(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Philadelphia 76ers: "Are You Kidding Me?"

I was driving home last night, listening to Philadelphia-area sports talk.  After listening to the host -- who has a pronounced Philadelphia/Upper Dublin/Huntingdon Valley accent -- wax not-so-eloquent about the Eagles, I heard a 76ers' advertisement. 

The 76ers were playing their opener at Indiana, and this announcement, of course, was to sell tickets.  It featured, among other things, excited play-by-play calls of Tom McGinnis, the 76ers' radio announcer.  The ad features, among other things, a McGinnis reaction to a 76ers' play -- "Are you kidding me?"  All in the trademarked McGinnis semi-raspy, metal-on-metal voice.

And that got me to thinking -- "Are the 76ers kidding me?"  Sure, coach Brett Brown wants to win.  Sure, the players are trying hard -- Brown gets them to play that way.  But this team is terrible.  As Casey Stengel once said, "there are baseball players, and there are ribbon clerks."  He tried to avoid the ribbon clerks at all costs -- he was able to do so with the Yankees, whom he managed to multiple World Series victories, but not with the 1962 Mets, whose roster was populated with ribbon clerks.  Fast forward to today, and most of the 76ers are ribbon clerks. 

The 76ers should have thought about the subliminal message in that ad.  Sure, we know who Michael Carter-Williams (currently injured), Joel Embiid (out for the season) and Nerlens Noel (he missed last season) are.  And Tony Wroten shows some promise.  But the rest of the team?  Anonymous and probably destined to remain that way during their careers.  In fact, the 76ers are kidding me in the sense that they cannot win and should not be trying to sell tickets on that basis.  They will win fewer than the 19 games they won last season.  And they are hoping that a bunch of young players can come together in the next 2-3 years and build a force to be reckoned with.  They make no apologies for this and are up front about it. 

But they should be more careful with the texts and sub-texts of their ads.  People will go to a barn to watch a winner; they won't go to a palace to watch a loser.  Especially if the team really doesn't care now about winning.

Not at those prices, anyway.


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