In the world of sports, there's times for praise. There's other times to poke fun and/or lampoon, both at myself and others. There's still other times to question. And there are also times for criticism, constructive or otherwise.
Yet, every once in a while something so outrageous, at least on the surface, happens, which calls for a full-scale, all-out rant, collateral damage be damned. This would be one of those times. Forget throwing the baby out with the bath water. I'm fixing to tear out the whole tub, chuck it to the curb and set the house on fire. So don't say I didn't warn you if you read on.
I'm talking about the NHL Winter Classic, the annual game that's played outdoors with rotating teams and rotating venues. This year, it will be played on Jan 2, 2012, inside Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. There are SO many things wrong with this.
First, how much did it cost to build that rink? A couple million? 3, 4, 5? For one measly NHL game?
Knowledgeable hockey fans might say, "Wait a minute, Leach. There's more to it than that. There's going to be an 'old-timers' game, a couple college games, a minor league hockey game, a high school game, and even little kids will have their chance to skate on that ice".
That's all true, but I would counter with -- given a choice, I'm thinking "old-timers" would rather skate inside any day. The college games? Penn State plays Neumann. The only thing I know about Neumann is Alfred E appears on the cover of Mad magazine every issue. Villanova plays Drexel? Can't quite place Drexel. I think I might have had a prescription for that once, but I don't remember what my ailment was. Or maybe it was from the vet when one of my dogs got sick. Beats me. The minor league game? The Adirondack Phantoms versus the Hershey Bears. Phantoms is a good name for such a team, because other than some mountains that were there long before Pennsylvania was, and making little-league baseball bats, they go totally unseen. Hershey? Stick to what you do best. Chocolate. They've yet to name the high school teams, and that might be because they're having a hard time finding a couple. All the preps are still down south or out west on winter break. Ah, but it would priceless for the little children to have the honor of skating on such hallowed ice, right? Not exactly. Try $60 bucks an hour. Each. Bundle them up, watch the little darlings skate around all afternoon, and welcome to the world of ramen noodles. Hell, for a few hours of that, you could buy them a genuine replica knock-off jersey with their favorite player's name on the back. The rink will be gone in a few days, but the jersey will last a while. I recommend two things regarding that. Buy it a size too large, because it will last longer. And get rid of that Made in China tag. They may be little, but they're smarter than you think -- and when they notice, you don't want to have to answer that question.
A ticket to the game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers? You can have one at the bargain-basement price of $5000. Act now. Operators are standing by. What kind of moron would shell out five grand to go watch a regular season NHL game, in the elements, which might include rain, sleet, snow, or frigid temperatures? At that, they have to bring binoculars to even watch the game, because the closest seats will be -- well -- think of being on "the hill" at Pine Knob.
For five grand, you can get a Super Bowl ticket, no problem. Maybe even a pair of them. Or a trip to the Final Four. Throw in some extra change and you might get a Kardashian to sit on your lap for a second. Make sure you're seated in a sturdy chair and brace yourself accordingly. That would be some serious stuff coming at you -- in more ways than one. But I digress.
Now, I must admit I don't know a whole lot about what's going on in Philly these days, but if people will stand in line to pay 5K for just one "run of the mill" regular season hockey game, then evidently that city is doing a whole lot better than we are around here. Not sure, but 5K just might get one a season ticket at Joe Louis Arena for the Red Wings. 40 games. Inside. I know which deal sounds better to me.
This Winter Classic in a hot ticket. I could understand it when it took place in Buffalo, and the game quickly sold out. They don't have major league baseball, nor pro basketball, and the Bills haven't been any good since Jim Kelly was the QB. Throw in getting bombarded with snow every winter and yeah, I get that. But Philly? They've got stuff going on.
This game is in Citizens Bank Park. Who do they think they're kidding? Citizens don't run that bank. Corporate people in 3-piece suits and power dresses or pantsuits do. It's like the People's Republic of China. The people have no say-so through elected representatives, so it's not a republic either. It's propaganda. As far as our own banks go -- ask yourself a couple questions. Do you even know who the executives are that play with your money? You certainly didn't get to vote on them. And do you really believe you have any say-so in what they do with it? The answer is no to both.
And somebody please tell me why it is that so many banks and credit card companies will fork out millions of dollars every year to have their names on stadiums and arenas, countless millions more to advertise on TV, but one never seems to have any money to pay interest on the funds we entrust them with, and the other seems to have some sort of roulette wheel from hell when it comes to interest rates.
Let the chumps in Philly with too many dollars and not enough sense go to some meaningless hockey game.
There will be some very good football bowl games to watch on Jan 2. I can stay warm, buy a couple pizzas and a few "rounds" if I wish, watch them all on a big screen, no binoculars required, not have to fight traffic, and have about $4800 dollars more in my pocket at the end of the day.
Liked the first Rambo movie. Even the first 3 Rocky flicks until it got ridiculous with the sequels. Still like a Philly steak sub once in a while too. But sometimes enough is too much. Sylvester Stallone made a fortune off that town and they even built a statue of him. C'mon Philly. He's from Hell's Kitchen, in Manhattan, and proud of it. You didn't know that? For that matter, Bernie Madoff came from Queens, and played some fairly serious games with a few high rollers in your city himself. Is a statue of him next?
Enjoy your hockey game, but yours truly thinks the only thing more cracked than that Liberty Bell you're so proud of is your logic.
And as long as I'm ranting, who in the hell are Katy Brand and Russell Perry anyway -- or maybe it's the other way around -- who cares --and why would I give a rat's ass if they're getting divorced? It happens. Been there. Done that. Deal with it. In the end, nobody else cares anyway.
OK. End of rant. I feel better now. But I still think that hockey game is for suckers.