For those of you who don't know about "Bett and Bals", make sure you read the premise. This is all in good fun and usually used for filler, but hey-- it is what it is, right?? I'm not getting paid for this.....though, if I were....
In any case, the first installment of "B&B" has to do with the recent news out about the NHL, who now owns the Phoenix Coyotes, and the City of Glendale trying to reach a lease agreement on the crazy 30 year lease going on.
(Setting: Phoenix condo, overlooking the desert. The living room of Gary Bettman and Jim Balsillie is were we're at, with Gary on the phone trying to work something out.)
Gary Bettman: Now listen, listen-- I'm thinking about we end this year, then go on a week-to-week to basis from this point on. Okay, maybe week-to-week is a little much, sure-- but think of the demand of tickets if they don't know whether or not the team is staying or not. What do you mean "What about the arena employees??" Isn't the arena the Jobing.com Arena?? There ya go, just surf there and they're halfway to a new job. Hello?? Hello??
Jim Balsillie: HAHA-- oh Gary, you'll be the death of me.
GB: How much did you hear??
JB: Enough to know that you're never going to sway the city like that. I mean, let's be honest-- as much as you say you want someone in the position to keep the team in Phoenix, odds are they won't be able to make headway with the city in order to get rid of that ridiculous lease they have lined up.
GB: Look, we both know that the era of hockey in Phoenix in the NHL is coming to a head if we can't get something going. The team is winning and has a great array of talent and aside from the die-hards, no one is showing up unless it's a big name team they've seen on ESPN before.
JB: By the way, how's that DirecTV thing coming??
GB: SILENCE!! Listen, once we find a sucker to take this team off our hands, we'll be fine. Even if I have to give it to that place that wanted to play some games in Toon-Town. I don't get it, Phoenix had the Coyotes and Roadrunners playing hockey at the same time and it's not called Toon-Town yet?? How the hell does that happen??
JB: What's the deal with the marketing?? Wasn't this area supposed to be all in support of this?? I had my fair share of people bashing me for my tactics. This is like the third time it's happened.
GB: They caused an outlash because you're a douche. The fact of the matter is that I already have the die-hards' money. I need to get something going. Something needs to click. We've done the cheap tickets gimmick, we've done reduced sales, NOTHING!! It's like this climate can't deal with the idea of hockey.
JB: Shocking. It's not like the sunbelt gimmick you tried to pull is a complete failure-- just look at the ownerships in the other places like Miami, Tampa, Atlanta....they're thriving in your experiment in all of this. It's not like they have ownership issues or attendance issues or anything like that.
GB: But....but Tampa won a Cup. They had a guy who did the "SAW" movies and "Two and a Half Men," how could it go wrong?? The Thrashers have nine guys owning the team.
JB: Nine guys??
GB: Nine guys. And Miami....well, who knows when David Caruso will pop-up and remove his glasses. If we have a "Guaranteed David Caruso Night" for a Panthers game-- oh boy will we have a hot bank for that market. If we can do that 41 games a year-- mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.
JB: Great "In Living Color" reference, grandpa. Here's the issue with all of this, I'm looking at those four markets on my new BlackBerry Bold...
GB: Stop with the plugs....
JB:....and those markets are (scroll, scroll, scroll) 25th (Tampa), 26th (Florida), 28th (Atlanta), and 30th (Phoenix) in attendance figures. And it's not like there's not talent-- the ownerships don't know how to market a team in an area like that. They try once and when it doesn't happen for them, they don't try a different avenue. They think it's a one-shot deal and then flounder, wondering why it didn't work. You have to try different things, pick and choose....like your BlackBerry choices.
GB: Oof....but how do you do that?? I mean, even with new owners-- who's to say it'll chance. Hell, we're not doing anything to make them more manageable. The insane part is the people who think movements will do anything. Let's be honest here, odds are this team won't be here in five years unless something miraculous happens. This team is Kansas City bound, hell....maybe we could give this ship to you.
GB: No, but you got your hopes up didn't you??
(Knock on the door)
GB: It's unlocked, we're trusting like that.
(Door opens to the upstairs neighbor)
Judge Redfield T. Baum: T-BOMBED!!!!!
(Door closes and footsteps run up the stairs)
GB: God, I hate when he does that.
JB: Are you kidding me, that's fantastic. It's the newest hook out there.
GB: Always have to be difficult don't you??
JB: What would this horrific sitcom be without it??