I know at one time I turned around and Duke and Greenway were holding hands with that look in their eyes.
Break out Reggie and Mel gear tomorrow night?
Seriously, maybe some Area 55 diehards can caravan to Springfield for an ultimate road trip. Personally, I've always wanted to go. What better excuse than a Pacers induction ceremony, and we can campaign for Slick while we are there! Unfortunately, it's the weekend AFTER Labor Day.
Area 55 got a nod in the Sports Illustrated recap of the Knicks game tonight. Here is the link:
ESPN got us too. Actually, they just used the same story. Cheapskates.
I'm sure many of you know Scott and Annie Cline. They had the awesome Area 55Ber video. I'm sure many of you also know that Scott and Annie live in Northern Indiana, and have to drive a combined total of 5 hours each night just to see a game. They have been to virtually every game this season. This is a little back and forth I had with Scott on Facebook:
Me: "Scott, man, I got nothing but respect for you guys. That's quite a haul you have to make, and you guys are there practically each and every night. Awesome."
Scott: "It's well worth. It's always been a dream of mine growing up. I was the only Pacers fan I knew growing up in northern Indiana in the late 80s early 90s and have wanted this chance my whole life and this season has been unreal. So glad to join all of you in Area 55, even if i have to drive 5+ hours every game!"
That's what I'm talking about. That's a Pacers fan. This is what Area 55 is all about; allowing those of us who never dreamed of having season tickets the opportunity to not only have tickets, but to be a part of the experience and be part of a (very dysfunctional) family. That's just awesome.
Just an update for the AREA55 folks on my Brazilian group. Total of 13 going to the game with tickets in Section 2 rows 33 and 34 just adjacent to you guys/gals. Will probably hit the Arbys next to your PTO area before the game and will try to make a quick introduction (if that's ok) before we head down to the fieldhouse. Want to make sure they have enough opportunity to check out the wonderment known as BLF. I think they'll probably wear their own school t-shirts (Rose-Hulman), but will be proudly displaying their Brazilian flag.
Hitting all the games is hard for so many of us that live in Indy. But when I think about those making the trek from Gary, Bedford, Anderson, Hartford City, and various other East Pajeezuses, our perfect attendance certificates sort of pale by comparison. Thanks Mr. Dearing for awarding the kudos to the Clines. Richly deserved.
Before you ask, no Im not a professional. Though my work clearly showcases my raw photo editing talents.
I think we got a couple guys up in the upper rows who drive in almost from Cincinati.
AREA 55 NEWS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK!!!!
Greetings, Area 55 denizens! Hold on to your hats! Run to your storm cellars! Batten down the hatches! The Oklahoma City Thunder has arrived in our city and the Thunder's plan is to blow our boys away!
Reportedly, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, James Harden and the rest of their Thunder ilk are angry. They blow into Indy on a downer, after losing 2 straight. They say they mean to turn things around. See, the Thunder haven’t lost 3 in a row all season.
Hopefully, our Pacers will give them a new first. Hopefully too Area 55 will be on hand to help our Pacers do that.
I’ve always found it difficult to take “the Oklahoma City Thunder” seriously. There’s something weird and incongruous to me about this basketball assemblage and the whole idea of their being in Oklahoma.
Maybe it’s because I remember the Thunder’s ******* origins -- wrenched, as they were, out of Seattle by their pompous NBA owner, Clay Bennett, back in 2008 and then artificially inseminated into the wind-swept plains of Oklahoma. To me, anyway, there’s always been something wrong and illegitimate about them.
A lot of former Sonics fans back in Seattle feel the same way. If you’re so inclined, a cursory google of the words “Clay Bennett” and “hate” on your computer’s search engine will still barf out a plethora of website fun originating from Seattle. Despite the passage of 4 years, the recipients of Seattle’s largesse -- Oklahoma City's fans -- are still a tad uneasy about the conditions surrounding their acquisition from Seattle. Some of them, apparently, still feel the need to be a trifle apologetic about the way it all happened -- even to this day:
Maybe it’s the “Oklahoma” part of the Thunder’s name that weirds me out.
To me, the word “Oklahoma” always conjures up a lot of 1930s Dust Bowl imagery – mostly of weather-beaten Okies, their possessions piled in old jalopies, trying their best to get away from the god-forsaken place. You know what I mean: tumbleweeds rolling though empty streets; withered shoots of corn trying vainly to poke through dry, parched soil; illiterate Sooners squatting on their rickety front porches, warily eyeing the evening sky, and wondering when the next infestation of locusts will descend. It’s hard to visualize pro basketball being played in a historical setting like Oklahoma.
Maybe it’s the whole idea of a football-crazy state like Oklahoma trying to nurture NBA basketball that unnerves me. Images of Kevin Durant in bib-overalls, Russell Westbrook walking through a farm and admiring the corn that “is as high as an elephant’s eye” or Serge Ibaka, clad in a straw hat, and “climbing clear up to the sky” to make a big block, all come surrealistically to mind.
Mostly, though, when I think about the Thunder, I see horrible images of David Stern at a press conference announcing the Oklahoma City relocation, embracing his millionaire buddy, Clay Bennett, and grinning toothily at Seattle's fans -- like a 5-year old kid who has just thrown a whole roll of Charmin into the family toilet and then pulled the john's handle.
