FIRE JOE MORGAN: I Am Being Baited

FIRE JOE MORGAN

Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

 

I Am Being Baited

But, okay, I'll be baited. Because the bait is a delicious juicy worm of an article about Boston vs. New York, pierced on the lure of an expert sportsman who looks like this:


I've missed you old buddy. Welcome back.

How does Boston compare to N.Y.? It doesn’t

Big Apple superior to Boston in nightlife, atmosphere, and especially sports

Let me begin by agreeing, agreeing, and saying: "Fuck the heck?" Among even the most ardent supporters of Boston, MA you will find few who think it is a "better" city than New York. New York is much larger, has many more people and things, and stays open very late. New York is awesome. Boston is also awesome, but in a smaller, more ornery way.

This is why I believe that this is one of those fun sports journalism articles designed to rile people up, get them screaming and yelling on the comment boards, make them send the link of the article to their buddy Weebs in Rehoboth with a note that says "Look at this fucking guy who thinks Boston sucks!" and drive traffic to the site. It's pretty transparently concocted to drive Boston fans nuts. Having said that, and knowing that I am 100% on to you, HatGuy, let me now spend two hours of my life reprinting and dissecting it. Then you'll see who's boss!

Beantown? That’s it? Beantown?

There may be a city with a worse nickname somewhere, although I’m not sure what it could possibly be. Is there a Phlegmville out there?

Well, thanks to the fine people at this site, I can offer you some options:

Annapolis, Maryland is "Crabtown." That's pretty bad. Beaver, OK -- already a terrible name for a place -- proudly self-identifies as "The Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World." Well done. Birmingham, AL can't even really distinguish itself, when it announces that it's "The Pittsburgh of the South." Lyons, KS, about 30 miles due north of me here in Partridge, advertises itself as "The Unexpected Pleasure." Dubious, if you've ever been to Lyons. Santa Rosa, NM boasts that it's "The SCUBA-Diving Capital of New Mexico," which: isn't NM a land-locked desert? Noxubee County, Mississippi, waves on its flag: "Home of the Dancing Rabbit Festival and Magnolia Pilgrimage," next to which "Beantown" looks pretty effing good.

Boston also has: The Athens of America, The City of Kind Hearts, The Cradle of Liberty, The Hub of the Universe, and Puritan City, which are all pretty good.

On the one hand, you got Beantown. On the other, you got the Big Apple, Gotham, the City that Never Sleeps. Did Sinatra ever sing a song about Boston? Did anybody? Even the old rock group “Boston” never sang a song about Boston.

I don't love "The Big Apple," particularly, though it did lead to a truly excellent moment in rock music history when Mick Jagger exhorted: Go ahead / Bite the Big Apple / Don't mind the maggots. Gotham is okay, the City that Never Sleeps is wonderful. As for Sinatra, no, I don't believe he did ever sing about Boston. Though the band Boston certainly did. They even mention Hyannis, which is like Sinatra adding a line to "New York, New York" about how fun it is to hang out in Amagansett.

What were we talking about? Oh right -- nothing.

No wonder Boston has such an inferiority complex. Compared to New York, it really is inferior.

Again, in terms of cities qua cities, not a lot of dissent here. Not proving anything. Not getting anyone riled up. New York City, population: 8.2 million or so, the cultural, economic, and all-night society capital of the country/world, is "superior" to Boston, small/ancient/ provincial whaling town, population 600,000+. You really know how to take a controversial position.

This is like saying: "Benin? Fuck that. America is the superior country."

You want to put Boston in a good light, pick a comparable town. Like Cleveland. Or Sacramento. Maybe Minneapolis.

This is probably a good idea, actually. Comparable cities and climates (except Sacramento). I think Boston rates pretty favorably here, though the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra is among the finest in the world, and Minneapolis has an excellent music scene. Anyway, all fine cities, all better comps for Beantown than New York, which should only be compared to like London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo...places like that.

Now let's get to the really stupid part: sports.

OK, Boston’s won two World Series in the past four seasons and the Foxborough Patriots have won three of the past six Super Bowls. Even a New Yorker will admit that’s a nice little run. But can we have a little perspective here?

Most days of my life recently have included someone -- friend or new acquaintance -- saying some version of this to me: "Wow -- life is pretty good for you right now." And they are right, and they are not talking about my recent promotion to Associate District Director of Claims Oversight here at Fremulon Ins., Inc. What they are talking about is my love of New England-based sports franchises. And they are saying it because -- if you don't closely follow sports but somehow closely follow this blog -- the NE Patriots are about to play in their fourth Super Bowl in seven years, and feature a quarterback who is somehow handsomer at the end of each game than he was at the beginning; the Boston Red Sox have won two of the last four World Serieses; the Boston Celtics are 33-6; and also there is a hockey team.

That's a pretty amazing run, by any city's standards.

