Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fan vs. Fanalyst

By definition, you are a sports fan. Otherwise, you would not be reading someone else’s blog about Cleveland sports. The question at hand is whether you are also a fanalyst? Unlike ginormous, fanalyst is not yet accepted in the modern dictionary or in any Scrabble tournaments as far as I know. Fanalyst is just a word that I made up as I was thinking about the Browns’ win Sunday.

You see, the fan in me is ecstatic that if the season ended today (if only we were so lucky), the Browns would be in the playoffs for the second time since they were resurrected. However, the analyst in me knows that we are at best a decent team that has taken advantage of an extremely easy schedule. If you doubt the latter, please know that we have only played three games against the top 16 teams in the league according to Sagarin’s ratings, and we are a lovely 0-3 in those contests.

The fan in me loves that the offense is third in the league in scoring, but the analyst in me knows that defense wins championships and ours has given up the most points in the league. By the way, these numbers are not unrelated. Our high scoring offense typically scores quickly (often due to a short field courtesy of the defense or Mr. Cribbs), which puts our defense back on the field with limited rest. In our past three games, do you know how many drives the offense had that lasted more than six plays? Six out of thirty-seven, excluding kneel downs. It’s even worse when you consider that two of these long drives were the last drives of the games. You see, the fan blames our defense, while the analyst knows that the defense is put on the field way too quickly and way too often.

The fans cheers Derek Anderson onto victory, while the analyst gets nervous that he is Kelly Holcomb with better bone density. The fan actually doesn’t care if Derek Anderson is the answer to our prayers, while the analyst worries about his touch and his decision making and that we could go 10-6 this year, miss the playoffs, and never learn one thing about Brady Quinn other than he looks as foolish in a Browns wool hat as you did when you were seven years old.

These intra-mind battles can be harmless until the analyst in you starts rooting to be right instead of allowing the fan to root for the win. What am I talking about? I am talking about saying, as many of us did earlier this year, “Romeo can’t coach. He is not a leader of men.” Then, for the rest of the year, you suffer from an unconscious battle. You want us to win, but a small part of you wants to be right. This is the turmoil of being a fanalyst.

I actually suffered from this syndrome during the Indians surprising run. I was very bearish about the Tribe at the beginning of the year. The fan in me loved the glowing predictions of success from baseball’s leading analysts, but my analyst saw Delucci, Blake, Michaels & Nixon as a modern version of Manning, Jacoby, Cox & Bannister. The analyst in me kept telling everybody about how our lack of speed and athleticism were dooming the team. So, with the Tribe treading water as late as August, the fan in me was disappointed, but the analyst in me loved being right. I got bailed out when the Indians finally summoned Gutierrez and Cabrera from the minors and traded for Lofton. My fan and my analyst were now aligned – we could win and I could be right. It was ecstasy.

But what happens when this does not occur and your fan and your analyst remain at odds with each other? My advice is simple. Unless you work for ESPN and are paid to be analyst, just F'ing root for your team to win.

Posted by: No Titles in Over 100 Seasons - Stat Guru MG

No comments: