Fickle

Submitted by Brian on November 26th, 2013 at 12:51 PM

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It is a media tradition to hammer at flailing coaches with frowny-face serious questions about how hard everything is on the players and coaches and such because they have to put up with this howling pack of fans. And I try not to get exercised about anything that comes out of that, just like I try to roll my eyes and move on at every article about a triumph in the face of The Critics. Coaches arrive at press conferences at one goal: to get out without saying something notable. When they do say something notable, it is a mistake.

But I'm pissed off anyway. Hoke fielded a question about what is going to be a sea of red in Michigan Stadium:

"You know, people are fickle," Hoke said. "That's just the way it is. That's the world we live in."

This is of course horseshit. It's horseshit on the level of "we need to run a pro-style offense so we can stop Big Ten offense," i.e., the greatest and grandest horseshit in all the world. Hercules is required to shovel this. The big reveal from the last 20 years of media development is that fans are the only people left who aren't fickle. They can't stop watching, and what's more they can't stop watching live with all those lovely commercials interspersed. Fans submit themselves until they have commercials memorized. Until they are legendary.

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In all other areas of television consumption I go out of my way to avoid commercials, going so far as to not watch recent seasons of shows I like until they arrive on Netflix. It will be four years before I see the Patton Oswalt filibuster in context. This is why every time a rights deal expires, networks treat the newly single package of games like it's the last cabbage patch doll on Black Friday.

Meanwhile, the people in charge have decided to test the edges of that fandom with an explosion in ticket prices. Paul Campos:

Here’s the price of a regular admission (not student) University of Michigan football ticket over time.

(All figures are in 2012 dollars, rounded to the nearest dollar. I couldn’t find 1970 and 1980 so I substituted the nearest available year).

1900: $27
1910: $48
1920: $29
1930: $41
1940: $45
1950: $34
1960: $35
1969: $38
1981: $30
1990: $35
2000: $47

This year a seat on the 15 yard line is 129 dollars with the PSL, almost three times as much as it was in 2000 and almost four times as much as it was in 1990, in constant 2012 dollars.

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Ryan Field was half Michigan fans, for some reason [Bryan Fuller]

In Michigan's specific case, they have beaten Ohio State once in the last nine years and are two-touchdown home underdogs. They are getting gouged on ticket prices in an unprecedented fashion. The athletic department has made it absolutely clear that it has no loyalty to them with "dynamic pricing" that only goes one way. Up.

There is a breaking point for even the most zealous fan. I'm the guy with the blog that's his career and I'm at mine. The only reason I am going on Saturday is because I would feel shame at not going. Absent the weird moral imperatives of fandom, I would be doing anything else. Like bowling, which I hate.

Everybody in blue in that stadium—and it will still be a majority, probably—is paying for the privilege of having their heart punched. Unlike you, they are not getting three million dollars to watch Michigan shuffle around like a syphilitic pig who thinks everything's a truffle. Collectively they are in fact giving you those three million dollars. Collectively they built the stadium you play in and the opulent locker rooms you dress in.

So take your "fickle" and shove it. Angry, sure. Impatient, sure. Because we are locked into this thing we do every week that we pretty much hate. We do so out of a sense of loyalty that the program goddamn well doesn't reciprocate with its 500 dollar waiting lists and worst access level in the country—the team that is going to stuff you in a locker on Saturday has open practices in front of the entire student section—and scheduling goddamned Appalachian State because the athletic director thinks it's cute. Any reasonable person would look at the recent history of Michigan football and go do anything else. We're here because we're locked in.

You? You've got a buyout.

It is not the fans' fault that this program is awful to be a fan of. It's not Rich Rodriguez's fault. Anyone who sells their ticket for whatever they can get—currently 60 bucks and dropping from 80 yesterday—is only making a logical decision to not get punched in the soul dong on Saturday.

I'll hate them all the same, but half out of envy this time. They are no longer mindless wallets. They don't give a crap if Brady Hoke calls them fickle, and don't write articles on the internet about it. They are logical people.

The reason Michigan Stadium is going to be half-red on Saturday isn't because of "the world we live in" except insofar as it contains a Michigan football team that people at Abu Ghraib wouldn't show prisoners.

Comments

Bluemandew

November 26th, 2013 at 1:44 PM ^

I cringed when I read Au Ghraib but guess what it is Brians blog and he can break his own rules whenever he wants. But I don't come here to read your political bs comparisons of politics and sport. If you can't come up with a non political comparison take it to  my space because no one wants to read it here.

Bodogblog

November 26th, 2013 at 2:28 PM ^

When others post political BS, and I suppose reading it again it certainly seems offensive to tea partiers.  Apologies to any offended.  I see irrationality on both sides of the aisle, but who cares what I think.  Substitute "Obama/Bush" and "tea partier/left winger" above.  The only reason I used the former is that it's topical and current.

My point is that Brian is of a mindset looking for anything to spray his anger and disappointment, because things aren't the way he wants them to be right now. 

Erik_in_Dayton

November 26th, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

There is a certain inconsistency between the rules as applied to posters and the rules as applied to Brian and his employees.  It's his blog - and it seems increasingly clear (though I hope I'm wrong) that he wants it to be his blog more than anything else - but you can't expect people to like or follow an "It's my ball, and I'm going home" mentality.

umchicago

November 26th, 2013 at 1:47 PM ^

hoke is genuine.  i've attended one of those coaching spiels here in chicago.   i think we have a group of coaches who may actually like bumping elbows with the fans.  that said, he would probably like to rethink what he said here.  the stress may be getting to him a bit too.

nappa18

November 26th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

Who knows what kind of guy he really is, if it matters, but I am pretty certain he appreciates real fans, yes even those that are very critical now. And I do know this, after the NW game he went out of his way to take a picture with my 9 year old granddaughter. She was thrilled. He was.wet, cold, no doubt still in game day mode but was happy to do it.

As did Gallon, Norfleet, and Lewan. Now, we did win a thriller but still...just sayin. Sometimes it's the little things.

bubblelevel

November 26th, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

You are railing against the modern age of sports marketing and "big business".  Got it. 

I'm sure on a relative scale you charge your advertisers right?  Do you decrease your rates when less people look at the blog for a while?

Calling the team (or as will be corrected "shuffling like") syphilitic pigs is really the the best here.  Guaran - fucking - damn  - tee you do not have the balls to say that to a player do you? Piece of shit comment about the team and the kids.

bronxblue

November 26th, 2013 at 1:38 PM ^

You know, he's talking about the program in general, not the kids.  I mean, he's the guy who posted a pretty massice dismissal of anyone calling out individual players, has never openly attacked the players on the team, and has made it clear that his issues reside on the administration and their general disregard for the fans as an entity.  But no, please keep acting as if Brian is taking shots at the players, as it totally fits your misguided narrative.

bubblelevel

November 26th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

That comment about the "team" isn't about the players.  In fact your whole family are a bunch of whores and drug abusers, BUT, I only mean that about "the" family, not the members of "the" family.

Hey, let's even disregard the fact that I also say nice things about your family members too. Now the fact that "the" family are whores and druggies really is said with a smarty-pants engineering degree sarcasm and all your really smart in agreement friends know that.

Poor Brian doesn't like when prices are raised.  Boo fucking hoo. I hate it when prices are raised too and I can make a choice.... but lets get back to talking about your family - the family, not the members you know....

bronxblue

November 26th, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

He said "Michigan", not "the team."  "Michigan" (I presume in this context) is an institution comprised of the athletic department, staff, and, yes, the team in the sense of a football-playing unit on a field, not necessarily the players.  But even if we aren't going to argue about parsed language, I have to imagine you see the general point that Michigan Football is not healthy and the guys at the top are seemingly blind to that reality as they talk about "effort" and "fickleness" and "brand."  

And if you honestly think Brian is being sarcastic in any way here, I'm not sure what to tell you.  He's pretty pissed, and he's making it pretty clear.  Yes, he isn't calling Brady Hoke and the football team a bunch of bad names because, I don't know, it makes you sound like a bit of a hothead.  You want people to swear and throw shit around?  There are multiple threads here and other places where you'll find people wish death and destruction on others.  This particular post ain't the place.

And yes, Brian's advertising rates are typically mandated by the provider of said ads; this site gets decent traffic but I kind of doubt he goes to AppNexus or whoever and demands they pay him a certain amount.  If his traffic drops, they pay him less.  That is "true" dynamic pricing; what Brandon and co. do is monoply-ish covered up with some marketing slogans.

