Saturday, May 2, 2009

Local Sports Missing the Point

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan came on the local radio program Fitz & Brooks, featuring Tom Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks, on KNBR 680 AM in San Francisco Friday morning. I listen to the show whenever I am in the car between noon and 2:30pm, when I switch over to KFAX 1100 AM to hear Pastor Paul Sheppherd do "Enduring Truth."

This afternoon I made an exception and stayed on KNBR because they were discussing the interview, and it is so rare that they talk about a team I care about.

I am not much of an NBA fan because its officiating is a joke and I am not much of a baseball fan because of the tilted playing field. They are much more likely to talk about those sports than hockey. Even if I were to follow a team in those sports, it would be the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers who I grew up watching, for I am a Cheesehead.

Which also means I do not care about the sorry Oakland Raiders or even that much about my wife's team, the San Francisco Forty-Niners. For a Packers fan, there is little room in our hearts to love any team other than the only non-profit professional sports team in the world, and the only team owned by the community.

But there is no NHL hockey team in Wisconsin, so there was one team I could adopt from my new home I hope to stay in, the glorious Bay Area: the San Jose Sharks. So even though I am upset at the team for not caring as much as I do, I stayed with KNBR.

Big mistake.

See, it is not that these two guys do not know sports or are not entertaining. It is not even that I am some Christian prude who cannot handle the locker room humour and worldly mentality that the two play to; I know that plays well to their mainstream audience and besides, I used to be in those locker rooms.

It is that they do not know hockey well enough. Even more than that, it is that they measure the Sharks by the pitiful competition in the Bay Area.

Case in point: "Let that be a lesson to you other Bay Area teams—don't make the playoffs, 'cause if you do, you better win the whole thing" or face an unreasonable response what at another point of the show they called "reactionary fans."

So let me get this straight: I am supposed to settle for regular season success just because no other Bay Area team can manage even that? And I am reactionary because I am upset that the Sharks have a losing post-season record over the four years since the lockout, thrice losing to lower seeded opponents and twice to an eight seed?

Oh, man, you are right—that is unreasonable! Four chances is hardly giving them a chance—you know the saying, "five strikes and you're out." And after all, who will remember the post-season success of a team that had so many wins in the regular season?

Quick, can you tell me who the most recent President's Trophy winners have been? Let me give it a shot as far back as I can without looking it up:

* 2009: San Jose Sharks
* 2008: Detroit Red Wings
* 2007: Buffalo Sabres
* 2006: Detroit Red Wings

Okay, that's as far as I can go. I think Tampa Bay may have won the year before the lockout, but I am not sure. I think Detroit won it in either 2002 or 2003. But I can name off the following past Cup winners:

* 2008: Detroit Red Wings
* 2007: Anaheim Ducks
* 2006: Carolina Hurricanes
* 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning
* 2003: New Jersey Devils
* 2002: Detroit Red Wings
* 2001: Colorado Avalanche
* 2000: New Jersey Devils
* 1999: Dallas Stars (not really—Hull absolutely was in the crease)
* 1998: Detroit Red Wings
* 1997: Detroit Red Wings
* 1996: Colorado Avalanche
* 1995: New Jersey Devils
* 1994: New York Rangers

I am pretty sure the winner the year before was Montreal, but it might have been in '92...and you get the picture score: Lord Stanley's Cup 14, President's Trophy 4. Looks kinda like the combined score of the Sharks' first-round tilt with Anaheim.

But I am the guy being unreasonable.

Here is a further look at how wrong that opinion is: That is why I could not take their stupidity anymore and turned off the radio.