Ever since the loss of Drury and Briere began the long death march into obscurity for the franchise, I have come across many Buffalo fans who take pride in saying to me some variation of "I don't give a shit about the Sabres until the BIlls season ends." This can mean its literal end around New Year's, or its figurative end which typically comes sometime between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Regardless, this has always struck me as strange, like people who say things like "I don't follow the news," that prideful ignorance that they believe conveys honor and a hip aloofness when really it just repels others as if they'd spent the last hour rolling around in raw sewage at the Ralph. Obviously, I am not one of those people, notably because I can concentrate on more than one sporting event in a given week and unlike the ignorant boobs you'll encounter above, I can understand a piece of writing longer and more complex than a fantasy football injury report.
I scrolled through my twitter before sitting down to write this, in an attempt to ascertain what was being said about the captain selections as well as any general predictions for the season considering it officially starts tonight. I was able to scroll back eight minutes before I exited out in frustration. Between the government shutdown and the start of the Sabres season, I highly recommend sealing your phone in a heavy duty freezer bag and burying it in your backyard for at least a few weeks because the terrible jokes about the fomer and the crippling negativity about the latter (yes, from TBN and WGR MUCH more than any of us lowly bloggers or simple minded fans) could totally ruin October.
The Bills have shown how far a little change can go as far as goodwill with the fan base and the media. Sure, you have Sullivan's personal vendetta against Mario and the professional animosity between the WGR afternoon show and Stevie Johnson, but the fans for the most part can see these conflicts as what they are, not as anything respectable to take into a debate you may have with friends, family or coworkers. The caricature of the combative, crotchety reporter with a smartphone instead of a pencil and pad is simply too spot on to be missed. Meanwhile twitter during Bills games is generally enjoyable because after so many years we're all on the same page. There's jokes, there's the ebb and flow of hate and despair that comes from watching four one-possession games come down to the final drive or two. It's jovial. There's less nonsense.
Barrister here. Jeremy White suggested, in the midst of unreasonable amounts of ranting in my twitter feed (@theycallmedubs
y'all), suggested that we talk about Mario Williams and his broken/sprained/bruised/not really hurt at all (?) foot and Doug Marrone yelling at John Wawrow and others.
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One of the weird and awesome things about writing for this godforsaken website is that we have met some bizarre and amazing and talented people who read our site and, for some reason, think what we do here is pretty ok. Many, if not most, of these new friends have their own set of insights and, when it comes to the gentlmen contributing here today especially, very own style of contributions to the rag tag world of the Basement Brigade. These guys have already contributed to the Deeg by writing and recording our podcast's theme song, which, with the hashtag that followed, has probably helped define what we do here better than any of our hastily written, curse-laden posts have ever done. Their latest contribution, their first here not set to a rock anthem tune, is well worth the read. ~ Cheers, Barrister By @jambrones & @boner_shorts
I am a Jambrone.
I write songs about Buffalo sports.
I pump you up.
I make you nod your head.
I make you sing along.
And yes, I give you “douche chills
I get ‘em too.
Because of this rare gift, I have been relegated to the underground, where it’s dark, dirty and verbally violent. While children are singing along to the sweet melodies of my annoyingly uplifting music, I toil in the shit, the blogosphere, the underground sports media, as one of…them.
It wasn't always like this. I had a real rock band once. We played in almost every venue available for original bands in Buffalo through the 90’s. We also were able to play regularly in New York and Boston and even took a stab at a Midwest “tour”. We got to open up for big nationally known bands that everybody knew. However, we were and always will be, a “local band.”
"Who's playing tonight?" ... "Oh, just some local band"
To me, that label, “local band” is much like “blogger”, or “podcaster”, it feels the same: Subpar, subhuman, subservient, and often, subversive.
Through the Jambrones, I’ve come to realize a kinship with these fellow “CHUDs”, if you will. We share ideas about teams we love presented in a hack-like yet charming manner with no "radio voice" and little regard for journalistic tradition. And yet, we do it well enough that more than a few strangers have come forward and really like what we do.
We’re just dudes writing and talking about sports; just CHUDs...making songs, writing shit like this piece, rhyming players’ names, and ripping on Matt Ellis. It’s <gasp> fun. But ALL of us get squashed regularly by those with sports media power: The Buffalo News and WGR550.
If anyone’s been following us on Twitter throughout the last couple weeks, you likely know that I received media access to both developmental camp Wednesday and the scrimmage Thursday (not that the former mattered much, being free and all). I should reiterate that this was not one of those credential bread crumbs Ted Black throws out once in awhile when he wants to prevent ninety percent of the many Sabres blogs out there from voicing any criticism about the team or organization.
That’s a brilliant strategy really: spend a couple nights a year getting all the bloggers in the room, make them feel important because they got to see the pretty locker room carpet, feed them some dribble about paint schemes and announcer schedules and the sheep will be so grateful for the fucking opportunity that they’ll nary write a critical word again. I mean sure, the whole roster could be imploding on a nightly basis but Ted Black was just so nice to us undeserving wannabe reporters! So half the blogs end up being nothing but team mouthpieces and the other half end up avoiding swears and tip-toeing around any criticism because they’re afraid they might miss the breaking news when the team decides to paint the atrium beige. Well fuck that, and shame on you who do that.
(Obligatory disclaimer: I do like a few of the blogs, in writing, opinion and tone. But we have to admit this team has about 478 blogs too many dedicated to it. I also saw one actually saying that everyone invited to the last blogger summit should write about everything Ted Black said because “they accommodated us.” That sentiment is so offensive I could puke, so my larger point stands.)
That’s what brought me to the Deeg really, I DO like to swear. If you’re intelligent and have any discernible skills when it comes to writing, cursing brings language alive, gives it energy, and conveys the strength of your convictions in a way italics and corny exclamation points don’t always accomplish. It’s part of my cadence, part of how I convey my feelings and if you can swear in your writing without sounding like a fifteen-year-old boy, you damn well should. I feel we are an example of this and when you’re instead using language that brings me back to my years in Sunday school, I am immediately turned off. I can respect if this isn’t your cup of tea but odds are if it isn’t, I wouldn’t be your type of person either.
I guess my point is there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I, or any of us would be granted one of Ted Black’s golden tickets. When I was writing at my last outpost I didn’t get any access (presumably for using the same language) and certainly given our unabashed tendency to call a spade a spade (or in the Barrister’s case, call a team of pussies a team of pussies), it wasn’t going to happen here. This is what makes this week’s access that much more hilarious.