It’s not much of a story that Bob Nightengale was once again spewing out lava of baseball drivel. That’s been his gig for years now, essentially just acting as a conduit for whatever bullshit the powers that be want out there in exchange for his beloved “access.” Access which he’ll use to lord over everyone and that he thinks is a substitute for real knowledge and analysis. But headlines and stories with a tone like this aren’t helpful in a wider spectrum.
The Braves themselves aren’t on some revenge tour, but their fans and media can certainly paint it like that. It’s the sports-ification of every facet of our society, which is a big reason we’ve gotten into this mess. Some things don’t have winners and losers and very much aren’t a game. The state of Georgia stripping the ability of every citizen to vote isn’t a game, and chips at what is supposedly the very foundation this is all built on. It’s still hard to know who exactly is “seething” that the All-Star game was taken away from Cobb County, but we can be sure that they’re likely sharing territory with people who wave a Confederate flag around.
The idea that the Braves are “correcting” something is exponentially asinine, and only feeds into the psychosis the right has. The Braves making the World Series doesn’t “right” any “wrong,” and in fact stands to greatly embarrass baseball much better than MLB can itself through the chop, the name, the logo, their cozying up to anti-vaxxers like Travis Tritt, and other kinds of horseshit. The Braves weren’t the “victim” of MLB’s decision, and all the fans lost out on was the chance to see a really long exhibition game that has lost most of its specialness as players rush to catch their flight home in the 7th inning.
But to feed the persecution complex stemming from the slightest perceived indignity is why this crap gets so strong, loud, and occasionally violent (hello, Brooklyn). Nightengale helps to amplify the lie that the Braves and their fans were somehow violated, and hence this trip to the World Series isn’t just a usual baseball journey, but some sort of affirmation of whatever injustice they think has happened to them. And that crowd is among them. It only feeds on itself from there.
Of course, the Braves want to cater to that crowd. They wanted to cater to it when they moved out of downtown Atlanta to the inaccessible from the city location of their stadium in a suburb basically designed to keep Black people out of it.
Nightengale isn’t considering the wider implications, of course. That’s beyond him. He’s just boiling this down to the most accessible level to make for an easy to grasp story. Which is all he’s ever done. He should know better, or his editors should. But they apparently gave up the fight long ago.
Lighter stuff out of Chicago. The Hawks have been the worst team by some distance in the NHL’s nascent season., They haven’t won a game in six tries, and in truly staggering fashion they haven’t even had a lead in any game of the six. Sunday saw them set a record for longest stretch without leading a game to start a season. Their -15 goal differential is the worst in the league by five goals. They’ve scored three goals at even-strength all season. It’s a truly impressive show of ineptitude.
The nadir had to have been last night, and Hawks fans are hoping that the mockery from at the national level will be enough to engineer the changes behind the bench and the front office that they crave. Down late in the game, the Hawks had a two-man advantage and called a timeout. Did head coach Jeremy Collition have a plan for how they might get a goal to really make it a game? Folks, he most certainly did not:
It’s probably not instilling the most amount of confidence in your charges when your strategy late in the game is, “Uh, I dunno. What do you think?” It should be noted that both the Hawks assistant coaches were not on the bench as they’re in COVID protocol, and they’re the ones who usually draw this kind of thing up. But with them not there, you’d like to believe your head coach would have a better plan than “you handle it.”
It’s just another mark against Colliton, who has been overmatched in the job since he took it three years ago. The Hawks have been the league’s worst defensive team since he did, and even going on the offensive in the offseason in the free agent and trade market to greatly bolster the roster hasn’t changed that. It’s already shaping up to be the fifth-straight season the Hawks will miss the playoffs (don’t give me any of that Edmonton bubble bullshit), which is nearly criminal given that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were pretty much still in their prime for all of it.
And now their coach has told the world he’s out of ideas. What is it, you would say, you do here?