Wednesday, February 18, 2015

6 comments Tom Brady Killed Baseball in Boston

Bill Speros of Boston.com, who refers to his column as "Obnoxious Boston Fan," wrote about how now that the Patriots have won another Super Bowl, the Red Sox will now need to keep pace and none of this will ever be enough for fans of these Boston-area teams. Basically, it's the type of crap no one wants to read coming from a group of fans who have nine championships since 2001. It must be those higher standards these fans have acquired over the past decade that will always leave them unsatisfied. Then the closing part of the column says that Boston is a football town now and not a baseball town. At this point, I think I would disagree. It's another "Baseball is dying" column, but more on a local level, and it blames the Patriots and Tom Brady for baseball's death in Boston.

Also, I don't really find Bill Speros obnoxious. Possibly trolling for pageviews? Yes. Looking for something exciting to talk about during the February lull? Probably. Obnoxious? Probably not obnoxious, even though he may want to be.

The sports psyche of Boston is layered with strata that constantly twist both emotion and attention.

One day, Tom Brady sucks.

The next, he's a four-time Super Bowl champion. 

That's every city with a professional sports team. I know it feels good to think that Boston is special and more important because the fans have knee-jerk reactions to their team's failures/successes, but it's exclusive to Boston in the same way this fragile fan psyche is exclusive to every city with a major sports franchise. Sorry, I know it sucks to only be a little special.

Those who called for Jimmy G. last fall can take some solace in the fact that he now has as many Super Bowl rings as Peyton Manning, and one more than Dan Marino.

Because being the starting quarterback for the Super Bowl-winning team and being the backup quarterback for the Super Bowl-winning team are virtually the same thing.

We're fickle and blessed. Fans can write off the Red Sox one day, and turn their focus to Patriots training camp the next.

Any city with multiple teams does this. Again, I know you desperately want these fans to be special, but other than having three major sports franchises in one city and one major sports franchise a short-ish drive away, they aren't that special. Nearly every fan base is fickle.

This week, the Patriots were riding Duck Boats while the Red Sox were counting down to Truck Day. Boston was once a "hockey town with a baseball team." It became the unquestioned domain and property of the Red Sox from the moment Bobby Orr left town until the day Tom Brady arrived. There was a brief gap when the Red Sox and Celtics shared the throne during Larry Bird's prime.

Generally teams that are the most successful tend to become the most popular team in a certain city for a period of time. It's not always permanent. Times change, the popularity of a team when that team is successful rarely changes. It's all cyclical.

Sometime in the past 15 years, and the moment depends on your perspective and preference, Boston became a "football town with a baseball team." 

It's official then. Baseball is dead in Boston and it's been dead during the time the Red Sox won three World Series titles. Wow, that's interesting for me to find out. I seem to recall the Red Sox being very popular in Boston over the past 15 years.

The Red Sox have won three World Series Cups in this century, but the Patriots have won four Lombardi Trophies. Where the Red Sox have mixed success with epic failure during this era, the Patriots have remained remarkably consistent when it comes to winning seasons, and playoff appearances. 

But remember, baseball has a competitive balance issue where the teams that spend the most money, like the Red Sox, dominate in the regular season and the playoffs. If only baseball had a salary cap like the NFL does, then there would be the competitive balance shown by the Patriots' success over the last 15 years.

In about 99 percent of the nation, this "dilemma" over which local team is No. 1 in the hearts and minds of fans seems nonsensical. The NFL team wins.

Well, the NFL is much more popular than MLB, but since there is really no way of measuring which local team has the fans' heart the most, I guess we'll just take his obnoxious word for it.

There are no wrong choices. It's really a matter of preference. 

And Bill Speros is rambling a little bit now.

New York may be the only other big city in America where the local NFL team [teams] is not the unquestioned winner when it comes time to pick the most "popular" team in town. The Yankees dominate the conversation in the Big Apple nine months each year.

