- Sports franchise versus community:
Clueless immigrant could hear the contorted screams of delight of a thousand Californian rednecks. It was an ugly sound, like the cry of a dying whale. The town, he surmised, would soon be drunk dry of its normally bounteous supply of Bud Light. The reason for this raucousness was the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series. Joe Buck, not the Joe Buck played by Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy, but rather a smarmy, bespectacled Fox sportscaster kept informing Clueless that this was the Giants’s sixth World Series though its first in San Francisco. Clueless being a curious chap was aware of the Giants’s previous history in which they had played at the Polo Grounds, New York and where they won five World Series before uprooting themselves and moving to San Francisco, and while he understood it all on a theoretical level that despite moving from NY to SF it was still the same entity, he still couldn’t quite wrap his immigrant head around sports franchises when it came to honours won. Specifically, Clueless couldn’t get his head round the fact that championships won when a franchise was based in a different city still counted as belonging to the team. Clueless, you see, had some oddly old-fashioned and, if we’re honest, slightly pompous, windbag views about sports teams being rooted to their communities. As a point of principle he was disdainful of the M.K. Dons* but acknowledged that they, at least, had the decency not to claim Wimbeldon’s F.A. Cup win as their own. Yes, the Giants as a legal entity may have moved 3,000 miles, but in Clueless’s mind sports teams are, or should be, more than just incorporated organizations and for any team to move 3,000 miles away from their original home means a sense of continuum is forever lost and that includes all the glittering prizes won up to that point.
- Trophies being first handed to club owners and not the players:
Bill Neukom, the San Francisco Giants General Manager, makes a point about wearing the nattiest bow ties you could hope to see. Indeed Clueless Immigrant has been so taken with Mr Neukom’s sartorial elegance that he is contemplating sporting the Neukom look himself, but what befuddled Clueless was that it was Mr Neukom who was the first person to receive the Commissioner’s Trophy for the Giants winning the World Series. Clueless had also noticed this when watching the Super Bowl, the trophy is not handed to the team captain or the most senior player, but to some wheezing, antediluvian of an owner or General Manager. It all seems too anticlimactic and not the sort of romantic, iconic image that sport can do so well. It was also, Clueless felt, a little unfair on the players that had actually won the trophy to be pushed aside in the moment of glory for some accountants to hold the trophy aloft.
- Team managers wearing baseball uniforms:
There’s some gnarly, old men managing MLB teams. Bruce Bochy resembles a retired woodwork teacher and Charlie Manuel has the look of a grandfather who in his dotage has wandered out of the nursing home and gotten himself lost in the local park. That they all wear baseball uniforms makes them, in Clueless’s opinion, look even more ridiculous – more like geriatrics readying themselves for a chair aerobics lesson down at the YMCA than millionaire coaches. While Clueless understands it may be against MLB rules, he’d like to see them in nice suits. He reasons it’d be more dignified and authoritative. And besides, what sort of sport puts in a ridiculous rule that means a 66 year old man like Charlie Manuel has to wear sportswear rather than a nice woolen cardigan? You don’t see Mike Krzyzewski on the sidelines in a basketball kit whenever Duke play. If baseball coaches have to keep wearing uniforms in order to enter the field of play then Clueless thinks Bud Selig, baseball’s Commisioner and, by the looks of him, the socially awkward, older brother of Bill Gates, should have to wear one too.
*A British soccer team that moved from Wimbeldon to Milton Keynes.