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Why I like this site

Well, there are many reasons. You check out the in-game commentary on some other b-ball sites and it can get pretty inane. Folks here tend to be a little funnier and a little more nerdily stat-specific (the way they back up their opinions with advanced metrics sometimes makes my head spin and almost always makes me feel dumb -- and glad I read it.) Even the "wooot! Go team" stuff is genuinely enthusiastic. It doesn't demean, usually, the other team or its fans.

And, as an ex-pat (or ex-Port) who doesn't have the expensive NBA cable or internet channels, I keep my (rather silly, but so what) love for the Blazers alive by participating vicariously through the posts here. Reading the "wooot! Go team" stuff is like being in a Portland bar or watching the basement TVs in my old U of O dormitory. Reading the more serious posts is like listening to the best of sports-talk radio or the best of press coverage, without the bad side.

What I like best, I think, is the inclusive attitude. Not long ago I wrote a pretty savage piece on a sports owner from another team. I thought the website patrons were worshipping him and he didn't deserve that worship. (I don't think any sports owner does, and not too many players for that matter.) I didn't insult the fans, I just made the observation that worshipping the team owner -- because he owns the team whose games you love to watch -- strikes me as more than a little odd. I understand and support homerism, but what I love about sports involves both the good and the bad. I root for teams and follow the ups and downs of players' careers like a soap-opera fanatic. Yet part of me acknowledges that there's something silly sitting in the bleachers at Target Field, whistling distance from Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer, seeing a normal human being who makes more money than anyone I'll ever know (teachers, social workers and the like) because he swings a bat real good. It's a little twisted -- and one of the reasons I can enjoy watching players like Cuddyer is that I think a lot of them know it's twisted, are befuddled by it, regard their celebrity as a bit of a joke, and are grateful to the fans for the money they make. They know they don't, really, deserve it, so they play their guts out in order to deserve it.

I think Blazer fans appreciate the current roster because it has a lot of guys like that. The Jail Blazer era wasn't bad just because of misdemeanors, but because of the arrogance and sense of entitlement many of the players had. Damon Stoudamire getting caught at the airport with weed wrapped in tinfoil was dumb (and pretty funny), but Damon felt horrible about it and always played hard, even if he wasn't the greatest talent. J.R. Rider and Bonzi and Zach acting like Portlanders were a bunch of dumb honky ninnies was far more offensive. Who doesn't love Channing Frye for how much he liked the city?

Anyhoo. I wrote a piece on another SB site, about how I don't agree that owners should be regarded as gods -- in fact, I think they're a necessary evil, and many of the things they do (hello, Seattle, Sacramento, et. al) are positively rotten. The piece was first crucified and then zapped. Out of memory, out of existence. Which is fine. People should make a website into what they want it to be. Obviously that site isn't what I want from a fansite, and obviously my take isn't one those fans want to read. No harm, no foul, and hopefully what I wrote didn't sour anyone too badly before it was erased.

I think, though, that I would have gotten away with it here. If I criticized Paul Allen for, say, how he runs Vulcan or Ticketmaster (I don't know much about either organization or if he even runs them anymore, but like everybody else I'm annoyed by Ticketmaster) I think the piece would stand or fail on its own merits. People would comment positively or negatively. If the post really touched a nerve, I might expect to see a rebuttal response with quite a few more "recs" to it.

And that's what I dig about BlazersEdge. It seems there's room here for the stat geniuses, the enthusiastic fans looking to share joy and anguish with others, and the outliers like myself who have major issues with pro sports in general but can't help being addicted. I've written some dumb stuff over the couple of years I've checked out this site, and none of it has ever been erased -- people just gave it the cold shoulder it deserved.

Again, nothing wrong with tailoring a site to another set of tastes. Make it what people want it to be. But I like this site. I like the way it doesn't make me feel silly or dumb to be a Blazer fan -- well, to be perfectly honest, at times it DOES make me feel silly. It helps me recapture the silliness of excitement when a shot goes in or the underdog wins that is the silliness of childhood and the reason I still love sports in spite of myself. Without it I probably wouldn't be a Blazer fan today. But if the site wasn't as inclusive -- if it didn't allow room for the naysayers -- I wouldn't be able to enjoy the silliness, the happiness, as much.

So it's one I like, and thanks to y'all for making it so (Picard-style.)

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