Late yesterday, as people left their offices and subjected themselves to the giant game of vehicular pinball that is “Oregonians somehow forgetting what rain is after two months of 85 degree weather” a tiny tidbit of Portland Trail Blazers news snuck into the ether:
The Blazers will no longer distribute coupons for a free Taco Bell Chalupa as reward for the team scoring 100 points.
Someone standing next to their upturned Volvo station wagon, shellshocked by the idea that all this water could possibly come falling out of the sky, decided to check their Facebook while waiting for a passing bus to vomit the contents of a nearby puddle onto their pants. And that person hit “share” and one of their followers hit “tweet” and so on and so forth until the news had gone viral.
The outcry from Portlanders was such that the Blazers had to issue a second statement, a more comforting one, reassuring potential ticket buyers that their trips to the Moda Center will still be fruitful:
Hey, here’s a suggestion: How about you replace the coupons for refried cowshit in a flour diaper…
Yes! How about that? It would be nice if instead of being “rewarded” with a wallet full of tepid dogfood, I instead got a win from the team I paid money to watch!
Unless most “Blazers Fans” consider a ticket to the game to be not much more than a lottery in which you watch people scramble around a floor from a thousand yards up until someone on the loudspeaker tells you that you won an edible colostomy bag. That's probably not the wisest choice of leisure expenditure.
Reminder: In the team’s glory days, which includes the late ‘70s, late ‘80s, and early ‘90s, fans somehow felt “rewarded” for attending games without the threat of hydrogenated dead animal and shredded cheese product looming over them for 48 minutes. People went home happy without ever thinking to themselves “That was a fun game. I wish I’d won a free squirt of meat slurry though.”
In fact, I submit to you that the last 14 years of this team’s history have been not the brightest. Maybe it's coincidence those 14 years just happened to coincide with an era where fans in the building made it pretty obvious they cared more about whether they got a coupon for free Taco Hell than they did the team actually winning. It probably is.
But there is a real downside to this announcement: Many local vendors of legitimate food honored those coupons, and many less-fortunate citizens of Portland recieved those coupons from fans who gave them away instead of redeeming them. So people who wouldn’t normally have gotten anything to eat that night sometimes did get some food (ish) to put in their bodies. And people who wouldn’t normally have tried out a food cart or a newer establishment, got a nice sampler of what their wares were like. Those experiences are off the table for now, and that does suck.
But that’s not the downside most are referring to when they tweet responses like these, collected by Ben Golliver of Blazer’s Edge.
There are Blazers fans who honestly believed this aspect of attending games improved the “fan experience.” Goddamn that’s fucking weak. If I was one of the people actually playing the game, I might be a little disturbed/concerned that the fans I’m playing for value a half-assed sandwich more than they value my skills. The Blazers did less damage control after the Moda Center name was revealed than they’re doing for this breakup with Taco Bell.
Or, maybe, were I not a vertically challenged, hairy, overweight, potato-shaped lump of constant disappointment, and instead, someone who had made it to the Blazers roster; I wouldn’t be concerned at all! I’d just play my game and do my work and get my money and collect the wins as they came. That's probably the best way to look at this "news": They came to the game? Great! Let ‘em eat shit if they want. Whatever makes 'em happy.
And in that spirit, let us hope that the next turdly reward is one truly worthy of Portland's lusty mooing.
And Adios, readers of my Blazers blogging: This post represents the last of my duties as Blazers beat reporter for the Mercury. I do not know who (if anyone) will be picking up the slack, as I left plenty of it in the wake of (desperately) trying (and failing) to fill Ezra Ace Caraeff's shoes. Whoever it might be, I hope they do a better job than I did in all areas: brevity, consistency, insight, and comedy. It shouldn't be too hard, it's not like I left a high bar to hurdle. For example: The preceding 800 word post about Chalupas.