You know, if two NFL teams are not the unquestioned winner when it comes time to pick the most popular team in town, then in 99% of the nation the NFL team doesn't win. Math says so. 2 divided by 32 is 6.25%. So maybe in 93.75% of the nation the NFL is the unquestioned winner when it comes time to pick the most popular team in town. Factor in that four NFL teams (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Washington, Buffalo) don't have another major sports franchise in their city or share their favorite major sports franchise with another city, then that means the NFL team is the most popular team in town in 81.25% of the nation, not 99%.

And yes, I know Green Bay fans are probably also Milwaukee Brewers fans and there is a strong overlap between Redskins fans with Orioles/Nationals fans (the Redskins play in Maryland, which isn't even in Washington, D.C.) and Bills fans are probably Mets/Yankees fans. I also know it's impossible to say what the most popular team in town is, but I just want to take the obnoxious crown away from Bill Speros.

Oh, and by the way, the St. Louis Cardinals are a bigger deal in St. Louis than any of the other major sports franchises. I'm not sure there is even an argument to be made here against this. So that's 78.125% of the NFL cities where the NFL team is king. 

Boston is a Patriots Town in February of 2015, even if the team's name says "New England" and its home games are played in Foxborough. 

Thanks for killing baseball in Boston* Tom Brady. You asshole. First you cheat, then you cheat again, and now you murder baseball in Boston. When will your misdeeds end?

*At least until the Red Sox win a World Series title or have success in the playoffs.

The Celtics, meanwhile, are losing season-ticket holders, never mind casual fans. It's not that people aren't interested. They just fail to see the financial logic in spending top dollar to watch a team that's building to rebuild with players who won't be here in the long run. 

Which does make sense. It's 2015 and completely possible to devotedly support a sports team without attending their games.

The 2013 Red Sox demonstrated that Boston has potential to be a baseball city again. But that was a miraculous run, in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack, and carried a season climax unmatched in 95 years. 

It was a season climax unmatched in 95 years, unless Speros wants to count the 2004 and 2007 seasons, which also matched the 2013 season climax. I'm pretty sure that the 2004 season was the most memorable of all the Red Sox championships over the last decade, but I understand Speros' need to try and explain away the excitement of the 2013 Red Sox title as if were unparalleled in order to pretend like the Red Sox aren't as popular in Boston as the Patriots are. He has to bend the truth and do some revisionist history to get there of course.

They followed up that with their least-interesting season since the 1994 lockout. 

Translation: They weren't very good. I would also argue that the Red Sox were interesting in that they started trading away players and adjusted their strategy to team-building for the immediate future, but I see Speros takes the same position that Bill Simmons tends to take with the Red Sox. Not winning games equals not being an interesting team.

David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval Tweeted their excitement over watching the Patriots' parade.

Jackie Bradley Jr. told WEEI.com Thursday he was going "to go all Marshawn Lynch this year." Bradley hit .198 last year with 30 RBI and eight steals.

"Least Mode" to "Beast Mode." 

Somebody should probably first tell Jackie Bradley, Jr. that Lynch plays for the Seahawks and not the Patriots. 

A few members of the Patriots went to the Celtics game Wednesday night.

BASEBALL IS DYING! THE NBA IS MORE POPULAR THAN MLB! HERE IS PROOF!

Or when the Bruins bring the Stanley Cup into Fenway Park.

THE NHL IS MORE POPULAR THAN MLB! THE RED SOX NEED BRUINS PLAYERS TO SHOW UP IN ORDER TO GET A CROWD AT FENWAY PARK!

Or when the World Series trophy gets carried onto the 50-yard-line at Gillette Stadium. 

THE ONLY WAY ANYONE IN BOSTON CARED ABOUT THE RED SOX WINNING THE WORLD SERIES IS IF THE RED SOX TEAM SHOWED UP AT A PATRIOTS GAME.

No other city in the country boasts that kind of camaraderie among its teams. 

