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Archive for May, 2008

The dust has settled on the Stars/Sharks series, but before we launch into the Conference Final, we’d like to take a moment to think back to how ModFan saw the Sharks/Stars playoff future back in March.

At the time, the Stars were losing and losing and losing and the Sharks were winning and winning and winning. Patty was distraught, watching the Stars lose to the Canucks. This is an actual conversation where her ModFan pals tried to convince her that she should be glad the Stars were tanking. And it turned out they were right.

PATTY: The Stars are losing, just by the Sharks winning. There’s really no point in playing the rest of the games. They’re just fooling themselves.

POOKIE: Poor, poor Patty!

SCHNOOKIE: I’m sorry about the dumb Sharks, Patty. Don’t worry, though — they’re peaking too soon.

PATTY: I’d appreciate it if y’all could beat the Avs, because even though they seem far away from us now, when we’ve dropped to 8th, we’ll need them to have lost a few by then.

SCHNOOKIE: You’re NOT dropping to 8th! Don’t be ridiculous!

PATTY: They just couldn’t leave the team alone when they had everything going for it. I’m seriously thinking of skipping the next game.

SCHNOOKIE: They’re figuring their shit out! If Holmqvist hadn’t started, y’all would have won tonight!

PATTY: EXACTLY! If Smitty had started, we would have won tonight!

SCHNOOKIE: Why couldn’t Turco have started?

PATTY: Because they’re trying to work in a new guy! Tippett has to at least see him once. Just in case the unthinkable happens. But I guess now that Smitty’s gone, the plan is to just forfeit any games that Turco can’t play in. When Smitty was here, we had another goalie for just such an occasion.

POOKIE: Who are they playing next? I’m sure they’ll be fine! They need to lose a few now! You never, ever want your team going into the playoffs on a giant winning streak.

PATTY: Sorry to be such a whiner. I’ve feigned some doom and gloom before, but I’m really feeling it now.

SCHNOOKIE: Hey, don’t apologize for whining! That’s your first right as a sports fan! And as you well know, “Doom & Gloom” is the name of the game as far as I’m concerned.

POOKIE: Katamari your blues away!

PATTY: I’ll be fine. So what if we miss the playoffs! At least I won’t have to watch them get knocked out in the first round again.

SCHNOOKIE: Patty, you are SO not going to miss the playoffs. But really, some Katamari will definitely make you feel better!

KATEBITS: The Stars are going to be okay! They are just saving themselves for the playoffs. The Sharks are going to be so exhausted and feeling so entitled after this stupid run that they will fall flat on their stupid Soupy faces. And then we will laugh and cheer the Stars onto victory!

SCHNOOKIE: And Kate, you’re right — the Stars are doing the “snakes in the grass” approach to going into the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Sharks are preparing their annual disastrous humiliation, but this time they’re doing it with as high a profile as they can possibly put together. Could they be spelling out “GREEK TRAGEDY-SCALE COLLAPSE” any more clearly than they are right now? (And I am NOT kidding when I say I never trust a team that’s hot in March. The Penguins hold the all-time record for longest winning streak, something like 17 consecutive games. In March. In 1993. The year they did not successfully defend their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. The Devils had something like a 15-game unbeaten streak in March of 2001. The year they did not successfully defend their Stanley Cup championship. You DON’T want to be super-hot in March, because EVERYONE knows, during the regular season, that prolonged winning streaks are always followed by a bit of a funk. A bit of a funk won’t kill you in, say, November. Or, in the Stars’ case, March. But it’s disaster in April. The Sharks are just setting themselves up for hilarious failure.)

POOKIE: Every single year the Sharks dupe everyone into picking them to come out of the West. Finally, though, we’re all wise to them and no one in their right mind would pick them this year. The Sharks figured that out and realized they had to up the ante to get everyone to bandwagon again. Their plan? Win every game from here on out. But the thing is — they’re still the Sharks.

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ModFan Gets Glad

The ModFan crew was having a tough time with the playoffs. The Devils went out in the first round to the Rangers, the Stars were trying to squander a 3-0 lead against the Sharks, and the Sabres… well, we all know what happened to them. This conversation took place Sunday morning before the elimination of two of ModFan’s least favorite teams and while we hope we’ve turned a corner, there’s no telling what the Hockey Gods have in store. Here’s how we turned our attitudes around.

