Monday, March 2, 2009

Jeff Schultz on the Spirit: Catching Up to the Chronicle

Plans have circulated for weeks on Internet message boards to turn Friday’s home game against Montreal into a protest night. Several fans have vowed to wear paper bags, maybe with “Atlanta Spirit Stinks” on it. (Something about the acronym, apparently.) Others are considering bringing signs. Maybe they’ll even burn Damian Rhodes in effigy. Again.

Pretty good line about Damian Rhodes. Anyway, the Chronicle supports this protest. Have at it, we say. I'll be wearing Garibaldi red and leading an infantry charge through the CNN Center, until I slip on spilled beer and screw up my right knee again.

What I found interesting, though, was this:

General manager Don Waddell justifiably has taken the most heat. But the Spirit is a rising target. Owners entered this season seemingly more concerned about paying their legal bills than improving a team that has one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL.

Worst of all: They seem indifferent to the losing. It’s the worst message ownership can send fans.

Schultz is exactly right about this, of course, for it's obvious to everyone and awfully hard to deny.

But...and we of the Chronicle don't mean to pat ourselves on the back in public view...the Chronicle was there this time last year, when most people were more focused on the comic ineptness of our GM than on the appalling indifference of our owners. But more and more it seems that the fans have directed their attention where most of it needs to be: towards the owners and not just the bumbling, hapless Waddell they keep employed. It seems like a simple enough way of looking at things: if you want radical change in an organization, you must go to the root of the problem. The root is the Atlanta Spirit, I think. And now even Jeff Schultz agrees! Clearly he reads us.

The Chronicle's editorial stance has always been ambivalent on DW--acknowleding the occasional good moves he's made along with the horrible ones, also acknowledging that a lot of his Epic Fail has to do with the fact that he's got given much to work with by his employers--and hostile to the Atlanta Spirit. We're glad the rest of the world is finally catching up.

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