Friday, May 9, 2008

The Islanders in Prime Time

Due to recent events, there has been even more discussion than usual about the marketing of the Islanders and the team's presence in the media. While there is still much work to be done in those areas, I'm happy to report a spike in Islander presence in an unusual place (if you can call two instances a spike). Twice in the last couple of months, characters on network comedies airing in prime time sported Islanders sweaters. Here is your visual evidence:

Parker Posey dons a Brenday Witt jersey in the Fox comedy The Return of Jezebel James

Dean Winters as Dennis Duffy in NBC's 30 Rock

While I don't know who is responsible for these occurrences, I tend to doubt that the organization itself was behind such product placement. More likely, it was a well-placed fan on the writing staff who deftly incorporated the blue and orange into the script.

There are some unfortunate aspects of these Islanders merch appearances. Fox cancelled The Return of Jezebel James after only three episodes. However, as of today, you can still view the episodes on The image above is from Episode 2. The scene begins at the 12:40 mark and Parker Posey wears the jersey for the entirety of the scene, which lasts about 4:45.

As for 30 Rock, the Islanders fan character, Dennis Duffy, is variously despicable, low brow, and a knucklehead. I'm sure that on closer examination he has redeeming qualities, too, but overall it's difficult to be proud of him as being representative of Islanders fans. But it is a funny show and the exposure itself is fun as well. You can view this episode here on Select Episode 215 ("Cooter") and find the scene that begins at the 10:43 mark.

By the way, Dennis was revealed to be an Islanders fan in an earlier episode, as discussed on the HF Boards. The dialogue in that episode associates the Islanders with frequent losing. And Dennis is portrayed as a loser.

Hmph. On second thought, maybe the hockeyphile writer on the 30 Rock staff isn't an Islanders fan.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Beat Goes On?

It has been a spring of uncertainty for the members of the NYI Blog Box.

As the regular season drew to a close with hopes of an extension into the playoffs long since evaporated, we wondered collectively what our fate would be as credentialed bloggers.

Had we served out a one-year term in this new media experiment? Would we all be asked back next season for another go round? Were there some criteria by which some of us would return and others would be blogectomied?

These questions were answered, rather emphatically I'm told, during a pre-game meeting on April 1 (fingers crossed?). At this gathering, the Islanders' media relations staff informed those bloggers present that the Blog Box is ongoing and, as charter members, we may continue to take part in it.


And so we moved on with nary a thought to the health of the Blog Box.

That it is until today when Greg Logan of Newsday reported that Chris Botta, the club's VP of Media Relations, had resigned.

I believe Mr. Botta has credited Corey Witt with the genesis of the Blog Box. But make no mistake--without Mr. Botta's support and championing of the endeavor, there would not be a Blog Box.

To most, the resignation was startling. It was unexpected and puzzling. Here was a man who had served his hometown team for 20 years and survived the tumult that has engulfed one of the most unstable franchises in sports. He called working for the Islanders his dream job.

Mr. Botta had served in his current role for the past nine years. He had far more to do than serve as a liaison between the team and the press. He had to make sure the press was even there.

When members of the media treated the Islanders unfairly, Mr. Botta was the first to speak up and he did so with vigor. And tact.

It is very easy to speculate about why a man would leave his dream job after 20 years at a time when the job may have been as exciting as it has ever been. I could give you a list of possible reasons that range from the mundane to the maddening.

If you are interested in such buzz, you know where to look and you have probably found it
already. The more maddening buzz is fairly loud and probably with good reason. For his part, Mr. Botta only told Logan that he chose to leave for personal reasons and it was time to end an incredible ride.

I think, for now, the best thing for me to do is to thank Mr. Botta for serving the Islanders community so admirably. I wish him the best of luck in pursuing his next professional challenge. And I hope that he has left under circumstances that permit him to continue supporting the Islanders.

As for the Blog Box? The latest word is that we have nothing to worry about. This new form of beat will go on.

And if something should change between now and October, you can be sure that we'll still be here, credentialed or not.