Recently, one of the Stockton Thunder’s rivals, the Bakersfield Condors, released their schedule of special promotions for the upcoming 2013 season. Along with typical events like half price beer and dollar hot dog night and a mini-knee sock giveaway are two events aimed at Stockton, “Our City Isn’t Bankrupt Night” (which promised a “Rolls Royce” “giveaway” and “Millions of Dollars“) and a Stockton voodoo doll giveaway (self-explanatory).
Stockton Thunder President Dan Chapman posted a response on his Facebook page stating that the Thunder were “deeply saddened that a fellow member of our league would stoop to such a low level to try and gain publicity or sell tickets.” Record Sports Editor Bob Highfill also chimed in with a column entitled “Only thing bankrupt is owner’s idea of comedy” in which he claimed that bankruptcy was “a sensitive topic around here” and that it was “beyond what any reasonable person would consider good-natured promotional fun.” I guess that makes me an unreasonable person.
I understand why Chapman is unhappy. As a formal City Council member he not only has a dog in the on going pension battle, he shares some of the blame for Stockton being in the predicament it’s in. Which is why, as a person who enjoys busting someone’s balls more than most, I have to admire the Condors for their awesome, multi-layered burn.
Maybe it’s because Stockton’s bankruptcy really hasn’t had any effect on me so far, but I don’t consider it anywhere close to the top of Stockton’s sacred cows. It’s not like they’re doing murder rate night or something. If our economic collapse was because of some sort of tragic, freak accident I could understand some level of indignation. The housing market collapse is hardly that. Stockton is in the place it’s in because they kept betting on black (the housing market), took out a huge line of credit while they were winning, and didn’t think to play the numbers before the roulette wheel went the other way. When you screw up at that massive of a level you kind of just have to sit back and take your lumps. Nobody likes the guy who loses big at the casino and won’t let his friends razz him for it. You’re supposed to take a swig of your drink proportionate to the amount of money you lost and remind them of the time they lost their rent money playing Pai Gow.
The most frustrating part of this thing is that stuff like this is supposed to be the stuff that people can rally around. If there was ever anybody who need something to rally around and be proud of, it’s the people of Stockton. Sure, it’s just the Thunder, but it’s something. Stuff like this drives up attendance not only in Bakersfield but in Stockton too. Now when the Condors come to town the place will be filled with people frothing at the mouth to tell them Bakersfield sucks. It’s win-win. If you don’t want to bring everyone together through a bunch of Canadians and Russians beating the crap out of each other on ice then why did you bring us a hockey team in the first place? THIS IS WHAT SPORTS IS FOR.
Plus, we’re really going to let Bakersfield get under our skin? Bakersfield of all places? What’s next? Letting Fresno get to us? Have you ever heard of someone going to Bakersfield to do something other than take a dump at the gas station on the way to Disneyland? They’re a glorified rest stop with a mayor. Granted, we’re also well-known as being a town close to a lot of cooler places, but our cooler places are way more cooler(er). Bakersfield may be the gateway to Southern California but we have San Francisco, Napa, AND Sacramento (I guess). Reno, Tahoe, and Yosemite also deserve an honorable mention for being reasonably close. Down in SoCal is nothing but desert.
What I’m trying to get at, is that we should thank the Condors for playing the game and trying to ignite a good old fashioned North vs. South rivalry. Usually the antagonist isn’t the worst team in the conference (and 2nd worst in the league in 2012), but you have to sell tickets somehow. Stockton prefers an admirable playoff run. Looks like Bakersfield has to resort to offering pop singers contracts and trolling Raiders fans with football-themed ticket prices (Which, coincidentally, I also found hilarious).