November 05, 2010
Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?
Who's the biggest homer you know?
Fans of the team you like the least, probably. If you're a Sens fan, Leafs fans are intolerable. If you like the Ducks, Kings fans make you sick. Wings fans can't stand Pens fans and vice versa. If they don't like your boys, then they're too stupid for words, right?
But where does that attitude, that ‘every loss was one in which your boys got screwed' and ‘every win should have been twice as big as it was' actually come from? It's not unlike civic pride or nationalism: the feeling that a place, or in this case, a team, is better than all the others because you are from there or support it.
Go on Twitter, or read the comments here, or head to a rink or have a conversation with your friends who like other teams. You'll find enough homers to last you for a good long while.
While watching a Detroit Red Wings broadcast earlier this week, it occurred to be that homerism might just be a reflection of the broadcasts of their favorite team's games. Just as a fer-instance, Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond are, shall we say, excessive in their praise of Detroit every night.
The way they see it, Pavel Datsyuk(notes) should not only win the Hart, Selke, Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Lady Byng every year, but he should at least be runner up for the Vezina and in the conversation for Jack Adams. Every play he makes is brilliant and every mistake exonerated (not that there are too many of the latter to explain away.
And that got me thinking: does a broadcast with homer announcers lead to more homerism from fans?
(Coming Up: Your Movember update, #ECHLMarketingIdeas and Pearls of BizNasty.)
The answer, according to an unscientific poll conducted on Twitter at 10:30 at night on a Wednesday, is a resounding yes.
Among the broadcast crews accused of breeding homerism in supporters (by other fans, of course): Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, Detroit red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals.
It only makes sense. People watch 82 games a season plus playoffs (so never mind that part, Toronto fans) having two guys tell them how great the team they're watching is. That's a lot of brainwashing spread out over the course of two and a half hours a game. There's only so much you can absorb before you start espousing it yourself.
Not that I don't get it. Far, far more often than not, broadcasters are on the team's payroll or are at least hired at the team's discretion. No doubt they have a mandate to push a very pro-home team agenda on any broadcast. Hell, Billy Jaffe was blocked earlier this summer from continuing the fine job he did as Islanders play-by-play man because he wasn't positive enough, in the team's opinion.
It's funny that the little poll I ran came the day before Jack Edwards, widely regarded to be one of the biggest homers in broadcasting (it's not often you see announcers openly laugh at another team's players), ran a rather insightful but still silly column in which he espoused his belief that the NHL's real-time stats crews don't do a good enough job.
However, what prompted him to make that point was that he didn't think the guys on the Bruins got enough credit for their hits and blocked shots.
In a game they won 5-2. With ease.
People are always looking for instances of their team getting insulted or slighted in some way. Gives 'em something to get worked up about. And maybe, just maybe, broadcasters are, in fact, the reason.
Try watching your favorite team's next game on mute and see how you feel about it then. Maybe you'll actually form your own unbiased opinions and stop annoying everyone else.
It's currently Movember, the month in which people embrace their inner hipster to grow mustaches for a good cause.
We've seen a number of pro hockey players start growing a 'stache to raise money for testicular and prostate cancer research, including Shea Weber(notes), JP Dumont(notes), Pekka Rinne(notes), Steve Sullivan(notes) and like half the Anaheim Ducks. George Parros(notes) is the most famous among them.
So keep an eye out for your favorite NHL players' dusters, or grow your own and raise some money for a hell of a goddamn good cause. Besides, how awesome did Daniel Day-Lewis' flavor saver look in There Will Be Blood? You could look like that!
We all know a lot of minor league hockey teams struggle to get people into the building without some kind of wacky promotion. Bring Your Dog Night, Star Wars Fanboy Night, Silly Jersey That's Sure to Offend Your Sensibilities as a Hockey Fan Night, and so on.
With that in mind, the marketing whiz kids on Twitter cooked up some ECHL marketing ideas that are sure to draw literally tens of fans.
@sirdesmond: "Bring your unlicensed firearm to a game and receive a free Steakums voucher!"
@HockeyPunx: " ECHL: Caaaaarrr! ...Game on!"
@UTPbrandon: "The other team forgot their net, so we're going half court tonight"
@AndrewCieslak: "Remember Slapshot? That was awesome."
@HockeyJoePHT: "Looking for all of Doug Risebrough's favorite prospects? We got 'em."
Pearls of Biz-dom
BizNasty on regret: "u know how lebron had the hour special about 'the decision'. We should do an hour long special called 'the bad decisions'.
If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.