Disaster Wins: Sports and the Economy

so…during 9/11 there was a bunch of hoopla’ made out of sports championships…the documentary about how the yankees fueled the spirit of New York City making it to the world series right after 9/11…then the conspiracy theorists who commented on how the patriots winning the super bowl was a hoax because they were named the “patriots”…so, with the economy in the toilet and our country still at war…which baseball team symbolically will do more for the economy of those teams still in the race…

1. Phillies
2. Dodgers
3. White Sox
4. Red Sox
5. Rays
6. Angels

– Julio

As usual, when I find myself out of my league with a question, I consult someone smarter and better equipped to respond. This week, given that this is a sports question and my knowledge of baseball is limited to why the Pirates and Astros suck, and that my good friend Javi is the Sports Anchor for KTSM, the El Paso NBC affiliate, I thought I’d let him take the helm. So, here’s the Java Man’s analysis.

Adri,

Here’s my response:

First of all, there was no conspiracy behind the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. It was just the first year that Bill Belichick’s system came together.

Now to your question: Eliminate any team from LA. While there are hard core and great fans out there, there are just way too many people that just don’t care. Why? Because they’re in LA! It’s sunny and 80 degrees every day! If a sports team loses, there are a million other things to put your mind on.

Eliminate Boston. Another championship for Boston-area sports teams would just piss people off because they’ve won six championships since 2001 (Patriots 3, Red Sox 2, Celtics 1).

Eliminate Tampa Bay. See: LA. Except even fewer people give a crap. They had one of the lowest attendance averages in the majors despite having one of the best records in the league throughout the season.

With the Cubs eliminated, that leaves only one longg-suffering team to root for in a big enough city that might actually make a difference: the Philadelphia Phillies.

The city of Phildelphia has not won a major sports championship since 1980, when the Phillies did it. The Eagles have practically become to the NFL what the Red Sox used to be to the Majors. They come so close so often, but can never get there: 4 NFC Championship games and 1 Super Bowl loss in a four-year span. The 76ers have been horrible except for a run they made with Allen Iverson that culminated in an NBA Finals appearance where they lost to LA in five games. Nobody cares about the NHL. No major network even carries regular season games. People in NHL cities don’t care! But when the Flyers made it to the conference finals in 2004, with a legitimate shot at winning a championship, people came out of the woodwork, and the collective hockey world rooted for them before they lost in seven games to the eventual champion.

And then there’s the Phillies, who have been around since 1883, but only have one championship. The latest batch of players has shown promise: namely Ryan Howard (not the temp from The Office), who won Rookie of the Year and MVP in back-to-back years. Last year the Phillies won the division, but were swept out of the playoffs in the first round. This year, they’re in the NLCS against the Dodgers and the whole city is in a frenzy.

Can you blame them? All they’ve had since 1980 are the Rocky movies.

There you have it. Philly’s coming out to bat in the name of our terrible finances and the power of metaphor.

>

*I’d like to point out that Pittsburgh certainly cared about the Penguins last season. Take that, Mr. Sports Man!