We get e-mail. Occasionally, it’s mindless; occasionally it’s insightful, like this note yesterday from reader Jim Sonnenberg, who took issue with Tab Bamford’s Monday column, “Detroit Sucks (Really, They Do This Time)”:
I understand the need to toss red meat to segments of your readership from time to time, but the Tab Bamford piece that ran today seemed to crystallize everything I hate about this kind of provincial pandering.
Instead of exposing the sheer, knuckle-dragging idiocy of the “Detroit Sucks” chant so commonly heard at the United Center, Bamford dances around the fact that Detroit has been a “model of consistent excellence” for years before closing with one of the most clumsily constructed “conclusions” to ever appear in a piece of Chicago sportswriting:
“Detroit sucks? Yes, they might. And soon.”
Beyond the comedic gold that series of “sentences” represents, let’s consider a few facts:
+ Detroit has won four Stanley Cups and made six Stanley Cup appearances since 1996. Over that same period, the Blackhawks have appeared once and won once.
+ Detroit has amassed 100 or more points for 12 consecutive seasons, an NHL record.
+ Detroit has not made a pick in the Top 10 of the NHL draft for more than 20 years, a result of the “consistent excellence” that Bamford referred to.
+ The above has not stopped them from finding gems such as Pavel Datsyuk (171st overall, 6th round) and Henrik Zetterberg (210th overall, 7th round) while consistent shittiness (and a bit of luck) allowed the Blackhawks to nab Patrick Kane (1st overall) and Jonathan Toews (3rd overall) in back-to-back drafts. Who sucks again?
+ The Blackhawks, perhaps aware of the consistency model working so well for the neighbors to the east, raided Detroit’s front office, luring coaching legend Scotty Bowman to their front office to assist with scouting, drafting and, apparently, power play woes. This followed various ill-fated attempts to promote from “within.” Dirk Graham, Denis Savard, Trent Yawney ring any bells? Or win anything?
Now, don’t confuse me with a Red Wings fan. No, I am a diehard Blackhawks fan who has come to admire a professionally run franchise that was lightyears ahead of our ass-backwards organ-I-zation during the dark days of the Bob Pulford/Bill Wirtz era. I was at the United Center, alongside 6,000-8,000 of my fellow masochists, watching Detroit regularly break our hearts with last-second heroics. And all the while, the chant rained down from the rafters like it does now.
It remains one of the dumbest things you can bellow from your cakehole at the United Center, and Bamford’s hacky piece today won’t do anything to change that. Opportunity missed.
PS: I like the site most days.