And since we are pretty clearly heading for a HatGuy history lesson, allow me to add for the record that the Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2000; the Giants are currently in the Super Bowl (the ostensible point of this article, I guess) but haven't generally been that good in the last several years; the Jets are the Jets; the Mets are the Mets (and were doubly the Mets last year); the Knicks, one suspects, are about to be disbanded after what will most likely be some kind of like RICO-style Federal intervention; and also there are two hockey teams.

In the first decade of this young century, there can be absolutely no question that Boston is the all-sports center of the universe. That's not fanboyism. That's just the situation. Soon, the ride will end, and maybe New York, or Dallas, or San Francisco, or Atlanta will emerge. But 2000-2008, so far, taking all sports into consideration, it's Boston, and anyone who says differently is stubborn or weird or looking for a scrap. Or HatGuy.

The Yankees won the World Series five straight years from 1949-53 and went to the World Series in 10 of 11 seasons. More recently, they won three straight and four out of five. The Red Sox have, what, six titles? Call me when you get to 26, which is what the Yankees have, and then I’ll start adding in all the titles won by the Giants, Dodgers and Mets and you can slink back up I-95 and comfort yourselves with a nice, warm pot of beans.

As far as baiting goes, this is pretty tepid stuff. My blood can boil, friends, and right now I'm maybe at like 98.7 or so. History doesn't concern me so much. England ruled the world for hundreds of years, but I'd invest in China right now over the UK if given the choice, no matter how many pro-Henry IV essays you might churn out. It also doesn't help your case so much when you point out that New York has had four professional baseball franchises, since it only highlights how absurd the comparison is between the two cities. (You think the Peruvian army is awesome? How about I send the US Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and various state militias! Then we'll see how good Peru's army is!)

I’ll grant you that nobody has ever dominated any sport the way the old Celtics did back when the NBA wasn’t important enough to get its playoff games broadcast nationally. And the Bruins were a pretty good hockey team back when the Knicks, which used to be a basketball team, were also pretty good.

Thank you for acknowledging that the Celtics (still) have the most NBA titles. Bill Russell has more rings than fingers to put them on.

But what have you guys really done? Three football titles, which matches the three that the Giants and Jets have won — not counting pre-Super Bowl championships, of which the Giants have four.

What have you guys done? Three football titles, which is barely the same number as these two teams have when added together! Pathetic.

A couple of World Series wins after 86 years of nothing, zip, nada.

Yes, those were bad, dark days. Fortunately, they are over now, and the team has now won two of the last four. So things are looking up, I'd say.

A basketball team that could win a title again — 22 years after its last one. In the immortal words of former Net Derrick Coleman, whoop-de-damn-do.

It will be its seventeenth, if it happens. Why are you allowed to cite Yankee championships of the 1940's, Jet championships of the 60's, and Giant championships of the 80's, but all previous Celtics championships are disregarded with a pithy Derrick Coleman rebuff? As Mark Eaton once said, "What the fuck is your point?"

And when you get done feeling good about all of that, what’s left? New York has Broadway and Wall Street and Fashion Avenue and Harlem and Spanish Harlem and more museums than you can shake a palette knife at. Boston has, well, I’m not sure what it has. I was going to say Harvard and M.I.T., but those aren’t really in Boston; they’re across the river in Cambridge.

Burned! Boston, you got burned. Hard. That is a hard burn, man. Wow. That is some cold, cold shit right there. Damn! Burned to a crispy carbony ash. Bam. Shut down. Down for the count. TKO, HatGuy.

HatGuy is schizophrenically having the kind of argument two five year-olds might have about their dads.

"My dad has won a lot of sports championships recently."
"...Well...but...my dad has a Porsche."
"What does that have to do with sports championships?"
"...My house is bigger."

Anyway, even if we give Boston Harvard, when all of those movers and shakers take delivery of their sheepskins and go out into the great world, they don’t stay in Boston. They go to New York or Washington or somewhere else important.

Some of them stay in Boston. But yes, many of them do leave, so they can be in much bigger cities with more cultural, political, and economic advantages, like New York. You are so totally proving an awesome point!

Now, it may be that Boston has charms that I haven’t seen during my many visits to that town. And given the condition of the local streets, I never will see them.

Have you ever tried to get anywhere in Boston? There’s not a single 90-degree intersection in the entire city. And the next time someone stops for a red light will be the first.

New York -- and I say this having lived for several years in both places -- is a far more dangerous town for pedestrians. This might be due to the fact that it has 7.6 million more people, and people walk a lot more. I would put Boston navigation on the far end of the bell curve for difficulty, yes, but you really haven't seen difficult until you emerge drunkenly from a bar deep in the West Village at 4:18 AM and try to find Seventh Avenue.

OK, so there are subways, but they close down at night. What good is that?

It's not terrible. For a city of its size, Boston's T system is pretty clean, safe, and effective. And not surprising that New York's subways remain in operation for more hours, given, again, the 18.4 million person/tax base advantage they service.

Speaking of subways, have you ever wondered why in New York the subways are identified by letters and numbers, while in Boston they go by colors? Could it be that when they built their systems, people in New York could actually read and count? Just asking.

