Sunday, August 17, 2014

Recipe for disaster

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 9:25 AM

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Creating the concoction that is a professional sports franchise is akin to baking off a fine crème brulee, or pressure cooking a luxurious oxtail in its own juices — it’s an art form. As a team would be the final dish, the players and elements that compose that team are much like its many, varying ingredients. Some players are cultivated slowly over a long growing season while others are super-refined and specializing in instant satisfaction. Just as in a restaurant dinner service or your grandmother’s Thanksgiving supper, the goal is to put forth the most complete, impressive meal imaginable then to savor the cheers and accolades that are so well deserved.

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good cook and the end results are oftentimes too bitter or salty, just as a front office may end up with a Houston Astros or a Philadelphia 76ers. The recipe for a team that can compete for a championship seems to be pretty straightforward; start with a base of 1 to 3 superstar athletes married with an experienced coach and a dash of deep pockets. It’s been tried and tested, consistently met with good results.

But what makes a good dish go bad? Though no two terrible franchises are ever built alike, there are many commonalities that signify the doomed. When followed carefully, the recipe below has induced nausea and bowel discomfort for millions of unlucky fans.

• Begin with one meaty owner: after making his fortune in frozen yogurt franchises still insisting on making all personnel decisions and, after a conference call with Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban, can’t understand why he shouldn’t be able to call plays from his cell-phone in traffic.

• Gently stir in an overconfident coach: with aspirations to ‘revolutionize’ the way the game is played by implementing a confusing, backwards scheme that is so out of left-field it really shouldn’t work at all, and never will. Like, you know, a wilder version of the wildcat offense.

• Drizzle in an aging veteran: spending so much time being spoiled rotten to the point that every play he isn’t being fed the rock is just a waste of his time, no matter how much he pants when he runs on the shambles he calls knees. Chad Ochocinco is still trying to convince Canadians (and himself) that he’s only on vacation from the game, and that they’ll be calling any day now to beg for his elite services, for example.

• Toss in a young gun: fresh from the draft and viewing his time in the league as a stepping stone towards a multi-billion dollar career as a rapper, using mostly sports-related euphemisms to describe various women and their various parts. It’s too bad that 2 Chainz only played 1 season at Alabama State; forget a franchise, he could’ve destroyed an entire league.

• Sprinkle generously with a dilapidated stadium: named after an enormous corporation, but still full of sharp edges, slippery floors and other lawsuits waiting to happen. The roof collapsed at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and it still took them a year and a half to even vote on whether or not they’d ever build a new stadium. (The Vikings haven’t been particularly good during that stint.)

• And serve: with a team brand that’s confusing, with a garish logo and color scheme. (Yes, Astros, I’m speaking to you again.)

Voila! A violently scorched soufflé of a franchise that is sure to send patrons screaming in horror with bellyaches abound. What then are fans expected to do when there’s only one joint in town? Starve?

No, they’ll keep on swallowing whatever putrid slop is served to them week after week, season after season, hoping that someday the chefs in their sky-rise kitchens get a clue, or a cookbook, and finally put forth a product with substance, quality and nourishment they’ll be excited to consume. Unfortunately, even if a front office has the desire to create something scrumptious, there is no cure for bad taste.

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.

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