During the French Revolution portion of Mel Brooks’ epic comedy ”History of the World, Pt. I”, Count de Money…no, no you fool, Count de Monet…de-Mon-A…approached King Louis XVI to inform him of an impending revolt against the crown.
“It is said that the people are revolting”…the Count, (portrayed brilliantly by the late Harvey Korman), tells him.
“You said it”, replies the King…”they stink on ice”.
Well, like the good King Louis, the collective partnership octo-cluster that is the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. may be facing the same type of social unrest…a type of “revolt” if you will… from the good and decent, hockey-loving citizens of Blueland.
To date, any such revolt has been a silent one…fans, in great numbers, simply have chosen to not pay the money to attend games this season. In the most recent home game, Tuesday’s 4-3 win vs. Colorado, the “official” attendance announced was 12,101. But I tell ya kids, if there were 12K+ subjects in Blueland’s Castle Philips Tuesday night, 4,000 of them spent the game downing ale and chasing wenches in Taco Mac or something because there were only 8,000 in the barn…maybe 8,000.
Let’s see…the Falcons weren’t playing, and haven’t for eight weeks. The Braves haven’t even thrown the first pitch of the season yet. The Hawks weren’t on TV Tuesday night, neither UGa nor GT played basketball and the weather hasn’t exactly been balmy enough to spend time hanging out on the deck barbecuing in the evening. So, I’m wondering what it is that Don Waddell might blame the low attendance on…I mean, now that the fall and all it’s distractions has long past gone.
I know…everyone was watching the Barak Obama Show from the Capitol Tuesday night. Surely that’s it…right Don?
Anyway… we all know how the Thrashers and other NHL teams, as a means to inflate the overall numbers, figure in “tickets sold” and “tickets given away” and all that. Also, it’s clear that a Tuesday night matchupbetween two teams that are languishing toward the bottom of the standings isn’t exactly going to create a stampede at the box office. Especially so if the host team has won but 9 times in 28 games on their home ice. Regardless, seeing only about 7,000 or 8,000 warm-carbon-based-units in Blueland is more the norm than the exception this year.
Yes, there are a certain amount of you that have chosen to stay away from Philips to “boycott” the management and ownership. You want to get their attention. Well, I have news for you…the 10,000 empty seats that normally greet the players when they take to the ice have certainly not gone unnoticed. The Spirit Clowns may be among the most incompetent set of buffoons ever to purchase a professional sports franchise…but they aren’t blind. Hence, the discounted ticket prices that have accompanied the second halves of both this season and last.
And let me be very clear on this, I have absolutely no problem with them reducing prices to try to bring in more people. The marketing department and sales team have one job to do for this organ-I-zation…and that is putting butts in seats. Period. If 2,000 or 4,000 more seats can be sold at half price than otherwise…then they have do it.
Now, does that suck for season ticket holders who paid almost full price prior to the season? Well, as our friends in Min-EE-So-TAH would say, “Oh yeah..you bet-CHA”! But again, the job of your friendly ticket rep is to put as many cans in seats as they can…any way they can.
But rest assured…the “Protest of the Wallet” has definitely been noticed by the Spirit Boys.
And now, it appears, there are those who feel that the relatively quite revolt via absentia has failed to get the full measure of attention by those who rule the Blueland nest, so a few have begun a more visual and vocal approach to display their ire toward Blueland’s throne. Fans wearing brown paper bags have been spotting at Thrashers games recently…I’ve even seen the occasional sign or two on display as well. I guess such things really should come as no surprise when a team is coming off a 34-40-8 for 76 points season and is following it up with a 22-35-6 performance and heading for about 66 points this year. That plus the team is rounding out it’s 9thseason still looking for it’s first ever playoff win and the same general manager through it all is still in charge.
Given that, and last years absurd statement by Bruce Levenson that the team is “moving in the right direction”, fans are understandably upset.
And it seems a though the aroma of such an uprising has made it’s way to the senses of those in the royal palace of Blueland…and it seems the ruling class does not find it pleasing at all. “Dissent…protest…expressions of frustration and discontent in Blueland? No, NO, NO…this simply will not do”!
