If you're a Mystics fan and/or a Maryland women's hoops fan, then you probably read the DC Basketcases blog often. The Basketcases write great posts and are the definition of passionate and loyal women's basketball fans.
If you have noticed over the last several months or so, they haven't made many posts regarding the Washington Mystics, due to events dating back to after the magical 2010 season and the horrific 2011 season that they, and I were presented with, despite the fact that the team made many trades to retool the roster.
Well, they have broken their silence now, and I kind of expected it for some time. The Basketcases no longer will post on Mystics topics, and it is due to the indignation that they felt as Mystics fans after 15 years, and in particular over the last two.
I haven't had season tickets for the Mystics for all 15 years the team has existed, I've only had them now for five along with the brother basketball team. However, I certainly can sympathize with how they feel and respect their feelings on why they aren't going to post any more Mystics posts. They just aren't Mystics fans anymore, or at least they just don't like them as much as they used to.
Again, the BC's are true and passionate basketball fans. But the Mystics certainly have done some very unacceptable things which I won't belabor, but to be fair, they are trying to correct them this season, especially considering that this is the Mystics' 15th year in business.
Still, what the Basketcases have said confirms a little bit of what I feared with the Mystics fanbase. The Mystics' attempts to correct past breaches with the fans, whether the team publicly acknowledges them or not, may have been too much to overcome with a number of fans, maybe a large number of them. And I do think that these moves are honestly bad enough to the point where team fans stop being fans, and that is what happened with the BC's. As you can see on their blog, they no longer list the Mystics on their front page.
When the Mystics made their decisions in the 2010-2011 offseason, fans were so excited to renew, including me. We all renewed at the first opportunity. So after the changes, we already had our money in for 2011 and according to some commenters on the blog, they weren't able to pull out then. I don't think the 2011-2012 offseason renewal rate could have been particularly great, after the 6-28 record which included two buzzer beater losses, and a loss to the Shock while Nolan Richardson was still the head coach.
Today or last night if you're in my time zone, 5,142 people paid for this game, including me to see the Mystics' win over the Connecticut Sun. Perhaps it was preseason and I get that fewer folks show up for those. Happens all the time for the Wizards. But the turnout was especially low, even for a preseason game and it makes me fear how many folks will want to see the team this year and renew for 2013 assuming this team doesn't rack up many wins.
The guys in my section are all good friends with each other and appreciate the game and the players on the other team though we still root against them. In fact, we'll all sit together for the Team USA doubleheader in July, which is the game we're looking forward to the most actually, rather than any particular Styx game, though we still fully support Lang, Mo, Matee, and the rest of the team. That's how we keep our sanity as fans. It's kind of a paradox when you think about it.
The DC Basketcases' statement on their Mystics fandom doesn't surprise me, and I understand and appreciate their feelings. I also respect their decision.
So some of you guys (both posters and lurkers alike) may call me out here. I was just as angry as they were about the Mystics' changes. But I still renewed and support the team openly. Why? First, fans have to support the team for the long haul. Second, I am not quite as invested into the Mystics as fans like the BC's were when the 2010-2011 offseason happened, and that is a reason why I'm not as disaffected as they are.
The Basketcases did however say that they blogged because it was from a "labor of love," not because they were journalists for the Monumental WNBA team and they never intended to be. There were writing as loyal and passionate fans. When they became very disaffected with the Mystics after that fateful offseason, I definitely could tell in their writing that Mystics posts were truly in their words "all labor, no love." That has really gotta suck.
The "labor of love" sentiment also applies for me here whenever I write a FanPost or a FanShot, whether it is on Swish Appeal for the Mystics (or any other women's hoops item that catches my eye) or Bullets Forever on the Wizards though the writers on their blog usually cover most of the newsworthy bases for the team when I visit Mike Prada's site.
Though the BC's may not post on the Mystics regularly anymore on their blog, I will continue to post my thoughts on the Washington WNBA team as they occur. I'm no beat writer, and I don't represent Monumental Sports either, so don't expect me to write on every practice or every little Crystal Langhorne sighting when she's shopping at Tyson's Corner, Pentagon City, National Harbor, or the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets for example. I just like watching pro basketball year round as a fan like Nate does with the Storm and Warriors, or Jessica does with the Shock and the Thunder and I do like writing my take on things as they happen.
Hopefully this season, the Mystics can build the foundation for a good team over the next several years, along with some good draft picks and hopefully good free agent signings along the way. Ultimately, that is going to be the best way for the Mystics to win fans over the long term and to win a WNBA championship.