach the players.  Which admittedly is only most of their job, so why should they bother?  The rest of the job description involves trying to strategize and lead the team.  Which Norv & the rest also fail at.

Who’s decision was it to kick a field goal when we’re down 20-17 but on the Colt’s 29 yard line and its fourth down and 2 yards to go with only 1:35 left in the game?  As I watched it I asked “is the strategy to tie it up only to let the Colts get down and score a field goal?  We’re still going to lose by 3 points.”  20-17 or 23-20 are the same thing-A loss.  The team had nothing to lose by going for the first down.  Sometimes you’ve got to take a fucking risk and do something.  And Norv, walking on the sideline and yelling “fuck!” is not “something.”

And of course, what would an NFL game be without horrible refs?  My personal favorite was when a Charger caused a Colt receiver to drop the ball after he took two steps with it and it was recovered by a Charger, but then the whistle blew and the refs incorrectly ruled it an incomplete pass.  Then the clock started for the next play and a ref told Norv he couldn’t issue a Coach Challenge “because they already blew their whistle.”  Every single game is ruined by the refs.

And there was no King of the Hill, Family Guy or American Dad to console me.  I had to fall asleep in a rage.  If Atrocitus had sent me a red ring right then, you can bet I would have been vomiting fireblood at everyone at last night’s game.