I'm a bit behind in reading my ESPN the Magazines, but the recent fan issue (the Joe Mauer-covered issue--directly preceding the current Shaun White-covered issue--though my issue had a different cover shot than the one I pulled off of ESPN's cover archive above) had an interesting "Pulse of the Nation" poll results, the synthesis of 66,000 fan votes on variant issues. Here's some that caught my eye:
I approve of the job this executive is doing:
Roger Goodell, NFL: 82% (up from 80% last year)
Gary Bettman, NHL: 60% (up from 55%)
David Stern, NBA: 51% (down from 62%)
Barack Obama, USA: 43% (n/a)
Bud Selig, MLB: 37% (down from 42%)
I expected Selig to be at the bottom, but the fact that he is over ten points BELOW David Stern, who presides over a league whose attendance is sharply down, players are bringing guns to locker rooms, and games have become fundamentally unwatchable--this is shocking. Bud has none of these problems, and yet two-thirds of fans don't appreciate him. And this is the guy we want to immortalize with a statue? Yecch. Can we please move on from the Selig Steroid era?
I also have no idea who Gary Bettman is or what he does, but know that he's almost twice as popular as Selig. And I haven't seen any USA-league games; they must be on the Versus channel (I have DirecTV).
There is at least one pro team I hate.
Kinda makes it difficult to plea for rational behavior with that overwhelming level of sentiment around the stands. (And in case you're wondering, some of that hate is pretty well-reasoned and thoughtful.)
Which of the following have you done at a college or pro sporting event?
75% Sneaked into a better seat
67% Yelled obscenities
46% Got drunk
41% Scalped or bought a scalped ticket
34% Caught a ball or puck
29% Lied to an acquaintance in order to attend
11% Used a racial slur against an opposing player or fan
5% Had sex
I'm right there with the top six things (I've actually caught a ball on two separate occasions, albeit never cleanly on the fly). I've hurled invective, but my slurs have never been racially-motivated. And I've not had sex at a game. At least, not in the stadium.
I would give up a year of my life in exchange for a championship by my favorite team.
I think I'm on the agree side here. I can remember that when UCLA won its 12th NCAA basketball title in 1995, being able to share that moment with my father (also a UCLA fan) was one of the greatest fan experiences I've had--and we weren't even in the same place during the game. I hope for the day when I can experience a Dodgers World Championship with my kids--but it will be more meaningful when they're at an older age and can appreciate it like I could the most recent UCLA hoops championship. So maybe I wouldn't give up the year just yet; can you call back in thirty or forty years and see how things with the Dodgers are going?