With the Vegas Golden Knights all set in their Western Conference Final matchup against the Winnipeg Jets (puck drop set for tonight), now is probably a good time to sIt and ponder the significance of the team’s nearly unprecedented success in their first season.
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Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights: Successful by design?
Note that it’s “nearly unprecedented” success. Longtime puckheads know that the St. Louis Blues–under a young Scotty Bowman, no less–made the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. True, they were in a division with all the rest of the league’s initial expansion teams, so some new team had to make it all the way to the Final in its first season–but they did it before the Golden Knights, so the current darlings of the NHL are not really breaking new ground.
There is, however, a minor undercurrent that seems to believe that, as with that first expansion season, Vegas has benefited from a “rigged” situation. According to some, the league made it too easy for the GK’s to achieve their rapid success–and that the NHL, ostensibly horrified at how far Vegas has taken their puck and run with it, will make sure that such lightning-quick success will “never happen again.”
So the pundits may say. However, if you think about it, the most likely scenario says that the exact opposite will be true. What we’re seeing on the ice in Las Vegas may, in fact, be the wave of the future. Continue reading Thinking, Expansive And Otherwise
Good is good, and better is better. And then there’s the best–as in “the best seat in the house.”
At your local ballpark, the best seat in the house is usually right behind home plate, perhaps just a row or two behind the backstop. At the nearby Oakland Coliseum, those seats are known as the “Diamond Level”; the name may change at your local stadium, but these days almost all parks are equipped with seating that’s right down on the field and right next to the action.
Shohei Ohtani takes a pitch during an extra-inning at bat during the season opening game between the Angels and the A’s at the Coliseum–as viewed for the Diamond Level. (Author’s photo)
I had a chance to sit in those seats on Opening Day at the Coliseum last month. A friend was going with her son-in-law and there was one extra ticket, so I got a call the day before the opener asking me if I’d like to join in the fun–for free. On Opening Day. In the warm California sun.
Wow. What an opportunity. And there’s no way anyone could complain about that. Right? Well… Continue reading Is Diamond Level A Fan’s Best Friend?
NBA Playoffs: The Stakes
With the NBA playoffs about to begin within a matter of hours, now would probably be a good time to review just what is at stake for all of the participants in the Association’s tourney:
Continue reading NBA Playoffs: The Stakes
Showing Too Much Constraint
Despite this blog’s title, I really do try to just appreciate the world of sports. I really do. But just when I think that I can let the deficiencies and annoyances slide, I’m slapped in the face with something so egregious that I have to bare the fangs and the claws again.
The latest effrontery? Nine of the most hateful words in all of sports broadcasting:
“Due to time constraints, we move ahead in our game.”
Continue reading Showing Too Much Constraint
Bitching about the prevalance of advertising in the sports world is nothing new for The DFR. Indeed, it’s a recurring theme around here.
However, the practice of treating the eyes of sports fans as a perpetual advertising dump has recently taken on a new dimension in the NBA. This season, for the first time in the Association’s history, the advertising has migrated from the broadcasts and every available surface in the arenas to the very uniforms the players are wearing.
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The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis sports a Zatarain’s logo — whether he likes it or not
This change has happened with hardly a ripple of protest or comment from the nation’s (or for that matter, the world’s) NBA fans. Apparently, at this point, people have become so inured to the constant assault that is advertising that introducing a little bit of “branding” on a player’s chest is not even worth noticing for most observers.
Still, you’d think it might ring a few more bells than it has, given that the NBA’s workforce largely consists of Black people. Because once upon a time in this country, Black people getting “branded”–by their almost-universally White owners–meant something entirely different from sporting the logo of some famous (or obscure) business concern.
It’s enough to make a knowledgable observer cite–not for the first time–the famous philosopher Timon from The Lion King: “And everybody’s OK with this?!” Continue reading Branding Without Irons, Or Irony