BLOOMINGBURG, NY – Not long ago – or so it seems (when you age, you lose all concept of days, months and years), there was a daily commenter named Time Warp Tony. TWT would reference sports names and events from years long past and his comments were funny and appropriate because that is the Meet The Matts mission statement is: Where sports get funny. Recently, if I’m not giving my NFL Picks or talking hockey, my posts are based upon the same past tense as Tony but in a cranky voice. The sh1t hit the fan beginning on Wednesday night and carried over to Thursday. Let me explain…
The Mets brilliant one-hit shutout matinee against the Reds (Communists must hate that nickname), left me scrambling for something, anything, to watch on tv. With 150 channels there is crap to view every day once hockey folds the tent. The NFL Network sucked me into watching the trilogy of Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowls (There, I said it!). I was flipping back and forth and knew when to catch the big plays, shifts in momentum and/or turning points. Maybe I thought punter Mitch Hoopes wouldn’t get his punt blocked in the end zone and the young Dallas team would prevail, or Jackie Smith would catch the ball in the end zone in the rematch. Neither happened but it brought me back to a time when sports was fun and what I lived for… unlike today.
Wednesday got worse when I tuned into ESPN 2 for the NHL Expansion Draft held live outdoors in the new
Kracken’s Kraken’s Seattle home. To Cam James’ credit, and something I knew as well, we warned of ESPN killing hockey for us and other rabid puck fanatics as well. Coverage was atrocious and the NHL became a caricature of sorts. This was one event that NBCSN would have given proper due. Anyway, in the crowd were former Seattle Supersonics Lenny Wilkins, Shawn Kemp and Gary “The Glove” Payton, who according to ESPN emcee Chris Fowler, “Are huge hockey fans.” BWAHA! While hockey is for everyone, I bet Kemp couldn’t tell a hockey puck from a missed child support payment and Payton a slap shot from a bank shot! Great idea to have players from a team whose ownership left the city high and dry. What does that say to fans in this new NHL city? How long will you guys be here before turning into what became of the Minnesota North Stars? Marshawn Lynch was there too. Dominic Moore wasn’t much help to Fowler, as he seemed out of place with little to say. It was so awkward I had to turn it off ten minutes in. The third Pittsburgh-Dallas Super Bowl reminded me how fortunate the Cowboys were in winning that game. Larry Brown won MVP for the Cowboys but it really should’ve been Neil O’Donnell.
Then Thursday came the news that Cleveland dropped the Indians nickname which has been such for over 100 years for the Guardians. I’m sick of the Cancel Culture. I’m sick of gazillionaire performers (athletes, musicians, actors) protesting something. People pay to see you perform and not to hear your political opinions. The Washington Football Team (really should be WTF!) is on the clock and I hope they resist in settling for a new nickname that’s politically correct in appeasing those in an uproar. As a matter of fact, lets all just give teams a generic moniker,naming the city and sport they represent. How does New Zealand rugby get away with All Blacks? Please tell me.
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Gone are the characters of the game due in large part to their every word being parsed and scrutinized. Sports is no longer fun for me. I stopped watching the NBA long ago. Baseball has been broken with new rules and nerds talking about exit velocity and spin rate. The NFL is nearing the end for me, as I’m no longer interested in watching eight games at once at the bar because I really don’t care. Hockey is still very fun for me but trust me, ESPN will ruin that. Add it all up and this is my last column ever.
After ten years contributing here there is no joy in my sports Mudville anymore.