Pat's inner Spartan was trolling last night on The Ticket. He was pulling out all the stops trying to antagonize irate Michigan fans into calling in so he could FoxNews them down.
I wrote a nice letter that I thought I'd share with the board. Enjoy or ignore.
- Pat --
I heard an interesting phrase for the first time while talking with a Cleveland fan:
That's their (his?) word for Ohioans who root for Detroit teams instead of the Indians, Cavs, Browns, and whatnot. It's derogatory. The funny thing is, he thought we use it too -- when I explained no Tiger fan makes any distinction over whether the guy next to him is from Ohio, Downriver, Oakland County or Timbuktu, he flat-out refused to believe me.
Nobody says "Windsor Wings Fan" either. Or "Yukon Yankee."
I graduated from Michigan. I am a big Michigan football fan. I associate with a lot of other big-time Michigan football partisans. And not a single person I know has ever cared whether the guy crammed in next to him in the Big House used to be a student here. If you root for the Wolverines, and you uphold the standards of good sportsmanship, then you are my brother, and I promise you, the Michigan fan-base feels this same way.
This one is entirely in your head, that is, your and every other Spartan fans'. Nobody else -- not even Ohio State fans -- use the phrase "Walmart Wolverines," at least nowhere near the extent that Spartan fans do.
I understand why: it's the same reason partisans of the losing political party (either side) call those who voted against them "sheeple" or "brainwashed." It's hard to admit someone who chose differently than you could have a valid reason.
Unless their parents are Spartans, kids in this state naturally become Michigan fans. The Wolverines are a bigger deal, and have been for a very long time, and kids respond to that (Desmond Howard did it for me when I was a kid). If it were the other way around, this would irritate the hell out of me.
I still would have enough respect for other people, though, to respect their choice of team to root for. Or at least, if some Michigan-born man chose the Buckeyes, I wouldn't treat him any different than any other Ohio State fan.
You went on to make what could be the dumbest statement I've ever heard on radio: (paraphrasing) "The Spartans are the team of the working man."
What is your basis for this? Because Michigan students had a 3.65 GPA in high school, and MSU students had a 3.61 GPA, this now means the latter is the populist choice? Again, you're taking Spartan rhetoric about Michigan arrogance and treating it like fact. These are both incredibly good universities, and getting better (the academic performance that got me into UofM in 1998 would have put me in the middle of State's freshman class today). Choosing one to be the "working man's" team is as silly as saying Cambridge is more "blue-collar" than Oxford.
I normally like your broadcasts, but last night's was just awful. You said during the show that your Sparty fandom is gone. Yeah, right. Last night's show was pure rivalry-fueled antagonism, which you thinly cloaked as "getting a rise out of Michigan fans." Word to the wise: pushing buttons to get a rise out of people is antagonism, not good journalism. You weren't teaching your listeners anything about your callers who "rose to the bait;" you were teaching us that you are the kind of sports fan who tries to bait the other team's fans. Another word for that: "trolling."
Thank you for your time.