But enough of this.
Suffice it to say that if we win this game tonight, there will be some approving smiles reserved for the Pacers in the now NBA-barren city limits of Seattle. I sure hope that happens!
PTO Hijinks! First, contrary to the false alarm I gave in the last Newsletter, it’s on the 13th, when we play Cleveland, that that coterie of Brazilians (with women in tow) will supposedly be coming to the PTO. Reportedly, they’re really enthused about seeing their countryman, Leandrinho, and I’ve been told that they will be carrying with them their wonderful Brazilian flag (You know, the one with the Brazilian motto “Ordem e Progresso” emblazoned on a big ball depicting the night sky as viewed from Rio).
The upcoming visit gives me hope that IUPUI's Ukrainian student body will do something similar for their fellow citizen and new Pacers acquisition Kirilo Fesenko. I'm partial to Brazilian women, but I like Ukrainian women too. BPump, get on this immediately!
So be patient, inebriates! The Brazilians are still coming! Just not tonight. Keep practicing your samba steps!
At tonight’s PTO, by Presidential fiat, attendees have been ordered to devote their beery inspiration to the noble task of coming up with some new cheers for the upcoming playoffs. My suspicion is our foe will be Atlanta, but that still isn’t a lead pipe cinch. Anyway, anyone wishing to participate in this worthwhile endeavor, be on hand! In keeping with this, PTO VP and General Manager Casey O'Brien has promised to add a nifty new tattoo to his corpus depicting Atlanta burning (assuming enough free space can be found on his body, given his plethora of earlier prison tattoos).
NOW FOR SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT OKLAHOMA CITY!
Oklahoma City! Sports Capital! In 2008, the year David Stern okayed Bennett’s move to Oklahoma City, The Sporting News ranked Oklahoma City 79th among the 400 best sports cities in America. Seattle, at that time, was ranked 32nd. Consequently, the move to Oklahoma City made a lot of sense to the Commish, who always does his homework before making important executive decisions.
BTW, if memory serves me right, Oklahoma City was also outranked in The Sporting News’ 2008 estimation by some Indiana towns, Terre Haute, Beech Grove, and Loogootee among them. Loogootee’s NBA bid, sadly, is still languishing among the other applications for franchises on Commissioner Stern’s cluttered desk.
Someday, maybe, Loogootee. Be patient!
Let’s Go to the Annual NBA Mascot of the Year Awards! In last year's Newsletter, I explained how Thunder mascot, Rumble the Bison (“Rumble” is reportedly a Cherokee Indian word that, loosely translated, means “Anthropomorphic Buffalo-Who-Walks-on-Two Legs") came to Oklahoma City. You’ll recall that Thunder owner, Clay Bennett, in another slap at Seattle, simply hired the guy who was the old Sonics mascot, stuck him in a buffalo suit, and then paid him to relocate too to OKC).
But I didn’t tell you this!
On August 13, 2009, Rumble was awarded the NBA Mascot of the Year award at the NBA's annual mascot meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rumble reportedly received the award “in recognition of his representing the Thunder at various community events throughout the Oklahoma City region. Despite only serving as the team's official mascot for 6 months at the time, the mascot program Rumble developed was regarded as one of the best in the NBA.”
The really interesting thing to me about the above is not that Rumble won the award. Rather, the really interesting thing is that the NBA actually holds an Annual Mascot Meeting!
In 2009 it was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, it was held in Milwaukee and Memphis’ faux-ursine mascot, Grizz, won it. Grizz reportedly won in 2011 because of his “array of acrobatic antics and hilarious hi-jinks” and it was the first time that Memphis’ “furry fan favorite” won the award. Boomer take note! Apparently, alliteration plays a big factor in getting the Annual NBA Mascot of the Year Award.
Anyway, I will be investigating all aspects of the NBA Annual Mascot Meeting more thoroughly in upcoming issues of this Newsletter. So far, I have learned this much: The “NBA Mascot of the Year” is selected by majority vote of the whole NBA mascot body – sort of like the way the Oscars are done. Unfortunately, despite my most diligent efforts, I have been unable to locate the 2012 venue for this important NBA event or who the nominees are.
I for one, think Area 55 should organize a caravan to the next Annual NBA Mascot Meeting (wherever the hell they’re holding it – and here I think a strong case can be made for Indianapolis hosting the event). Hopefully then we can lobby for Boomer. Stay tuned!
Oops! Duty calls. Also, it's time to go to press! But before I go (and in a crass effort to up the male readership of this thing), here's Kate Upton demonstrating how to do the Dougie at a recent Clippers game. Kate's the babe from the Hardee's "Some Like It Hot Commercial". Don't say your Prez never gave you anything, 55ers.
Let’s be extra-loud tonight and tomorrow night, fellow revelers. It’d be quite an accomplishment if the Pacers somehow could come away with home wins over the Thunder and the Celtics on successive nights. Hell, then we might finally crack the top NBA story on ESPN's Sports Center!
GO PACERS! GO AREA 55!