HEATHER B: The playoffs are killing my soul. I can’t wait for hockey to be over. I know I’ll be sad in late July when it’s still months away but right now I want it gone.

PATTY: I was so depressed yesterday, I couldn’t get off the couch. I didn’t want to read about hockey, but I didn’t have anything else to do. I couldn’t make myself clean or work in the yard, or even go buy shit (which is usually how I handle it).

POOKIE: I have had little to no desire to read about hockey the last… oh say… three weeks. I’ve been obsessively reading gardening blogs instead. For some reason I’m seeing my level of disinterest reflected in what I’m reading in hockey blogs. I think I’m just projecting this self-fulfilling prophecy that the playoffs suck. It’s been making me sort of miserable. But no longer! Thank you, Playoff Goggles! You’ve saved my life!

HEATHER B: Even my freaking Playoff Goggles are broken! Montreal was an abusive and disastrous combination of last year’s Sabres (regular season juggernaut that drags itself painfully through the postseason) and this year’s Sabres (young, underachieving team). Thanks for nothing, Montreal.

SCHNOOKIE: Hey, I turned a corner with the playoffs yesterday! I’m having fun now! The Red Wings were superhot in their series with the Avs, Morrow and Brad Richards are cooing to my ovaries in the Stars series, I discovered Mike Richards was wearing Chuck Taylors in his ASG portrait (and I finally watched the Flyers videos of them playing with legos and doing the low ropes course during training camp, and let me tell you, there is NOTHING Jason Smith does that ISN’T smoking hott), and I adore Sid and Malkin. That’s a high ratio of things I like going on there! GO PLAYOFFS!

POOKIE: The Caps lost! The Sens were swept! Jagr is showing Shanny, Gomez, and Drury how to handle playoff hockey! Sid and Malkin are snakes in the grass ready to strike! The Stars are AWESOME! There is SO MUCH to be excited about!

HEATHER B: See, I’m not capable of looking at the big picture. I’m living day by day so right now the playoffs are “The Flyers – who were neck and neck with the Sabres almost all season – are in the ECF” and “Brian Campbell scored a dramatic game-tying goal against the Stars.”

I think part of my problem this year is the proliferation of prominent former Sabres who are still in. I’m trying to block out the noise from the media and other fans but it’s hard to ignore that Briere and Biron are in the ECF and Drury and Campbell are still playing. And don’t tell me that two of those guys are playing poorly because details like that don’t matter to Buffalo. They’re playing, we’re not, they would’ve saved our souls had they still been here. Drury and Campbell are likely still going out in this round but again, I just can’t see Big Picture enough to focus on that. I’m a mess.

I don’t know, everything everyone is saying makes perfect sense. I’m just having some kind of fan/blogger breakdown.

KATEBITS: Alright, Heather needs a carefrontation. Heather, I hear you, I really do. The ex-Sabres still playing are HORRIBLE especially since we just went through an ENTIRE season of being told by every media outlet that the Sabres are a depleted shell of their former self. My big thing is that I can’t continue to feel miserable about the Playoffs. I’m a lot less “THE PLAYOFFS ARE GREAT” than the Ookies, but I am REFUSING the misery. I can only allow so much hockey related misery. I have reached my limit for the 2007-08 season. It’s stops here. I’ve drawn a line in the sand.

SCHNOOKIE: I actually had to work very hard to get to the happy place I’m in now. The motivating force for me was that I was tired of listening to myself complain about the playoffs, and if I was tired of listening to myself, I can’t even imagine how awful it was for you guys to listen to me. I mean, they’re half over. They’re not going to suddenly get better without a little work on my part. I wasn’t ready to turn the hockey off, so it was kind of “fish or cut bait” time in my heart. Or something like that.

HEATHER: I’m convinced that the playoffs are going to end really horribly for some reason. It’s like I used up all my positive energy and optimism during the regular season. Now I got nothing.

KATEBITS: Heather, snap out of it! *SPLASH* How can we get you out of this funk? What do you need?

HEATHER B: Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve done this but I might need to play the Glad Game.

PATTY: How do you play, Heather? I’ll play it with you!