BiSB

November 26th, 2013 at 7:32 PM ^

It was probably one of those auto-generated emails that comes from the site whenever any comment is deleted (or if a comment you reply to is deleted, thereby deleting your comment). I am unfamiliar with the comment of which you speak.

03 Blue 07

November 26th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

I do not, and will never get, the concept that you, the user, believe you're entitled to the same "rights" as Brian, the creator of the thing you are bitching about. You are not entitled to those rights. It is, in fact, his ball, and he can go home if he wants.

As such, I would kindly instruct you to start your own Michigan blog, where the commenters and the creator have the same level of freedom. I surmise it would go the way of all the other Michigan blogs that people tried to start. WLA, I'm looking at you (though you guys had some great stuff- the Barwis writing was incredible, I'll say that, and the fact that I even remember who you are means you did a much better job than the others who started M blogs in the halcyon days of the late 00's and falied miserably.)

So, please, start your blog. I can't wait to not read it. Your only agency here, really, is with your clicks. Please use them and click on another blog if you can't stand the "double standard" that is entirely logical and, I dare say, right. If you didn't like a brand of car, you would stop buying that brand, right? Then do that here. 

(This is intended not just for you, but for all of the others who like to harp on the "double standard" vis-a-vis how commenters are treated vs. how the proprietor is treated.)

Erik_in_Dayton

November 26th, 2013 at 4:48 PM ^

...how that's not a very satisfying answer, right?  No one would be happy if he was kicked out of Target one day for swearing but the next day heard the manager swearing at a bunch of people.  Your response will no doubt be that said person (we) can just leave the store/blog, but Brian doesn't want that, does he? 

03 Blue 07

November 26th, 2013 at 9:34 PM ^

You're right in that he needs traffic to continue his existence running the blog. I think, though, that this is also by nature a creative endeavor for him, and he's willing to alienate a percentage of his audience to remain true to his own sense of mission, etc. So there's push-and-pull between commerce and "authenticity" or some other nebulous such concept. I can't speak for the man; I've never met him. But I sense that he would be willing to lose traffic, to a point, if those who read can't stand what they deem to be the "double standard." And I get it. I'd probably be the same way. 

uofmdds96

November 26th, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

I reluctantly sent my $1500 PSD in for my 2 sect 1 tickets and 4 other corner seats.  At least, "Number one, I would say that we are going to play the game on Saturday, and that's why we're playing it."  Thanks philosopher king.

Has Brady ever heard himself talk?

I am prepared to get punched in the heart.

My head says bet $2000 on OSU.  My head also cannot fathom cheering for OSU to score more.  In the end I will feel dirty, but happy in a way that unknowingly, Urban just made me money.  My heart already hurts, so punch it if you must, just pay me to do it.

 

ish

November 26th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

ordinarily i'd agree it's useful to gather opinions from objective sources, but not forde.  the man is an idiot.  how a lousy writer who doesn't understand what he's writing about had the success he has is beyond me. 

CoachParker6

November 26th, 2013 at 1:26 PM ^

Dear Brady. The worst thing you could do to an already frustrated fan base is to suggest were fickle. Maybe were fickle because we have to pay an inept head coaches salary.

GTFO

antidaily

November 26th, 2013 at 1:30 PM ^

 "we need to run a pro-style offense so we can stop Big Ten offense"

Is indeed horseshit. But would we have signed Damien Harris or George Campbell running the spread? Fuck the spread. The spread is for the Northwesterns of the world. 

Everything else = yes x10000

Monocle Smile

November 26th, 2013 at 1:56 PM ^

This is currently biting us in the ass and will probably bite us in the ass in the future.

The offensive results were pretty damn good. The numbers for 2010 were great and the numbers for 2011, where we did in fact run a primarily spread-oriented attack, were also pretty damn good. 2011 is pretty much what you get when you combine a spread offense with a good defense.

Being a single-minded dick about offensive philosophies makes you a dinosaur, and not a particularly intelligent one.

bronxblue

November 26th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

With RR?  Pretty good.  Hence one of the best offensive seasons in UM history with a first-year starter at QB and a mediocre team around him.  With Borges being a stubborn ass?  A still-top notch offense his first year, with diminishing returns the more Borges tried to constrain Denard and his best abilities.  And BTW, with Denard at QB the team won 11 games, the most since 2006 (and really one of the better seasons on paper in over a decade).