October 13, 2004

Egads, I'm Tired

But I have a couple thoughts to share, just so you all know I'm not dead or incapacitated...

- I thought this last debate was a draw. Both men largely rehashed points they made in the first two debates, and little new ground was covered. Neither man made any major blunders, although I thought Bush's speech patterns were a bit odd early on and he had a tendency to grin at the oddest, most inappropriate times. And what some people call "passion," I call "ranting." I'd give Bush and Kerry both Bs for this debate.

- Anyone remember the movie "Raising Helen"? It came out in theaters a while ago, and now it's on DVD. I didn't see it then, and don't plan to now. But I did find it interesting that they seem to have completely repackaged the pitch for this movie. When it came out, as I recall, they were selling it as a screwball comedy about a self-absorbed nitwit being forced to raise someone else's kid. Now, they're selling it as a romance in which someone finds happiness and fulfillment through The Perfect Guy (played by John Corbett, who played the groom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Frankly, the other movie looked more appealing.

- I have this to say about the new Burger King commercial, featuring a man waking up in bed next to The King: Stop it. It's creepy, it's disturbing, it gives me nightmares. I'll never eat at Burger King again until they yank that commercial. Stop it. Right. Now.

- I see the NHL handed a $250,000 smackdown to Atlanta Thrashers owner Steve Belkin because Belkin dared to suggest that the NHL might run next season with replacement players, if no agreement is reached. I think the NHL is being idiotic. For one thing, neither side is saying a damn thing about this situation, and anyone willing to speak openly and honestly deserves a medal, not a fine. For another, as Papa Shaft pointed out, "Why wait till next year?" Isn't it better for the NHL to produce a product, even a substandard one, than to lose an entire year and permanently cripple the league in the minds and hearts of the public? I say bring on the replacement players! Anything that brings on a quicker settlement and preserves the league.

- Couple good follow-up comments on the Washington name game.

First, from Papa Shaft:

I suppose I could get behind "Washington Potomacs" as a distant third behind Senators and Nationals. I don't think it sounds great and I'm not exactly enthusiastic about the idea, but it's a sight better than Grays and at least has a bit of local wackiness to it (like the "Philadelphia Phillies" or the "New York Met(ropolitan)s").

I think the main problem with Grays is one of the things that MF mentioned - it's dead boring. In order for a sports team name to be marketable, it needs to be either: a) exciting, or b) have some sort of traditional connection to the city.

To that end, let's take a look at another Senators - the Ottawa NHL team. Sure, the new owners in 1992 could have named the team something like Ice Breakers, Igloos or Thrashers (how ridiculous!), but instead they went with a traditional name that goes back to the earliest days of the NHL. And fans in the area overwhelmingly supported the name Ottawa Senators, a fact proven by polls at the time. People loved the choice because, in their minds, there was really nothing else that an Ottawa hockey team could or should be called. Ottawa Senators is traditional, and had a tight connection to the area, even if it hadn't actually been used in decades.

In the case of the Washington Senators, we have an even stronger case. People want this name because many actually went to Senators games as kids (not a lot of Ottawans could say that back in the early '90s), and want to pass those memories, those experiences along to their kids. And with baseball, people just tend to like tradition, particularly here on the east coast. The Arizona Diamondbacks may work better out west, where tradition is thrown in the shredder with Enron documents, but here in the east it's traditional names that are far more marketable: Yankees. Red Sox. Braves. Orioles. Indians. Phillies. Reds. Senators.

It just works. And people in this area seem to agree on that. In the end, that's really all that matters.

I think I overstated my enthusiasm for the "Potomacs" name in my last column. I do like it, though; it's got an old-school ring to it. I agree with everything else you wrote. Bonus points for the reference to Enron documents.

Also, Carl of FoolBlog wants to remind us of something:

While I agree with Papa Shaft that a Negro Leagues museum at the new ballpark would be great, the unaware may read into his comments that there's no remembrances of the Negro Leagues anywhere. I assume, though, that he knows the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is alive and well in Kansas City, and well worth a visit.

Thanks, Carl, and a good point for anyone who might not have known about this. I've never been to the museum myself, but I've heard that it's excellent and I intend to check it out at the first opportunity. I encourage all my readers to do the same.

Gosh, I'm beat. I need an aspirin, a backrub, and a long soak in the tub. Alas, none of these appear to be in the offing. Ah, well. See you tomorrow.

Posted by Fred at October 13, 2004 11:36 PM

I totally second that Burger King commercial thing. Ew. Ew. Ew. And, I saw Raising Helen. And before you even ask, yes, it sucked. I see a lot a bad movies. It's my "thing." :) In actuality, this movie turned out to be neither romantically comical or screwbally comical. Again, it just sucked.

Posted by: ensie at October 14, 2004 12:18 AM

>>I assume, though, that he knows the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is alive and well in Kansas City, and well worth a visit.

Thanks, Carl. Didn't mean to imply that there wasn't a Negro Leagues museum. And honestly, it's in a good place, in the home of one of the strongest (if not *the* strongest) Negro Leagues franchise.

I do think, though, that Washington would be a more visible place to have another museum honoring the Negro Leagues, because it's a much larger market, it has tourists out the yinyang who need to be educated about black Americans' contributions to the game, and perhaps most appropriate, DC is one of the capitals of black America. Combining a Negro Leagues museum with this sort of market, plus a sparkling new ballpark right on a Metro line would create a win-win situation for everyone, I think.

Posted by: PapaShaft at October 14, 2004 12:02 PM
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