Pretty sure this is false. Again, Speros wants to equate some sort of inherent superiority and camaraderie among the teams in the Boston area that would be there anyway if multiple teams in one area won a title over a short time span. 

The Red Sox, especially, cannot afford to take another year off on the field. Not after what happened in Glendale. 

They must win the World Series in order to satiate Red Sox fans who insist on their teams winning titles every other year or else they won't feel like they can support a non-exciting team.

Boston fans will never be "spoiled" - at least not until my late father can see the Red Sox win a World Series in his lifetime. He never will. Therefore, all those titles will never be enough for some of us.

That's pretty much the definition of being spoiled.

The fans here have high expectations because they put up the cash via tickets, luxury boxes, and TV viewership, to allow it to happen. 

Every city with a major sports team puts up cash via tickets, luxury boxes and TV viewership. And yet, every team's fan base doesn't act like winning is a God-given right and try to explain away that the unreasonable expectations come from how much more they sweat into their team than you do for your favorite team. No really, Patriots and Red Sox fans aren't special because they put up cash for the team. I know, it's crazy to read, but every NFL and MLB team has fans that put up money to support that team. No matter what your mommy and daddy told you, you aren't special for being a fan of your favorite team.

"We're on to Cincinnati," the cries for Jimmy G., New England's 5-1 run in the middle of the season, clinching home-field, beating Baltimore and Indy, and Deflategate served to calcify and crystallize the Patriots fan base. You saw a wondrous coalition develop between the Newbies. the Red White and Blue Hats, the Old Guard, the Stat Boys, the Brady and Gronk Groupies, and the Regular Joes. 

Isn't it amazing how winning brings everyone together? This only happens with the Patriots though. Every other team's fan base splinters apart when success arrives.

By the time Sunday's game began, whatever and whoever constitutes Patriot Nation was 100 percent unified behind the team, its legacy, its coach, and its players.

Thanks Bill Simmons. I love hearing hyperbolic stories about how fans are unified behind a super-special team that is more super-special than any other team that has ever competed for a title ever before. In fact, I love hearing these stories so much that I feel like I have heard similar stories about the Red Sox all three times they have won the World Series in the last decade.

After the interception, after the win, after the trophy presentation, after Gronk finally runs out of energy, after Julian Edelman checks off everyone on Tinder in his Zip Code, 

It's a recent reference to Julian Edelman's sexual habits! How timely and shows that Bill is in touch with "the kids" and what they like.

No matter what the NFL says about Deflategate, the Patriots are now the most powerful franchise in the most powerful league in American sports. 

Okay. I don't think it really matters that much, but okay. Next year a different team may win the Super Bowl and they will be the most powerful franchise in American sports. Also, if the Dallas Cowboys do anything controversial then I guarantee Speros' opinion of how powerful the Patriots are will be tested.

They boast the greatest NFL QB who ever played, and perhaps the greatest NFL coach ever - depending on where you put Lombardi, Tom Landry, and Belichick's mentor - Bill Parcells. 

I certainly wouldn't put Bill Parcells in there with Lombardi, Belichick and Landry. Of course, Parcells coached the Patriots, the Giants, and Cowboys, so he's going to automatically be thrown in the conversation as one of the greatest coaches ever simply because of that.

The task for the Red Sox is no longer securing, or maintaining their spot, as Boston's Most Popular Team. That is gone forever.

Oh yeah, forever. Sure, I believe that. This isn't just a knee-jerk reaction to the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. Boston is now a football town even though Boston doesn't even really have a professional football team. If the Red Sox win another World Series I am supposed to believe that they won't be the most popular team in Boston again? Please. The Red Sox won't be the most popular team in Boston from now on? What a lie.

I don't even really think of Boston when I think of the Patriots. When I think of Boston, I think of the Celtics and the Red Sox. I simply don't believe that Boston's most popular team isn't the Red Sox just because the Patriots won another Super Bowl title.

Demographics and time cannot be denied. The Patriots fan base is getting younger and the Red Sox fan base is getting older.

