November 18, 2017

Second Class Citizens

So I was going to let this whole banner thing go. Honest. And this has nothing to do with the Wiz losing four at home already. Honest. 

After the home opener this season about a month ago, I wrote a post on this blog detailing my disappointment in what I saw as something the team owed me and other long suffering Wizards fans: the first banner raising for the team in 38 years. I honestly said my peace and was prepared to let it rest. Then I read Twitter.

Yes, I get that Twitter is a pox on all of us and society in general which has been especially amplified in the last year or so with current events in our country. But it's also for me a valuable source of targeted Wizards information and a way to connect with fellow fans. And it turns out I wasn't the only one out there who was disappointed in the team's lack of celebration over something that was a long time coming. Waiting for me the next morning after I wrote that opening night post was the following Twitter feed.

And then I stewed on it. And stewed on it. And believed and agreed with every word.

Don't believe those thoughts? Let's check the facts. Then maybe after this I can let all of this go.

Over the history of the franchise, the now Washington Wizards franchise has won seven division titles: five in the Central Division, one in the Atlantic division and one in the Southeast Division.  The Washington Capitals franchise has won ten division titles: one in the Patrick Division, seven in the Southeast Division and two in the Metropolitan Division. Both franchises have won titles in three divisions over their histories. The Capitals get a separate banner for each division for a total of three division title banners. The Wizards do not. The Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets and Washington Wizards get a single banner with all seven years they won a division. The different divisions aren't even listed. What's up with that?

Check out all the Capitals banners and how pretty they look, logos and all.
Let's move on shall we? Meaning move on to the next complaint, not move on from this issue entirely. In addition to their seven division titles, the Wizards franchise has four conference titles and one NBA Championship. In addition to their ten division titles, the Capitals franchise has one conference title and three Presidents' Trophies (which resulted in zero conference finals appearances by the way). Both teams get a separate banner for each of their conference titles and (in the case of the 1977-1978 Washington Bullets) their championships. The Capitals' single Eastern Conference Champions banner has the team logo from that year on it. The Bullets' four Eastern Conference Champions banners do not. The Bullets logo only appears on the NBA World Champions banner.

What's up with that? The franchise with by far the most success (albeit four decades ago) has to win a championship to get their logo on a banner. The lesser successful franchise gets a logo on every single banner, even their three different division titles banners. And yes, the logos are time specific, meaning that the logo in effect during the seasons when the team won the division titles is the one used. So the Capitals not only get a logo on each banner but they also get their whole history of team logos raised to the north side of Capital One Arena.

I get that the Caps' banners are a recent overhaul. The old banners used to be substantially similar in character to the current Bullets Conference Champions banners, meaning no logos and one title (including division titles) per banner. In the Caps' case, that meant that there got to be a whole lot of banners up in the rafters even if they amounted to little real actual success. You could make the case that at that time the Wizards/Bullets and Capitals were treated equally. Except they weren't. As I pointed out in February of 2015, four of the six Bullets division titles weren't even acknowledged.

So why if the Capitals banners can get some spiffy overhaul can't the Wizards, and Bullets before them, get an overhaul too? Will it happen if the Wizards win more than one title in the Southeast Division? If that's the case, why should it? Why doesn't the south side of Capital One Arena have Wizards/Bullets banners representing the two teams' statuses equally? Why aren't there logos on all the Bullets and Wizards banners and why aren't there three division banners? Most importantly of all, why doesn't last year's Wizards team get its own banner for the sole (to date) Southeast Division title?

I'm expecting all these questions to be treated as rhetorical by the team, just as they treated my question about the missing Bullets banners almost three years ago. I'm guessing this situation isn't going to get fixed until the Wizards win another three division titles, because it appears there is space on the single division title banner for two more division titles before the team has to make a new one. In the meantime, this still sucks. I've waited 17 years for my own division title banner and the team has waited 38. I'm still annoyed by the whole thing. I sound whiny I know and I hate that.

I realize what I'm proposing is raising more basketball banners than there are now. And in case you feel that it's a space issue, that's clearly not true. The cover photo from my February 2015 post clearly shows 12 Capitals banners. I hope I never have to write anything more on this subject but I'm for sure not sure that's going to be true. Here's hoping the Wizards get the right treatment. I sort of already know it won't happen.

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