HEATHER B: The Glad Game is from Pollyanna. It’s a game that Pollyanna’s dad teaches her. In every situation you find something to be glad about. The harder it is, the more fun! Or so they claim. For example:

The situation: The Stars lost Game Five against the Sharks. I’m secretly a little glad that the Stars got screwed on a No Goal call. (Sorry, Patty. I have to grab onto the Glad wherever it is.)

KATEBITS: Oooh. Harsh, Heather. I’m glad that Soupy has sucked hard enough in the playoffs that no well managed team is going to give him the contract he wants, but that he has played well enough (see G5 tying goal) that some doomed-for-decades team is going to fork over the big bucks.

HEATHER B: GREAT point, Kate. I’m glad that Campbell has been in the playoffs long enough that he’s had plenty of time to say things that are so stupid and asinine that much of Buffalo has come around to being glad he’s gone.

PATTY: I’m glad that the Stars are in the second round. And that they’re still up on the Sharks. I’m (kind of) glad we didn’t sweep the Sharks because we would have been too high to take on the Wings in the next round.

KATEBITS: The situation: The Flyers are still playing. I’m glad that it’s Briere and not Drury *fingers crossed*

HEATHER B: I’m glad Marty Biron is playing well because he’s a great guy who deserves all good things that come his way. I’m glad that a team the Sabres played so well in the regular season is going deep in the playoffs because it might mean that we’re not that far off from being in the same position.

POOKIE: I’m glad I watched the videos of the Flyers doing low-ropes in pre-season. Sami Kapanen can leap over a more-than-waist-height wire in a single bound! That’s so cool!

KATEBITS: Yay! *Pollyannaesque squealing* It’s working! It’s working!

SCHNOOKIE: The Rangers are my weak spot in my newfound “I like the playoffs” resolve, so let me think about some gladness.

*Thinks.

And thinks.

And thinks.

And thinks.*

Right. I’m glad that the fans at MSG get called out by the TV guys every time they boo the Rangers power play. And I’m glad that all those idiots are sitting there chanting “Jagr!” now after booing him mercilessly for the last three years. And I’m glad that Drury injured himself celebrating a non-goal. And if they win, they’ll do it without Avery.

PATTY: I’m glad that Shanahan is on the verge of retirement so I can start forgetting about the douche-iness and remember why I used to like him (he’s funny and he has great hair).

POOKIE: I’m glad that if the Rangers win the Cup it will be because Jagr got them there, not because they’re a young team built for long-term success.

HEATHER B: I’m glad because if the Rangers keep winning Jagr has a good chance of winning the Conn Smythe which automatically ups his contract with the Rangers (and indirectly the Caps) for another season.

SCHNOOKIE: Oooooohhh… I’m SO glad that if the Rangers win, it’ll be at the cost of another year of Jagr on their cap and on DC’s. I can almost see Sather telling the team to tank just so that doesn’t happen.

KATEBITS: Worst Case Scenario: Sharks vs. Rangers for the Cup. I’m glad it’s spring!

PATTY: Does this Glad Game have a winner? Because I think Kate’s trying to cheat and make me lose!

SCHNOOKIE: Yeah, Sharks v. Rangers for the Cup, Rangers winning? I’m glad it’s strawberry season, and my job has started Summer Fridays. And, um… yeah. That’s it. And I’m glad for the Curse of Beating Brodeur. I’m glad that the Devils only have to play the Rangers six times next year instead of eight.

HEATHER B: I’m glad these horrible, effin’ playoffs are almost half over.

SCHNOOKIE: Is it possible to lose the Glad Game?

POOKIE: Heather, you were doing so well there! Now the demons are back! They’re clawing at the wings of our Happiness Machine, threatening to ground it forever!

PATTY: Did Pollyanna imagine horrible situations and then try to be glad about them? Or did she just focus on what was actually happening? Tinkerbell’s starting to flag a little here.

HEATHER: Quick, refocus!

PATTY: I’m glad Brenden Morrow is broadcasting his studliness for all the world to see AFTER he signed a long-term deal for a reasonable amount of money.

POOKIE: That is hot!

KATEBITS: I am glad to have Brenden Morrow’s studliness in my life!

HEATHER B: I’m glad Marty Turco is still in and I’m glad for the opportunity to watch a great stick-handling, puck-controlling goalie.

KATE: I’m glad there is still PLENTY of time for all my hated teams/players to be horribly humiliated.

PATTY: I’m glad that Sid is in and Ovie is out.