As soon as Tom Brady retires and the Patriots' dynasty is over, the Red Sox aren't going to be the most popular team in Boston again? I don't believe this for a second. I can't argue the demographics, but I find it hard to believe Boston isn't still a baseball town and won't be a baseball town once again in the very near future.

David Ortiz is the lone threat the Red Sox have in terms of increasing their popularity, aside from not finishing in last place. His rise in Boston has coincided with that of Brady's. They are inexorably linked in the minds of millions of fans. But Ortiz is a DH and Brady's a quarterback.

This guy seems to have been suckling at the teat of Bill Simmons for quite a while. I bet Bill Speros is Boston.com's answer to Bill Simmons. They seem to write very similarly by getting success and popularity confused, making proclamations that involve reading the minds of large amounts of people, and trying to find a link between two Boston-area athletes because no other major sports teams exist in the same realm as Boston-area sports teams exist.

Ortiz spoke for the city in the wake of the Marathon Bombing. His place in Boston's Sports Pantheon is secured.

"The Boston Sports Pantheon." He writes so much like Bill Simmons it's kind of weird. Get your own writing style. All that's missing are more pop culture references and a few dozen YouTube clips embedded in this column.

Brady is sharing his family with the world on social media, and has put down his multi-million dollar roots in Brookline. He's embraced his public persona.

I remember just a few short years ago how the question was whether Tom Brady spent enough time in Boston and there were complaints that he shouldn't train in California during the offseason. One move to Brookline and a Super Bowl win later and these complaints are all forgotten. 

Ortiz lives in Weston [something I had to look up] and makes public appearances for his various charities, but otherwise enjoys his privacy. 

Just a few short years ago Ortiz was the guy even the FCC couldn't censor who was standing up for Boston Strong. After a last place season he's a hermit who isn't even a real citizen of Boston because he only shows up to support his stupid, last place charities. 

Even with Big Papi, the Red Sox are facing a fourth-and-long when it comes to achieving sports supremacy in Boston again. Two last-place finishes around a World Series title haven't helped.

Because Red Sox fans expect a World Series every year or else they are just going to lose interest. It's not that they are spoiled, it's just the high expectations. How dare the Red Sox have two last place finishes with a World Series title in between these last place finishes. How do they expect to take back the city of Boston from the Patriots with a performance like that? 

But interested in the Red Sox heading into 2015 seems surprisingly high.

Probably because they are still a very popular team and Boston is still a baseball town. 

That's impressive considering last year's disastrous campaign, and the fact that Clay Buchholz continues to loom like the Blizzard of 2015 on the WBZ radar map as the Opening Day starter. 

Bill Speros out of one side of his mouth: "Boston is now a football town because nobody likes baseball anymore and the Red Sox haven't had the sustained success the Patriots have had. Red Sox fans are going to have declining interest in supporting a team that are losers. They are forever the second most popular team in Boston." 

Bill Speros out of the other side of his mouth: "There is a lot of interest in the Red Sox even though they came in last place last year. Even if the Red Sox aren't very good, the fans seem to want to see them play."

Younger viewers get restless and/or bored watching baseball. They don't watching football. Fantasy football, and the ever-streaming second screen, cure whatever downtime exists. Folks over 40 like me have been conditioned by decades of watching baseball to understand and appreciate the nuances between each play, and the anticipation before each pitch. 

My son, not so much. 

Another Bill Simmons staple. What his friends and family like is the perfect representation of what everyone else likes as well. Therefore, if Bill's friends don't like something then the public as a whole doesn't like it. In this case, Speros' son doesn't like baseball, so obviously this means the Patriots have taken over Boston and it's no longer a baseball town. 

The Red Sox get this, and so does Ortiz. All they have to do is check this website, either local newspaper, Twitter, tune into WEEI or The Sports Hub, or turn on ESPN and the NFL Network, to see or hear how much energy the Patriots absorb before, during, and after the season. 

