FanDuel - WFBC

March 06, 2008

Bob Ryan on the Rebirth of the Regular Season:

"Do not listen to people who say it's only about championships and only about the playoffs. It can't be if there is to be any meaning to this whole thing known as fandom. The fact is that the playoff dynamic is quirky. Luck and circumstance play a large role. If you invest in a sports team for the sole purpose of seeing it through to a championship, and for no other reason, the overwhelming odds are that you will be disappointed."

posted by yerfatma to basketball at 12:38 PM - 9 comments

I posted this to Basketball, but it's really for sport in general.

posted by yerfatma at 12:38 PM on March 06

Sometimes when you follow a team for so long through many dismal regular seasons, you get such a tremendous feeling when they have a successful regular season that you almost dread the actual playoffs. You feel the playoffs will ultimately end without a championship and that (an unsuccessful playoff run) may be the only thing you actually remember. You're then left with that fear the team may never reach that level for several more years. That's why football is so difficult, because you live and die through a full schedule of regular season games, grind to get into the playoffs, and once there, one bad play can end it all. The Celtics finally (and their fans) finally enjoying so much success this season probably speaks to what I'm trying to say. The fans are having so much fun that it's a shame anything less than a championship will now leave many utterly disappointed.

posted by dyams at 01:46 PM on March 06

That's really well put, because it's exactly how I feel about this season. I don't really want the regular season to come to a close. I wonder how people feel in this situation in the EPL, where there is no Playoffs. Probably exhilirated because it fills Next Year with possibility.

posted by yerfatma at 02:34 PM on March 06

It's been and continues to be an amazing season in the NBA. With Boston and Detroit establishing themselves as the class of the East, take a look at the Western conference where literally a handful of games in the L column separate a first round home-court advantage and not even being in the playoffs. This is the best late REGULAR season that I can remember and with so many teams living and dying on every night's results, could it be that it can and actually WILL get better in April. Maybe, just maybe, the NFL ain't the only game around.

posted by jaygolf at 04:07 PM on March 06

I would agree with the sentiment, but perhaps it is applied to the wrong sport. In my opinion no other pro athlete wimps through more regular season games than an NBA player. In most sports the effort in the middle of the season is different from the playoffs, but in the NBA - it's ridiculous. They barely register caring for far too many games. (Not all players, but a huge chunk.) Talent wins most nights. The effort fluctuates wildly. See Pat Riley's remarks from the latest Heat game. Man wants to refund every ticket holder because his players "didn't care". Also - the next thing that occurred to me is that this is sacreligious to a Yankee fan. According to what I've heard, it is a point of pride to not care about anything but the playoffs and a ring.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:31 AM on March 07

According to what I've heard, it is a point of pride to not care about anything but the playoffs and a ring. That's true, to a point, but only because the Yankees, for example, make the playoffs practically every year (I can only hope that continues). Believe me, though, I get pissed with regards to countless regular season game, whether it be because of the way Torre would utilize the bullpen, his refusal to have someone bunt a runner over, etc. The regular season is fun to look back on only when a championship is attained. But if the Pittsburgh Pirates, for example, were to have a great regular season, their fans would experience a regular-season rush of excitement many have probably never had. The "only thing that matters is a ring" sentiment only kicks in after a few championships. The Red Sox fans will be experiencing similar sentiment the next few years. Sports with longer seasons, though, are dotted with games where teams seem to be "going through the motions" or almost accepting a loss. It never fails, though, at the end of the year, when the race gets close, how these same teams need to sweat and grind out every contest in order to make the postseason.

posted by dyams at 08:46 AM on March 07

See Pat Riley's remarks from the latest Heat game. Man wants to refund every ticket holder because his players "didn't care". I question Pat Riley's credibility in making these remarks. How many players did he let get away as free agents during the off season? I submit, as one example, that James Posey, had he been enticed to remain with Maimi, would have cared. Ryan's blog was somewhat a paean of praise for the Celtics. As far as players caring about regular season games, Boston has some. Paul Pierce cared enough to insist on the team being rebuilt. Danny Ainge cared enough to risk much of the future in order to put the pieces in place. Now, with Doc Rivers's coaching and Kevin Garnett's example and leadership forcing his team mates to conform, the Celtics care. They have pitched very few stinkers this season, and those few are excusable.

posted by Howard_T at 09:36 AM on March 07

The Red Sox fans will be experiencing similar sentiment the next few years. We're really only interested in undefeated seasons coupled with championships in New England. I submit, as one example, that James Posey, had he been enticed to remain with Maimi, would have cared. What a revelation that guy has been this year. My favorite new player, even with KG and Big Baby. I'm not saying he's the most important piece of the puzzle, but the night-in, night-out effort, the calming influence and the intelligence just shows. Would that we had a dozen James Poseys (of various sizes and speeds).

posted by yerfatma at 10:25 AM on March 07

I don't really want the regular season to come to a close. I wonder how people feel in this situation in the EPL, where there is no Playoffs. I think it works a little in reverse. I've been through seasons with scintillating cup runs -- most recently, the improbably pair of comebacks that got us to the UEFA Cup final, where we lost to a far better side -- and success in knockout competitions can leave you scrabbling for position in the league. (Ten years after the 'two finals, relegated on the last day', it still fucking hurts. The only salve is looking at Leeds Utd today.) But you buy your season ticket. It's a season long enough for there to be forgettable matches, but there are rarely ones that just don't matter. (Harry Pearson's essay in 'My Favourite Year' is a good take on being there for the season.) The obvious comparison to the Celtics' season is the Mariners in 2001, and that's memorable for all the wrong reasons: notch up 116 wins, struggle to win the divisional, crash out in the ALCS.

posted by etagloh at 12:32 PM on March 08

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