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Monday, April 10, 2006

Was Jerry Right?

Don't worry, this isn't another baseball post. But it's been interesting to see the fan reactions when it comes to Barry Bonds. When the Giants opened the season in San Diego, the fan reception from the typically laid-back San Diegans was hostile, with one fan even tossing a plastic syringe (no needle) onto the field toward Bonds. Yet, at Friday's home opener in San Francisco, the slugger received a standing ovation.

Reading these stories, basically anyone who's not a Giants fan thinks Bonds is a cheater who should be kicked out of the league, or at least have his records minimized or taken away. But the Giants fans all defend Bonds, with the most harsh comments being something along the lines of "He wasn't the only cheater." Certainly these Giants fans know that Bonds is likely a huge cheater whose stats are inflated by steroids. But because he's their guy - and won them so many games - they choose to ignore, or look past it.

We see this all the time in college football. Tosu has another player get a DUI and we're all over it. The Buckeye fans are full of rationalization and "What about Chris Webber?" comments. Tosu fans still cheer for Troy Smith even though he took money from a booster. But if he was the Michigan QB - and beating Tosu and getting to a BCS game - wouldn't the Wolverine fans be right behind him, saying how it's great that Carr gave him a second chance? Was Jerry Seinfeld right - do we just cheer for clothes regardless of the facts and what we know is right?

9 comments:

Willy Wonka said...

Sigh...

More Bonds panty-knotting. This argument is tired.

If you wanna pick on Bonds, you're headed down a slippery slope. Start taking away division and world championships, too.

Benny Friedman said...

HornsFan, the point of this post wasn't to pick on or defend Bonds, but rather to point out that where you stand on the argument usually depends on whether you're a Giants fan or not. And how immature that is.

The King said...

I think we can all agree on one thing, and that is the question that is on the mind of every sports fan in America:

CAN BARRY DO IT?

Anonymous said...

"Kramer only cares about Canadian football."

You got to love that!

nico said...

Personally, I get really pissed when guys on my teams do dumb crap. I don't try to play down or minimize their bad decisions.

Last year, Alabama's backup QB John Parker Wilson was arrested for a DUI as a 20 year old.

The underage drinking thing doesn't bother me as that is something 99% of people do in this country, the DUI, however, is a completely different animal. I was quite upset he only got a two game suspension...first offender or not.

Maybe I'm just more fired up by the fact that I've known people killed by drunk drivers, but DUI isn't an offense to take lightly.

Jeremie said...

Ask BPD what happens if an Army officer gets a DUI...

Yost said...

Nico,

Couldn't agree w/ you more. Minor in possession is typical college. DUI is something that can get folks killed.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

I heard this in church once and it’s definitely applicable, “Our sins look worse on other people.” It’s very easy to get subjective when looking at crimes committed by a rival’s athletes and crimes committed by your team’s athletes.

On another note, I think at least some of the appeal of collegiate athletics comes from the desire to root for a little more than just the clothes. I know my own drifting away from professional sports was due in part to teams moving from city to city and players and coaches changing teams yearly. I could never really make that jump from admiring an athlete one year to despising him the next simply because a team traded him.

There’s a continuity to college football that’s comforting. For the most part, Michigan athletes will always be Michigan athletes. There’s little risk of cheering for Charles Woodson as he plays a major role in Michigan’s undefeated season only to see him suiting up in scarlet and grey the next season.

Imagine the dilemma of Dallas Cowboy fans; the most physically gifted—and hate-able—player for their bitter rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, is now on their team. How can they rationalize cheering for him now? Do they still think he’s a selfish, me-first, locker room plague? And what about longtime fans of the Washington Redskins once they were bought by the loathsome Dan Snyder?

College football has a deeper tradition and the personalities of the athletes are generally subordinate to the characteristics of each school’s program. The universities will never move and—since athletes basically choose which schools they attend—there’s even a chance that some athletes are actually seeking to emulate their predecessors and continue certain traditions. We may at times bemoan the long, conservative shadow cast by Bo Schembechler on Michigan football, but at least we know what we’re getting.

It’s also good to know that whenever Michigan scores a touchdown, it’ll be celebrated by the band playing “The Victors” and we won’t have to be subjected to the stadium public address system blaring “Who Let the Dogs Out?” or whatever lame song is the fad that particular year. Since professional franchises change and evolve at a much more rapid rate, a fan of a particular style of play or coaching philosophy may finding himself stuck with a team that represents everything he hates within a few years.

Unfortunately, college football is not completely immune from this. It’s got to be confusing for Florida fans to see Steve Spurrier—the man pretty much responsible for Florida football—now coaching against them at South Carolina. And, an Alamo Bowl victory notwithstanding, these have got to be bewildering days for the generations of Nebraska fans raised on power running who now have to watch their team scamper around in the West Coast Offense.

And if one is going to simply root for the clothes, they don’t get any better than the Michigan football team’s.

Anonymous said...

This topic is fairly intriguing, but I think you are looking at this the wrong way. People that are rabid fans of one team are usually willing to rationalize any questional behavior from the members of that team. For example, I'm a rabid Hawkeye fan and I don't think the recent cell phone incident was that big of deal. However, I'm a casual fan of the rest of College football, and there are definantly programs that I would cheer for against other programs because of those same questional behaviors that were brought up earlier. I generally respect West Virginia and cheer for their them because they appear to have a clean program. By the same token, I would cheer for just about any team that is playing an out of conference game against an SEC team because almost all of the SEC schools have consistant off the field problems.
So am I cheering for laundry? Yes and no.