There have been reports that fans who have brought signs with them have been told they cannot place them against the glass during the pre-game skate.
Hang on a sec… ever since I have been going to Thrashers games, fans have been allowed to hold up signs against the glass during the pre-game exercises. The homemade placards would range from support of the team, admiration and praise for an individual player or…as was the case on Nov. 18, 2007…to display the thought that maybe the wrong person had gotten fired the day prior.
I’ve heard murmurings as to how ushers have been given their marching orders in regards to any displays of discontent during future games…specifically the March 6 game when Montreal pays us a visit. If these rumors are true, fans who dare show up with signs displaying anything but support for the product the Spirit Clowns and Waddell have placed before us on the ice will have them confiscated at the door. Also, there will be absolutely no toleration of paying customers wearing brown bags over their heads. I guess they’ll use the bags taken from you to dispose of the signs.
I know someone who works security at the arena who has told me that they have been directed to try and put the kibosh on anyone who might dare attempt to verbally call for a regime change in the Thrashers front office. He cites the management’s desire to maintain a “family friendly” atmosphere in Philips.
Oh sure…it’s OK to chant “Brodeur…YOU SUCK” and that’s OK in a Blueland full of kiddies. But don’t even try “Fire Waddell” or the black suits just might put the clamp-down on you.
But honestly, there is little they can do to keep all of you from chanting, “FI-RE WAD-DELL”…or “SPIR-it GROUP SUX”, during the game…if that is what you so choose to do. I mean, it’s not like they can make you check your vocal chords at the door, right? Sure, sure…they’ve sent Thrash over to bang his drum to drown out the chants…but he and security can’t be everywhere.
To me, being able to vocalize your displeasure with what Waddell and the Spiriteers have done to this team is just as much a part of the game experience as cheering on the talent that is Ilya Kovalchuk, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, Rich Peverley, etc. Such ability should not be infringed upon…and it certainly would not be by an ownership that gave a damn about the poeplethat part ways with their hard-earned money to support the product they, the owners, and management are responsible for.
So…has a new era of censorship indeed begun in the Kingdom of Blueland?
Well, one fact that cannot be overlooked here is when one purchases a ticket to such an event, you… the ticket holder… agree to abideby the rules of the arena. But such an overt attempt to squash any public dissent aimed in their direction would simply show a tremendous lack of class and intestinal fortitude on their part. Plus, if the eight-headed monarchy thought that their subject were angry now, just imagine the ire that would come their way if those same individuals were denied the ability to let off some steam at the games…even if that meant that the octo-cluster was the recipient of the heat that came from that steam. Would they really want to escalate the situation?
Besides, we’re not talking about a mob storming the castle with pitchforks and torches here, are we? Well… are we?
And on the other side of this issue…is there truly a spirit of “revolt” or “protest” in the chilly air of Blueland?
Well, let ask you, my fellow Bluelanders… are you are one of those who have had thoughts of entering through the gates of Philips Arena with signs in tow and sporting brown paper bags upon your head? If so, what do you make of such yammering that the guards at the gates might ask you to relinquish such items, or be denied entry?
Are you going to show up anyway…with your bags, with your signs… and MAKE them take these items from you?
Also, if you are going to attend the town hall meeting schedule for prior to the game…what might you have to ask of Bruce Levenson or any other members of the Clowns-Eight??
That is…if he, or any of the other rulers of Blueland, have the testicular fortitude to show up.
I’ll give Waddell his props here…at least the man will stand up there and suffer the slings and arrows…whether it be in the town hall meetings or on the radio. I certainly have seen and heard more of the general manager during this season than I any of the Spirit Boys…outside of a courtroom, that is.
One more question for you all. Regardless of whether you support the silent “Protest Via the Wallet”, a more visual or vocal display of disapproval…or you simply chose to attend, root for and accept the Thrashers as they are…since most of us agree that booing the players for poor performance on the ice has never been deemed “inappropriate”, why then wouldn’t those who are responsible for icing such a team not be big enough to take the same heat from the same set of fans?
If indeed the great octo-cluster that is the AS, LLC seem to think they are above such public criticism…well… then that would truly “stink on ice”.