Briefly: ESPN = Classy and Professional!/Gladiators Cut Their Losses

15 05 2007

I really wish we could’ve broken this story, because then maybe that’d mean we were playing with the big boys, but considering I finally got off my keister (…Ladies…) and created a “tipline” email last Thursday, it’s no wonder the Premiere (Only) Arena Football Blog wasn’t informed that tomorrow is “Arena Football Day” in Bristol, CT. I, like Deadspin, and Jim Romenesko’s Media News before me, will post the memo in its entirety:

Wednesday, May 16
11:30am – 1:30p.m.

Connecticut based employees will be receiving Arena Football team t-shirts compliments of Russell Athletic.

If you are comfortable, please wear it to work on Wednesday, May 16th, as a symbol of welcome to our Arena Football guests.

* Tailgate party at the Bristol cafeteria compliments of the Arena Football League.

* Commissioner David Baker, AFL Staff, & Ownership, as well as “Special Guests” will be in attendance.

* Hamburgers and Hotdogs will be served.

I have so. Many. Questions. Special guests? Mike and Mike already work for ESPN, as does Jaws… Do they get Crush owner John Elway? Jon Bon Jovi? Who? It was certainly nice of the Arena League to spring for t-shirts, hamburgers and hot dogs, though. Who’s organized this? Who needs whom more? Is ESPN pretending that they’re excited about the AFL so they don’t pull their contract? Is this an elaborate Potemkin Village for David Baker? To what end? A prank? Is this like Taming of the Shrew or something? Does ESPN win a bet if they can make the Arena League a Big Deal? Or is everyone just crazy?

 What isn’t crazy is that Las Vegas just said “You know what, fuck it, let’s just get drunk,” today and fired their coaching staff. However, coach Danton Barto and his crew will finish out the season. This is disappointing, because I’d really be thrilled to see the Gladiators play entirely like a backyard team, drawing up needlessly complex plays in the huddle with no coach, and substituting awkwardly based on social status. “No, that’s okay, I can sit out another series,” awkward WR Joe Douglass will say, to avoid conflict. Other fun times for Danton Barto includes the fact that he was told at the San Jose airport that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, which had to make for a real fun flight. It makes me think of the scene from the second season of The West Wing when there’s a flashback to when President Bartlet got the Democratic nomination and Josh Lyman finds out his father died that same night. Josh leaves the victory party to go home, Bartlet catches up to Josh in the airport, and they talk about how proud Josh’s dad would’ve been, and how Bartlet couldn’t have done it without his staff, etc. It’s very stirring, and I imagine Danton Barto getting canned to be just like this scene, except the exact opposite.