KATEBITS: ME TOO!

SCHNOOKIE: ME THREE!!!

POOKIE: ME FOUR!!!!

HEATHER B: I am ALSO glad that Sid is in and Ovie is out. We have a unanimous glad! Somewhere a crippled child is walking again!

POOKIE: I think I see the Brink of Hockey Despair receding into the distance! I think our glad feelings are driving the demons away! It’s working, guys, it’s working!

HEATHER B: Wait.. Something weird is happening. I’m… smiling. And laughing. I’m glad! I’m really, really glad!

PATTY: YAY! *tosses Heather-colored confetti* We’re the Tinkerbell of the playoffs!

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Recently on the HBO show “Costas Now” sports writer Buzz Bissinger created quite a storm by turning what could have been an interesting discussion about the emergence of sports blogging and its effect on sports journalism into a three-ring circus…with lots of swearing.

We here at ModFan watched the clip with horror and fascination. Aside from the total train wreck that was Bissinger, it was painful to watch poor Will Leitch (founder of Deadspin) struggle to get a comprehensible word in edgewise against an angry panel. In his defense, he appeared totally blindsided by the wrath of Bissinger. Then there was Costas! He was initially unable to control Buzz, and when things finally settled down, all he managed to bring to the conversation was an inability to distinguish a “blog post” from a “blog comment”. The whole thing was quite insane.

Here at Modfan, we love talking about blogs and how they are portrayed in the mainstream media. It’s, like, our favorite topic ever. So, with the benefit of hindsight, and the unmitigated gall to cast ourselves as the representative of all “sports bloggers”, we have decided to rewrite the entire clip.

This is how the conversation would have gone had WE been the bloggers on the panel.

The role of Bob Costas will be played by Blob Costas, the role of Buzz Bissinger will be portrayed by Buzz Lightyear, and the role of “blogger” will be portrayed by members of ModFan.

***********

[Video montage of pasty, nerdy bloggers in a basement, hunched over their computer keyboards.]

Blob Costas voiceover: Blogs are the unstoppable wave of the future. Anyone can start one. ANYONE! They provide instant access to stats, news, and gossip. What do blogs have to offer? There are some great blogs out there, but often blogs are mean, unpleasant, and poorly written with lots of lies and typos. It’s the Wild Wild West! Only with computers instead of guns! And sports instead of shit that really matters!

[End of montage. Cameras focus on a stage with the panel slouched in their chairs.]

Blob Costas: Welcome to our panel on blogging vs. journalism. Katebits, you’re a hockey blogger, how do you feel your blog contributes to the sports discourse?

Katebits: Well, Blob, I guess when I started blo-

Buzz Lightyear: (interrupting) I THINK YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT! HAVE YOU EVEN HEARD OF WC HEINZ?! WHAT ABOUT HEINZ?!

Katebits: Mr. Lightyear, I do not think this is the time or the place to discuss ketchup. If you must know, I prefer Hunts to Heinz, but if you want to discuss it further, we should do so off the air. I’m sure that Blob Costas does not want us ruining his show by getting into an argument about condiments.

Buzz Lightyear: AND YOU ADMIT YOU’RE BIASED TOWARDS THE SABRES! YOU’RE AN UNTALENTED, UGLY BITCH and a TERRIBLE JOURNALIST!

Katebits: Alright, that does it. Now you’ve gone too far. NOBODY CALLS ME A JOURNALIST! Yes, I am biased towards the Sabres. I AM A SABRES FAN! DEAL WITH IT OLD MAN! My voice in the blogosphere is that of a FAN. Nothing more, nothing less! I have no desire to be a journalist or to provide INFORMATION or to BE FACTUAL. My blog is the voice of my fandom. SUCK IT, YOU FREAK!

Buzz Lightyear: HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A FREAK, YOU UNEDUCATED, MOUTH-BREATHING WHORE! You CELEBRATE that you’re not a journalist, yet STILL insist on WRITING ABOUT A SPORTS TEAM? What are you DOING??

Schnookie: If you’ll allow me…

[Buzz Lightyear leans even more precariously toward the ModFan members of the panel, drawing his eye-rolling, spittle-flecked face even more uncomfortably close to the bloggers.]

