Saturday, December 30, 2006

Who needs championships when you can celebrate capitalism and mediocrity?

In the Sports Guy's weekly NFL picks column, ESPN Page 2's Bill Simmons rightfully poked fun at the Indianapolis Colts' "AFC Finalists" banner, the Washington Mystics' "WNBA attendance leaders" banner, and Hartford's parade for the Whalers for going only so far in the playoffs.

While reading this, I was reminded of two more atrocities: the 2001 Atlanta Braves' slogan, "10 Years of Great Baseball" and the Cleveland Indians' retiring the number 455 to honor the number of consecutive Jacobs Field sell-outs.

As Jim Caple wrote about the Braves' slogan, it's conveniently "ignoring nine of the Octobers."

And Cleveland's retirement of No. 455 is even sadder. Not only is no Indian clamoring to fit three fat digits on his back, but also it's as if team officials and marketers said, "Well, we haven't had any really special players in the last 20 years, so let's retire a number that celebrates our ability to take people's money."

If this trend continues, a Major League Baseball team's seventh-inning stretch could include the unveiling of a "Most Peanuts Sold" graphic on the center field wall, and the Memphis Grizzlies in a pregame ceremony could hoist an "NBA Team" banner to the rafters.