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Monday, June 26, 2023
One of the best stories of the early MLB season is the Cincinnati Reds. The oldest and certainly proud franchise hasn't finished higher than third place since their last Division title in 2012. The Houston Astros were still in the National League back then. Which is also the last time they won a playoff game. They've only won two playoff games since 1990, their last World Series Championship. But hope springs eternal especially in the bat, arm, and legs of Elly De La Cruz. The all-everything prospect created a buzz when he was called up and hasn't disappointed. In fact, he was a big part of the team's 12-game winning streak, the franchise's longest since 1957. The 21-year-old De La Cruz was 11-20 Monday through Saturday, with 2 HR, 8 R, 4 RBI, 2 SB, he did it all. All also being the first cycle since 1989 in spectacular fashion with a stop-watch inducing triple. De La Cruz has given the Queen City hope and will be an entertaining star for a couple of decades to come. The Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Monday, June 19, 2023
The most dynamic and talented player in the NBA stepped up when it counted and delivered his franchise its first championship in League History. After 37 straight failed playoff appearances, only reaching the Finals once and that was in the American Basketball Association era, the Denver Nuggets finished the job and proved they were the best team. Led by two-time MVP (but not this season) Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets eased through the playoffs dropping just four games total and only saw a series tied once. Jokic took no prisoners in all aspects, including the decisive Game 5 of the Finals 94-89 victory against the Miami Heat. Jokic scored 28 points in the victory, including 75% from the field (and a three pointer). He added 16 rebounds and 4 assists, no matter where he was or what role, he could not be stopped. For the finals he: 1) Averaged over 30 points per game, 2) had two triple doubles, 3) had the first ever 30-20-10 (points/boards/assists). The best player led the best team to a title, and Nikola Jokic is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
We've all been there before. Pulling our hair out frustrated that our team lost. Frustrated that the boundless hope of the beginning of the season is slowly closing as the path to a championship gets narrower and narrower. And that other team and their fans are celebrating. The fans psyche is damaged and they must do something to let you know. Because simply turning off the TV or moving on is not possible.
Before social media, it was the radio and talk shows. Now anybody (and everybody) with a cell phone can go on an historic angry rant within minutes of a play. Why do they do this? I'm glad you ask.
|The more proud the program or franchise, the more worked up fans get|
I am no psychologist but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night LOL. First and foremost, all the penned-up energy is released by the following two step gasket blow.
1) Berating the team you love, when truly you do love them, you just need to blow off some steam. By ranting you're rewiring your brain and resetting expectation that a title isn't in the works this year. Then you can no longer be disappointed (spoiler alert, you will again be disappointed). Essentially (as Emmanual Acho once ranted), you're self-handicapping.
- This team is horrible, obviously we're not going to win the title
- Why does our team suck so bad
- I'm so sick of this crappy team.
One would think this is someone who isn't a "true fan". I argue that their passion pushes them to do these things against logic. It's just a different fan wiring. Logic, like the remainder of the season being long, a playoff run being possible, the team not indeed bad (they have a winning record) but just aren't as good as you had hoped has no place here (more in a minute). If you're familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), it's the second indicator. Thinking versus Feeling. Doesn't mean you have to pick one, but the tendencies are (and we've all seen it) to gravitate towards the one that is natural.
|Dissatisfied fans are not a rarity (courtesy MLB.com)|
2) Find Blame. Immediately. In typical hierarchy it goes a) blame the coach or manager; b) blame your lease favorite player (especially if they are highly paid), c) combo of a and b, blame the coach or manager for playing the player you don't like. d) blame the general manager for any and all mistakes they made (after all they should have had perfect foresight to know this would happen.) e) Blame the owner for not spending more money. f) blame the players for not caring. g) (less for the long term) blame the referees or the system for not allowing your team to compete.
- Idiot Coach Casey didn't go for it on fourth down, didn't pinch hit, didn't foul the bad free throw shooter, didn't pull the goalie, didn't get that bum out of the game when he or she was sucking
- I'm so sick of Player Richey Pants, he isn't earning his salary. Bench him.
- I can't believe Coach Casey keeps playing Player Richey Pants, he's horrible!