Schnookie: Um, right. You ask what we’re doing? I think Katebits said it very clearly — blogging is the voice of fandom. Fans without access. It’s the same thing fans have been doing since the dawn of organized sports, getting together and talking about our favorite sports teams. If you climbed down out of your Ivory Pressbox once in a while to listen to what’s going on in the bleachers, you’d find the same things being said there as get written about in blogs.

Buzz Lightyear: WHY ARE YOU EVEN TALKING TO ME, YOU FUCKING IGNORANT PISSANT? JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN SPEAK DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD.

Blob Costas: (laughing nervously) Okay Buzz, I think we get the idea… Heheh. I think it’s fair to mention that Buzz and I are of the old school, having grown up in this profession writing for newspapers

Buzz Lightyear: (cutting Blob off) NEWSPAPERS ARE THE ONLY OUTLET FOR A REAL MAN’S IDEAS ABOUT SPORTS. WHAT WOULD YOU MISERABLE TURDS KNOW ABOUT THAT? W.C. HEINZ DIDN’T WRITE FOR A BLOG! HE WROTE FOR A NEWSPAPER, AND NOW NO ONE FUCKING CARES ABOUT INTEGRITY, HONOR, OR THE TRUTH ANYMORE. YOU CAN’T WRITE MALICIOUS LIES AND PETTY SMEAR CAMPAIGNS IN NEWSPAPERS! WHICH IS WHY YOU SMALL-MINDED COCKSUCKERS WOULDN’T EVER CUT IT IN THAT WORLD. INSTEAD, YOU ALL WANT TO DESTROY HEINZ’S LIVELIHOOD. YOU FUCKING EVIL WITCHES.

Blob Costas: I think what Buzz is trying to say is that newspapers are tragically not being read anymore. Highly scientific studies have proven that no one under the age of 50 reads newspapers anymore. A timeless, venerable keystone of civilization is being destroyed by the “Internet”. (Did I say that right? “Internet”? What a funny word. What does it mean?)

Pookie: This “the internet is killing newspapers” garbage is making me weary. Sports journalists aren’t going to lose their jobs because the internet is seducing young people to its world-wide-webby ways. If they lose their jobs it’s because they’re not writing content people want to read. The fact is, newspapers are still being read online. The same articles that appear in print appear online. Just because I do not pay for a pile of newsprint each morning doesn’t mean I don’t still read the contents of the NY Times. There’s a movement in library science called FRBR (pronounced “ferber”) which calls for a way of thinking that prioritizes the concept of the work over the physical iteration of the work (for example: if you are looking for Beethoven’s 9th, you’ll find information on the symphony itself before you find listings for each individual performance that has been recorded and published). If this debate of sports journalism vs. blogging is ever going to accomplish something we need to FRBRize the debate and cease focusing on the format of the work and start focusing on the content being created.

Buzz Lightyear: FRBR? What does that stand for — Fucking Retarded Blogging Retards? You bloggers insult people! That’s DESPICABLE! You fucking retarded blogging retard!

Pookie: [stunned silence]

Buzz Lightyear: Heh, that was great! [To assistant off-camera] Did you write that down? Good, good. I’m going to put in my next book. [To Pookie] It’s going to be published. On paper. [Leans back in chair and crosses arms smugly.]

[Blob leans in to give Buzz a high-five.]

Blob Costas: Before we end our conversation, I would like to take a moment to read something that appears on YOUR blog, Katebits. [takes out a piece of paper and begins reading] Viagara fifteen dollars a pill! Paris Hilton naked. ONLINE POKER Lindsey Lohan. TITS TITS TITS. I MADE $100,000 working at home. [puts paper down and addresses Katebits] Katebits, how do you respond to this? This is the kind of worthless and cruel drivel that gives bloggers a bad name! How do you respond?!

Katebits: [totally confused] Um….I…did not write that. Those….are comments. Actually, those are spam comments. At the end of every post, readers are invited to post responses. Sometimes spam sneaks through the cracks.

Blob Costas: But this is what appears ATTACHED to your work! IT’S ON THE SAME SCREEN AS YOUR WORDS.

Katebits: Yes, but…I didn’t write that. Judging blogs based on comments is like judging a play based on the audience memb-

Blob Costas: [interrupting] Well, that’s all the time we have! Remember not all blogs are bad, some are actually quite good, but most are totally spreading lies and cruelty! [waving at camera and smiling] See you next week! Bye now!

The End

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