The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States. This is true for nearly every city that has an NFL team. Again, it's not just specific to the New England area. This also doesn't mean that Boston isn't a baseball town. The Patriots just won the Super Bowl and took up a lot of air time prior to winning the Super Bowl due to the accusations they deflated footballs against the Colts. The Red Sox will get a lot of coverage once something controversial happens with them or even if they have success on the field. 

Rightly or wrongly, the success of the Patriots will now become the burden of both the Red Sox, and Bruins as they approach the postseason.

The Celtics may be the big winners here. The euphoria of watching endless highlights of Sunday's Super Bowl will help temper the frustration and malaise gripping the "Green Teamers." 

So the Celtics are allowed to be terrible and nobody in New England cares because they are focused on the Patriots? But the Red Sox are not allowed to be terrible or else this proves that baseball is dying in Boston? So baseball in Boston is dying because the Red Sox have only won the World Series once since 2007? But the Celtics haven't won a title since 2008 and they are not a very good team, but they are big winners because everyone in the Boston area will be focused on how great the Patriots are? Mediocrity helps the Celtics, but only goes to prove how Boston is not a baseball town anymore when the Red Sox are mediocre. So perhaps the big concern for the Red Sox being mediocre goes to show how many fans in Boston really care about the team? Maybe this means Boston is still a baseball town? 

Most Red Sox home spring training games are sold out, or close to it.

You are ruining your own point right now. By stating that the Patriots are now the team Boston fans care about the most, then talking about how popular the Red Sox are, even coming off a last place finish, it's just proof that the Red Sox still have juice in Boston despite being a bad team. It seems like there is a lot of interest in a sport that has declining popularity in the Boston area. 

Their eyes will be focused on the Red Sox for as long as the rotation of No. 3 starters, and the newly re-loaded lineup, remain competitive. 

So, as I said previously, when the Red Sox are a good team again then they will once again be the most popular team in Boston. Thereby proving that Boston is still a baseball town. It sounds silly to write, "Oh, the Patriots won another Super Bowl and no one is talking about the Red Sox right now so this obviously means the Patriots are the most popular team in Boston." It's so reactionary when written in February off a Patriots Super Bowl victory. 

Last summer, baseball season in Boston was finished by July 4. 

I'm surprised Speros didn't say that date was Red Sox fans' day of independence from watching terrible baseball.

This year, the Red Sox might not even get that much time. 

Like every other team that isn't very good, fan interest tends to decrease. Measuring the peak of excitement about the Patriots versus the excitement for the Red Sox when coming off a last place season where they traded some of their best players and drawing a hard-and-fast conclusion about baseball's popularity is ridiculous. In fact, it's pretty obnoxious. So I guess Bill Speros can consider his mission to be successful. 

6 comments:

JBsptfn said...

What an article. I like how the author says that baseball was ignored the day that Tom Brady arrived. That's funny, because he came to New England as a sixth-round draft pick who was not supposed to be great, and now he is worshipped for lucking into a team with a good coach that plays in a weak division, and winning four SB's that could have gone the other way.

I also like the reference to Simmons and the "Boston Sports Pantheon" Too funny. He likes to make things so dramatic.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I have never heard of this guy. He seems like a bit of a Bill Simmons rip-off to me. This is clearly a take so hot that it is meant to attract attention.

Koleslaw said...

Hey, his column served a purpose. Now instead of being indifferent to Boston sports, I actively hate them.

Murray said...

Demographics and time cannot be denied. The Patriots fan base is getting younger and the Red Sox fan base is getting older.

Isn't that really an MLB problem in general?

Murray said...

Him looking up Weston is 100% Bullshit. It's right off a major highway and right next to Waltham. No way in hell I believe that

Bengoodfella said...

Koleslaw, hate leads to the dark side. Try not to give in.

Murray, that is a problem overall, but I would be interested to see the average age of the Red Sox and Patriots fan. I bet they aren't too far off from each other.