- Why the hell did GM Casey sign Player Richey Pants, he is obviously overrated completely ruined the season
- We are so cheap and didn't sign Player Hall of Fame Elite who is the MVP, the owner obviously doesn't want to win
- God, it's like the players aren't even trying; they don't have fire
- So stupid that the commissioner allows the big market teams to spend freely or gave us this impossible schedule
- The refs are obviously biased for the big market team they want the ratings.
Any of those ring a bell? The mistaken ideal that replacing one thing will fix everything. I'm here to tell you it's always a team game and every league has plenty of games to prove that (2020 MLB regular season withstanding). That one fix probably, almost certainly, isn't what's causing your team to lose.
The more rational sports fan tries to enter the fray but is hopeless against emotion. Emotion cannot be swayed by providing logical statements. Sure, the frustrated fan may calm down after the immediate disappointment, but the powder keg is still inside for next time. And the rational sports fan (myself included at times) usually takes a self-perceived superior stance. "Well, I'm the one looking at facts and they're not." Who says educated sports fandom is better than frustrated ranting sports fandom? They're both fans, just different in their approach. Ne'er the twain shall meet.
Tenets to always remember.
1) Winning in professional sports is hard. That's why men and women shed tears when they do it. Players, fans, owners, etc. It's why we watch. But there is no perfect formula and every championship team in professional sports (besides one certain Dolphins team) had a loss. Baseball teams lose 60 times. The other teams are trying to win too.
|The Greatest of All Time knows it ain't easy|
2) Player performance is unpredictable. There are overvalued players on the free agent market. There are undervalued ones. Nobody knows which is which or general management would be easy. You can gauge a good fit in market and age then suddenly it just doesn't go right.
3) The owner wants to win, just has constraints. Even unconstrained owners don't lead to a title.
4) The coach is highly qualified for his or her position. It may not be a right fit, but changing frequently is a road to disaster.
5) The refs or league aren't biased. Refs are imperfect. But not biased. You probably ask 30/30 teams think the refs are against their team. Tells you all you need to know.
6) When a player is struggling, the person most frustrated by his or her performance is him or her. Their livelihood depends on it. They replay the mistakes in their head. They may even start to self doubt. Tweeting at them probably isn't productive.
|The person most frustrated at the play of 2022 Russell Wilson was Russell Wilson|
But as a final parting shot, the fan just feels better in their mind if they complain, rant, find blame, etc. More power to them, they live their life one way, others live it another.
All are fans.
Monday, June 12, 2023
72>69. No this isn't a math blog. That is 72 feet greater than 69 years, or at least writes a name in the history books that will never be forgotten. Canadian golfer Nick Taylor did what no one has done since Louis St. Laurent was Canada's Prime Minister. He died when Nixon was President. That is, win the Canadian Open as a Canadian. But it wasn't without drama. Having fallen back in the middle of the back nine, Taylor birdied the 17th and 18th to put himself in the Clubhouse with a one shot lead. But Tommy Fleetwood, who had been near the leaderboard all afternoon, finished to tie Taylor at minus 17. Hole after whole Taylor and Fleetwood battled. Birdie on 18. Par on 18. Par on 9. There were rough saves. Pitches. Putts. And the fourth playoff hole was looking like Taylor's with maybe a 2-putt birdie. He just needed one. 72 feet away, he landed a perfect speed/perfect lie putt dead center on the flagged hole to win it with Eagle. Fleetwood would have needed to make a low percentage putt just for Birdie. The crowd went wild. Canada had its Canadian Open Winner. Nick Taylor, the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
In an extremely busy season for sports, we turn to Major League Baseball for the first time this season (as the NBA and NHL had a bit of a lull between Conference and League Finals). One of the big surprise teams in 2023 has been the Texas Rangers. After making some aggressive moves in the offseason to offset two seasons with a combined 196 losses they are starting to look like the team to beat in the American League West. One of the big moves they made was to add Corey Seager prior to 2022. That move is paying Dividends. After an early season injury in 2023, Seager hit his stride the last week. In six games, Seager went 11/27 with 2 HR, 3 2B, and 10 RBI. And there was an 0-5 in the middle of it with nada (that his team still scored 10 runs and won). Overall the Rangers were 5-1 and extended their American League West lead over the World Champion Houston Astros who only went 4-3. It may be a race deep into September in the Lone Star State and former World Series MVP Corey Seager has the experience to carry his team and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!