You probably don’t know who Rob Parker is, and I didn’t know who he was until a couple days ago when he wrote a column saying “Atlanta is the worst sports town in America.” Since I feel like I’ve already taken too much of your dashboard space with this post, the rest will be after the jump:
Basically, his entire argument circles around the “not big enough attendance/fan support at the games.” Here’s the thing (couple things, really). There’s something going on, maybe you’ve heard it, it’s called a fucking economic recession. That and Atlanta’s working class economy was basically based around Hartsfield Airport. Flights have been down since 9/11, and, because of the economic crisis, people don’t fly because of the prices, so, while Hartsfield is still the world’s busiest airport, it’s still not the job powerhouse it once was. That, and people don’t want to spend $50 on a decent, mid-level ticket and $25 on food when they could use that $75 so much more wisely and watch the game from home.
Another reason for lower attendance is Marta. Thesis: fuck Marta. It doesn’t go anywhere. Especially for the vast majority who commute by car. Thus, getting to and leaving the game is a pain in the ass because of the shitload of cars (The Braves have figured this out. The Falcons have not. Hawks, somewhere in between.). Why deal with it when I could watch the game from home?
These are all factors, but the factor is that, with the exception of Arthur Blank, Atlanta is host to the worst sports ownerships in their respective leagues (basically, Atlanta is the 2011 NFC West of sports towns, and Arthur Blank is the 13-3 San Francisco 49ers). The owners have shown little to no respect to their fanbases. The Braves have been miserable since Ted Turner left, content to cruise in a mediocre division until the Phillies picked up steam, and when that happened, content to cruise into the Wild Card until a Cardinals team picked up steam and the Braves collapsed. Rob Parker says no one in Atlanta cared, but really, no one outside Atlanta cared because the Red Sox had just as worse a collapse, and they are the Boston Red Sox, and no one in Atlanta is going to say, “Hey, we had just as worse a collapse, too!” And the Hawks management has completely lost any potential for goodwill from its fans for giving out truly moronic contracts and drafting forwards in the first round years in a row. Years.
Because the truth is, “What have you done for me lately?” And all Atlanta sports have done is let their fans down with huge potential. I’m typing this after an Atlanta Falcons offense, that was supposed to be explosive with the addition of Julio Jones put up zero, zero points against a, well, great Giants defense. Not shutout great, the Falcons should have put up at least two scores on them. And they didn’t. And everyone in Atlanta probably saw this coming.
Atlanta isn’t Boston, with the rich (former) history of getting their hopes up, only to be dashed at the last second by some fluke that seems like it came from God, that God didn’t want Boston to win. Atlanta isn’t Cleveland, where losing is so completely demolishing, the feeling of “We were going to lose, but that hurt.” Atlanta’s the place of a true culture of losing, a place of utter mediocrity. The place of “Yeah, we’re probably going to lose” and that’s exactly what happens. The losing is never flashy, it’s just, “yep, we lost.” For some (or as Rob Parker would say erroneously “most”), they’ve had enough. But the rest, the masochistic rest, keep coming back year after year, saying, “Hey, it can’t be worse than last year, right?” And then it kind of is.