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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A New Challenger Approaches! (It's Tom Musick)

For a long time now, it's been pretty obvious how my usual media targets break out. Hub is sensationalist and needlessly critical. Bernstein cares more about snark than content, and it backs him into corners. Morrissey is just an asshole.

And then there's Telander. Everyone else's ridiculous assertions and criticisms are generally gross overreactions, but they at least have their origin in something real. Telander just kind of picks the least sensible direction and charges at it drunkenly.

For that reason, Telander has long been "the Stupid One" for me. After so many years of great coverage, after so many years of watching this team he loves struggle and suffer and fail, he just turned his brain off when it came to anything after 1985.

But now, a new darkness is spreading. I've already done one article from Tom Musick about something that was just ass-flappingly stupid. And I thought "Y'know it's training camp. It's dumb, but the guy has to write about something. He did it poorly, but he had to do it."

Not true. This is clearly going to be an ongoing thing. Because this baffling collection of phrases, entitled "Trestman's 'Great Value' Promise Checks Out," exists.

In accordance with the Old Ways, Tom's statements will be in italics.

Blame Marc Trestman.

What are we blaming him for here? That's a strong stance to take with your first sentence, I'm not really sure you can get by without elaborating a little first.

He didn’t have to hype the Bears’ preseason finale on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. He didn’t have to speak as if a backup-laden snoozer of a game carried major implications.

I think he kind of did. It's his job, y'know. To do that. Also, it may not mean much toward the season in general but it is kind of the last hurrah for a lot of guys sitting on the bubble.

He did, anyway.

“There’s great value in this game on multiple levels,” Trestman said.

And he was totally right. The final round of cuts depends largely on who looks the best in that fourth preseason game. The starters are already set, or at least narrowed down to a couple of guys with guaranteed roster spots. The first team has been chosen, the second team is rapidly solidifying, and all that remains is to see who gets those final backup spots.


Multiple levels, you say?

If you weren't wearing a period costume and stroking your mustache when you said that, it doesn't count.

Let’s see about that.

Do we have to?

In the basement of Soldier Field’s north parking garage, brothers Mike Kasper of McHenry and John Kasper of Arlington Heights sipped on Miller Lites before the game. The right to park there cost $40, if you average the $400 season pass that includes 10 games.

Oh you're... you're thinking that kind of value. This is going to be fun.

“You’re not going to see any starters,” John Kasper said. “You’re not getting value. Let’s get real.

That's a fair assessment. I wouldn't buy tickets to a preseason game, doubly so if it was the last one. However, the "value" Trestman spoke of was almost certainly not related to ticket prices or even spectators. 

“But on the other hand, when you do come to a preseason game, what do you expect? You want to see the second and third team perform.”

So, the opposite of what you said before. I think Tom has some sort of aura, a Radiant Effect that makes the people around him dumber. I think it's his boots, actually. That sounds like a boot enchantment.

They did, more or less, in an 18-16 loss.

HoHO! Needless dig at the backups' backups! Nice one, Tom.

If not for the preseason finale, Mike Kasper would have hopped on his Harley-Davidson and traveled north from his McHenry home into Wisconsin. But instead of passing through places such as Richmond and Genoa City and Pell Lake, he watched Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards pass to receivers such as Terrence Toliver and Brittan Golden and Josh Lenz.

"If not for something else they wanted to do more, they would've done something!" Thank you for that enlightening tale.

No regrets. The Harley could wait.
“We’re Bears fans,” Mike Kasper said. “When the Bears are playing, we’re here."

So it sounds like they're not really blaming Marc Trestman for anything. Did you actually read your notes before you started writing this column?

Time to go to the next level.

Okay, here we go. Maybe the ticket price bit was just a puff opener, now we'll get to the real meat.

At a concession stand on the ground floor...

Oh. You meant that kind of level. Like, the actual, physical divisions of the stadium, based on height. 

...Slovakian tourists Jan Rudy and Dasa Horkova stood in line to buy an $11 beer and a $4.75 bottled water. The price was not a big deal considering that their tickets were free – a gift from Horkova’s mother’s boss, who lives in Chicago.

So not only did you decide to interpret Trestman's comment in the dumbest way possible, and then harass a bunch of tourists until they agreed with you; you also chose people who didn't pay for their tickets and as such are a clear outlier. Jesus Christ, you can't even misinterpret tiny things and extrapolate catastrophic consequences right. You must not live in Chicago.

“It’s awesome,” Rudy said.

