Friday, May 8, 2009

Left Coast Bias

Does the paintball universe revolve around Cali's navel? Apparently it does. But that's hardly news to anyone who has paid any attention at all in recent years. There are, of course, a couple of good reasons for this--primarily the numbers of competitive players of all ranks and the successes of Cali-based pro teams over the years. That's the simple truth but it seems to me that in the process a lot of other players and teams have been ignored over the years and, in some respects, continue to be.

Interestingly much of what most paintballers know about the pro teams and their paintball heroes they get second hand. Players and teams are featured in ads, catalogues and promotional videos produced and disseminated by their sponsors. Bigger, more powerful sponsors generally means higher profile and more promotion. The magazines did (or probably still do) make an effort to feature photos of sponsored teams for their advertisers. They also feature popular players as guest (or regular) writers and the subjects of interviews and other kinds of features like How-To's. The players promote their teammates and friends and it quickly becomes a reinforcing cycle for those who get an inside track. Toss in the stars of assorted paintball videos and event DVDs etc. and pretty soon a player can be famous for a particular 5 seconds of action seen thousands of times by fans who know virtually nothing else about the player. Until a magazine does a feature based on the video's popularity and round and round it goes.

The next obvious question is: is it a chicken and the egg thing? Is the media Cali-centric because that's where the best-of-the-best are or does the paintball world believe that's the truth because most of the media is/was Cali-based or grew out of relationships where people talked about, supported and promoted their friends and teammates? Or another way of putting it is this: does the media make paintball stars or do the stars attract the media? Clearly, to my mind, it isn't an either/or kind of proposition as, I think, there is some truth to both sides of that particular coin.

I can tell I'm losing some of you. It seems a self-evidently weak case and besides, if you follow the logic, I'm sorta suggesting that all the fanboys and general paintball fanatics are having their opinions formed for them and it's a much more comfortable thought to think one's opinions are correct and that's why your heroes get the lion's share of attention. (Hate those unintended consequences.)

Case in point; the PSP All-Star contests. What better measure can be offered up for the relative equality of the top players? To date there have been 3 All-Star match-ups where the East played the West 3 matches for bragging rights. The first two years the East won the first two matches at each All-Star event with the West maintaining their dignity by winning the third. Last year the two sides split the first two matches and the third went to overtime with the East being victorious once again. And even if you discount the first All-Star event because some of the West players were at less than their best the overall results speak for themselves. Have those results changed anything? Not really.

However it all shakes out, whether it's really and East coast, West coast thing or just the way things worked out without anybody giving it much thought along the way I find it pretty nearly undeniable that the Left Coast Bias exists.


Don Saavedra said...

It's not our fault we're awesome, Baca. It just keeps working out that way!

Come to L.A.! I'll keep a soy milk non-fat latte warm for you!

Baca Loco said...

I'd sooner slit my wrists with a chain saw, Don. Besides, the great Cali exodus is coming.

But all that is beside the point.

Eric said...

Forget the coasts, MW is where its at.

Baca Loco said...

MW? Who?

Furby said...

Why would that happen? The Cali Exodus, that is...aside from the sky-high overhead costs, earthquakes, crappy tax enviroment, etc....

Baca Loco said...

I'm going out on a limb on that one, Dale.

Janek said...

Feeling left out Baca?

anonoachris said...

There won't be a Cali exodus as long predicted. Instead Cali will just drag the rest of the nation down with them...

Anonymous said...

Plus we have more cameras to shoot Paintball and Celebrities at the same time.

Chris said...

...... You are seriously using the All Star Game as a gauge??? It's not a team sport or anything.. Small things that make huge impact go unseen in all star games in every sport...

Case and Point.. Football.. Heinz Ward is an AMAZING blocker to help set up the run game.. And everyone knows the steelers run game. How important is that on ballot day for voting? Better yet do you think Heinz is going to lay someone out during an all star game?

Baca Loco said...

I know it's hard, Chris, but there's this thing called reading comprehension. Of course it's a team sport and that aspect is acknowledged but the topic was disproportionate, IMO, attention paid left coast PLAYERS to the detriment of the rest.

Yes, for the purposes of comparing individual skills in a shared circumstance the All-Star games are ideal.

For extra credit make a list of the PSP champs of the last 5 years, 04 - 08 and do the same for the NPPL kids. Compare lists and tell me who the average fan knows more about?

Chris said...

MAO - Iornmen ( W )
PHX - Philly ( E )

PHX - Infamous ( W )
MAO - Dynasty ( W )
CHI - TBD ( E )
CUP - Iornmen ( W )

LA - Iornmen ( W )
MAO - Boston( E )
CHI - Xfactor (Texas)
RCO - Boston ( E )
CUP - Iornmen ( W )

TX - Philly ( E )
LA - Boston( E )
CHI - XSV ( W )

Going back farther is kinda goofy because there has been such drastic changes to how the game was played

NPPL - Apples and oranges if you ask me.. But, in 2008 the west coast won every event, in 07 they won every event.. except when there wasn't a winner.. but still. 06 Joy and Miami both took one, the rest, as well as 05 went to the west.... However the one 08 event was won by a east team.

Here is my point... Philly / Iornmen, Iornmen / Philly. That is the stage for 09, and my guess is its going to continue.. When the west won, east took second, when the east won, west took second.

Last year, Cup and NEO.. The same, just trade Dynasty for Iornmen at NEO.

In Chicago you have Tampa and Aftermath...

MAO had a West West thing going on... But was the only event like that.

And phoenix, also.. East / West.

If your argument is "Who is more famous" my answer is "Duh" Go to SCvillage, see how many freaking kids are there.. Then come back to Latrobe PA... Latrobe has..... A drive through strip club and Smart Parts.

To take it a step farther.. We can look at the wonderful DVD selection in paintball. MWAG - West Coast DERDER - West Coast..

I get what you are saying... I remember 2 years ago when myself, Mrs. Edwards, and Adam were the only people on the sideline hoping that Philly would win.. Now since they have been top 2 since NEO.. They developed some fans.. Fair Weather... To say the least.

Baca Loco said...

So we agree.

Chris said...

Only if you feel that West Coast fans don't count because they are "Agg"

Fan Quality is really where its at...