Am I most upset by (a) how bad a joke this is, (b) how lame a dig it is, (c) how clumsily it is presented, (d) how transparent an attempt to get Bostonites angry it is, or (e) that he ended it with "Just asking," as if that's like the final twist of the knife after this devastating indictment of Eastern Massachusetts's intelligence level? Oh -- or (f) the fact that Boston is famously like hyper-literate, rendering the whole dumb gambit nonsensical, to go along with lame and sad?

I'll say: (a).

I’ll grant that Boston was a great city as recently as 220 years ago. And while New York was coddling Tories because that’s where the money was, Boston was off firing the shot heard round the world and starting the Revolution. (Of course, once Boston started it and fought a battle or two, it shipped the whole thing off to New York, New Jersey and Philly and finally to the Carolinas and Virginia and took the rest of the war off.) Back then, the only city with as much cachet as Boston was Philadelphia.

Can anyone effing believe how long an article this is?

But when it came time to choose a capital for the newly formed United States, George Washington rode up to New York City. And when the Founding Fathers were looking for a place to put the National Treasure, they put that in New York, too — or was that just a movie?

I honestly wonder whether HatGuy knows that the U.S. Capital is currently not New York.

Anyway, it’s been a while since the days when if you said “Adams,” people didn’t automatically think of beer. Boston’s a fine little town, one that I have had many wonderful times in. But it ain’t New York, not in sports and not in anything else.

No, it is not New York in many many aspects. But it is far superior to New York in sports, 2000-present. And you are a poor flame-fanner.

I admit it’s not perfect in New York. We do have to put up with Donald Trump, and Rudy Giuliani refuses to shut up and go talk family values with his third wife.

Take...that?

But on the whole, it’s a heck of a town.

Yes it is, my friend. Yes, it is.

Now what the fuck is your point?

Labels: , , , , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:30 PM
Comments:
From David:

Boswell, Indiana, proclaims itself to be the "Hub of the Universe" -- on their friggin' water tower, no less:

http://www.davehonan.com/spring04/boswell-in-2-04-04-04-l.jpg

The only other claims to fame this place has are that:

a) it's on US 41, and

b) the railroad which runs through town is nicknamed the "Kabeeser"
(Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern).

 
Peter gets a gold star for being the first to point out that HatGuy's dig about the Pats' home town actually being Foxborough is DoubleDumb, because (a) they are called the New England Patriots, and Foxborough is in New England, and (b) you can't nail them for not "counting" as a Boston franchise in a pointless Boston-NY article because both NY NFL teams play in New Jersey.
 
I hyperbolically set the population of NYC at 19 million, but it was (understandably) confusing people, so I have changed the figured to accurately reflect the 2005 census.
 
Steve steps up and speaks for New Mexico SCUBA enthusiasts:

Dear Hat Guy Hater:

http://www.newmexico.org/place/loc/destinations/page/DB-place/place/118.html

Blue Hole Santa Rosa�s Blue Hole is an 81-foot-deep artesian well bordered by a ring of sandstone featuring azure waters in a soda bottle-shaped configuration.

The well was once used as a fish hatchery, but it now serves as a dive-training and recreational site for those with water on their minds.

Because the water has a stable temperature of 61 degrees F, you can dive here year-round (winter is the busiest season) with just a quarter-inch wetsuit as thermal protection. Down in the well, the scenery is surreal.

The cylindrical sides are as wide as 130 feet in places, and the gray rock walls are covered with a thin film of algae. The water itself is a deep, clear blue, with visibility up to 80 feet. A metal grate covers the opening to the spring, which feeds the well with a flow of 3,000 gallons of water per minute. The Santa Rosa Dive Center is open on weekends to rent gear and provide air fills. The shop opens midweek only by appointment for certified divers and groups.

 
Hat tip to Michael for this:

For Hat Guy...

Championships since the establishment of the AFL and the New England Patriots in 1960:

Boston
Red Sox: 2
Celtics: 15
Bruins: 2
Patriots: 3

Total: 22


New York
Yankees: 8
Mets: 2
Giants: 2
Jets: 1
Rangers: 1
Islanders: 4
Knicks: 2

Total: 20

 
Paul says:

I take no issue with your picking apart of Hat-Huy's article, but me being a Mississippi boy, I must take issue of making fun of Neshoba County and Dancing Rabbit. Remember, that is where the Choctaw Indian Reservation is located and Dancing Rabbit Country Club features two Tom Fazio designed courses. One of those courses was named in Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 places to play in the country.

Yeah, there's Silver Star and Golden Moon Casinos as well. And it's really nice, come on down from Partridge and let's play a few holes and gamble some.

Here's a link: http://www.dancingrabbitgolf.com/

 
Devin points out:

Let's also note that the Giants, pre-Super Bowl, lost in the Championship game a whopping eleven times. So those four victories kind of look embarrassing in retrospect.
 
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