“It’s the best,” Horkova said.

Man, you really needed the quotes to tell that story.

Thanks to the magic of Madden, Rudy recognized at least one of the players on the Bears’ roster.

“I remember Jay Cutler from my PlayStation games,” Rudy said.

"Please leave us alone, sir. We are trying to watch a football game here."

Well, Cutler didn’t play. Neither did Brandon Marshall (who was excused for personal reasons, opening the door for speculation)...

Nope. He did not open the door for speculation. You fucking vultures kicked down the Goddamn door and started speculating right there in his living room. Do me a favor and go read my last piece, it'll sort some things out for you.

 ... or Matt Forte or Lance Briggs or Charles Tillman or Julius Peppers or almost everyone else who will matter when the regular season kicks off next Sunday.

That's not really fair. The backups individually are very important people. It's just that the performance of the entire second team is less than pivotal. They don't have to operate well as a unit so much as they have to do their specific jobs correctly in case of an emergency.

But to two tourists who never had seen an NFL game, there was value on this night.

"To the two people in the stadium least representative of my audience, there was something vaguely approaching a point."

Time to go to the next level.

I'm sure that's not going to get annoying.

Justin Belt of Joliet wore a Blackhawks T-shirt and sipped beer out of a plastic cup as he found his seat in Section 216, Row 17. 

That may be the most needlessly detailed description I've ever read.

Belt is a big Bears fan who can name players on the bubble... 

Oh wow, that guy is like... the biggest Bears fan I ever heard of. So big he wore another team's colors to the game.

... but if not for the fact that his company gave him free tickets and parking, he would not have come.

Again with the free tickets. If you're going to do this story, and I still say you shouldn't have, at least get people who actually paid to talk to you.

“When I was younger, it was, ‘Hey, we’re going to a game,’ ” said Belt, who works in sales in the construction industry. “It took me a long time to realize, ‘Wow, the fourth preseason game.’

That's actually pretty hilarious. I can just picture an archetypal Dad earning Cool Dad points because his kids are too dumb to notice he took them to the least important/exciting football game of the year.

“That’s why it’s tough to even give away to customers. They’re kind of like, ‘Ehh.’”

I've long supported just chopping the final preseason game altogether, seeing as it has mostly become an exercise in injury avoidance anyway. But for the coaches and the players still fighting for a roster spot, it can be an important window. Still, from a fan's perspective, that quote pretty much hits it on the head.

But Belt was in a good mood as he watched Joe Anderson & Co. compete for a few roster spots. Like everyone else, Belt is curious to see how the Bears will fare in Trestman’s first season.

That seems... tangential, at best.

“I think they’re either going to be really good, or it’s going to go bad,” Belt said. “I don’t think there’s any middle.

You've been reading too much Morrissey, Justin. Just let yourself be happy.

“I think the bad is if there’s a major injury or if things aren’t working. But I think things are working, you know?”

I’m guessing here, but yes, I think things are working.

"I've watched all the games and all of camp and interviewed players and coaches, but I've got to diminish my optimism with a word like 'guessing' or Hub will beat me."

Time to go to the next level.

On a platform near the colonnades on the east side of the stadium, Morris couple Sehat and Beyhan Dzelil admired the view of the sailboats on Lake Michigan.

“It’s beautiful out here,” Beyhan Dzelil said.

So the only person you interviewed who A) paid for their tickets and B) couldn't afford to sit in a skybox, where it doesn't really even matter what game it is, was a guy you talked to about the parking cost. That's damn fine reporting, son.

The Dzelils thought that their view of the game was great, too. 

Because they were in a Goddamn skybox.

It was the first of four games that Sehat split with his brother, with each game costing $255 for a pair of tickets.

“It’s worth it,” Sehat Dzelil said. “Instead of going out drinking, going to a restaurant, having dinner, you can come here, watch a game, have a few drinks, grab a bite. Have a good time.”

Yes, a dinner date usually costs me $250, as well.

They did.

Thank you for clarifying.

Trestman was right, after all.

Well considering how many players got cut based mostly on that last, negative effort, yeah. The team got a lot of good value out of seeing them play. And the guys who are staying got a chance to practice in a game-time situation, albeit against fellow substitutes.

There was great value in this game. On multiple levels.

I can never tell with this guy, because he seems so earnest when he does it, but I feel like that's supposed to be a joke. Or at least kind of a witticism. It's just his tone, I guess, because nobody reading that could possibly find anything funny or clever about it.

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