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You don't have to go home, but you DEFINITELY can't stay here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007
The AotO Seal of Get The F[rig] Out


This post isn't going to be about last night's game itself. This post is going to be about the behavior of the Buffalo Sabres' fans who came to Nationwide Arena.

On top of that, my own words will not be the only ones I use. I'm going to take several excerpts from Blue Jackets' posters on the HFBoards, which more or less describe in accurate, agitating detail what it seems that a lot of us felt after last night's game.

------------------

From Bender11:
"And while I have to give props to a lot of the folks there, there was a contingent of Sabres fans around me that were the rudest bunch of ****ing ***holes I've ever had to sit by in any game, home or away.

There's supporting your team, and there's being a ****ing ******* ****ing *******. You would think because they were there en masse they could do or say whatever they damn well felt like. I know it's not everyone who was down here tonight, but some of these guys made the Wings fans look like Gerald Ford.

And what a sorry bunch of sore losers. They make the "troll" posts I read look polite. Suffice to say, it was damn rewarding to be a Jackets' fan among a section of *** whooped Sabre rattlers.

Still, **** 'em all."

From Matt Foley:
"When I was hanging out in the Arena District before the game, I heard a lot of Sabres fans trashing not only our team, but also our arena and our town. Arrogant does not even begin to describe how some of these people behaved. As much as I despise the Wings fans who show up to our games, they had NOTHING on the majority of Sabres fans I witnessed tonight."

From Skraut:
"I always had a soft spot for the Sabres. I have a lot of relatives that live near Buffalo and I've seen 7 games in Buffalo, including my first ever NHL game.

But boy did my attitude change tonight.

Killing time walking through the Blue Line, I got to hear how F-ing horribly biased the F-ing store was because all it carried was "Looser Merchandise." and that the store should show more respect and carry more Sabres gear Sorry the BlueLine still has a ton of Denis gear, why should it stock more items that won't sell.

I got to hear how crappy the city was, the usual junk about us not deserving a franchise, and too many other fun comments.

Then I went out front and into the gauntlet coming from the Frog Bear's padio. I saw 4 year olds booed because they had a Jackets jersey on. I heard a father asked why he was abusing his daughter by having her wear Jackets clothing. Every single CBJ fan that walked past was singled out and booed, including "That F--er on a cell phone" <--- Me [...] Sorry if I sound so bitter, but I always had a good experience with fans in Buffalo thought they were some of the best fans in the league, and was looking forward to them coming to Columbus. Boy was I wrong."

From
Hossua34:
"Congratulations. The conduct of your travelling fans, as a whole, embarassed your team and the city of Buffalo. I know this does not go for all of you (there were AT LEAST five of you who acted like your moms had let you out of the basement before), but chances are if you were wearing a Sabres jersey last night I'm talking right at YOU. That display last night was truly pathetic. Well over half of you arrived to the arena already plastered, and I'm not talking about having-a-good time drunk, but stumbling, slurring and trying to start fights drunk. Most of you *****ed and moaned all night to anyone you could about how pathetic our team and arena is, when you seem to forget that just a few years ago when you were still a better team than us YOU were on the verge of damn bankruptcy. The mental high of a good season has really gone to all of your heads, and I'm confident that when your team comes back to earth there won't even be that many of you in your OWN arena on home games.... Christ, I saw it all last night: Sabres fans booing and jeering at little kids wearing Blue Jackets stuff, Sabres fans flinging full beers into the air, Sabres fans cussing and insulting just about every CBJ fan they saw... Pathetic. By and large, you guys acted like a bunch of drunk high-school kids at homecoming, and NOTHING could have made me happier than seeing the pissed off looks on your face after you lost the the lowly "BJs"."

From mossylog:
"i was in section 204 and they were aholes bad. i was with the big brother/big sisters group and those slug fans were yelling at the kids in our section. complete crap from them."

And lastly, from me:
"I had to be teeth grindingly polite to these drunken, brash, uncouth, disorderly, rude, arrogant [expletives] all night long.

I was up in Section 209 along with a friend. The top two questions we overheard while in the concourse, looking at Blue Jackets' gear in the team kiosks, were ...

1) "Why the hell don't you have any Sabres gear!?"
2) "Do you have any more shot glasses!?"

That's right, shot glasses. And it wasn't just that kiosk, either. Other kiosks we passed by were all out of shot glasses as well, as these lushes apparently went through the supply of them like they were ready to just binge and purge themselves with absinthe or some other insanely hard liquor after the game like it was candy, win or lose.

Even Red Wings' fans are more respectful than this! Sure, they're haughty and they come in with a sense of entitlement, but at least they have the history to back it up! They come in, and despite the mutual detesting, there's at least a healthy respect. And the brash ones are far outnumbered by the rest of the Wings fans.

These Sabres' fans that invaded the upper bowl were beyond repulsive in their behavior. I watched as this one guy spent about 10 minutes just screaming and hollaring at his girlfriend just to the left of that kiosk, all because "She didn't get him his [expletive] food when he asked for it!" And that's just scratching the surface of some of the things I was able to watch happen in front of me. I'll have horror stories from now until the end of the season to wade through.

The only, only thing I'll give them credit for is bringing out the best in the other 70% of fans who were at the arena that actually were Blue Jackets' fans, who did everything humanly possible with their voices to counter as many of the Sabres' cheers and jeers whenever they erupted throughout Nationwide. While the Sabres' fans and bloggers I've gotten to know online have been nothing but class acts, the vast majority of them that came to Columbus should have been beaten with pipes to knock the "sober" back in to them."

------------------

I'm beside myself. I've never been so happy to see the Blue Jackets win, if only because of the [expletive] that these traveling Sabres fans brought to Nationwide, let alone to Columbus as a whole. As Blue Jackets' fans, we all have grown quite accustomed to considering the Red Wings' fans our most hated counterparts. With their smug attitudes and "ho hum another win" look on their faces when they come to Nationwide, it gets under our skin.

But, you know what? After last night, I have a newfound appreciation for them. While the ones that come to our arena may be smug and carry themselves with an air of superiority, they at least deserve credit for having a storied franchise which has actually won Stanley Cups. There might be a dislike, but there's still respect. There's still showings of classiness from them.

These people who came by the busloads from Buffalo, and probably many other areas around there, didn't show the slightest bit of respect. Hitchcock talked about how the place had a playoff atmosphere, right? It was that, and more. Many Blue Jackets fans don't have a real appreciation of a "playoff atmosphere", seeing as this team has yet to even make it to the playoffs ... so I'll sum things up in a way better understood by Ohio brethren:

This was OSU-Michigan right here. I don't need to be in to football or basketball to fully understand the magnitude of the Scarlet and Blue rivalry, and the passion and insanity that it brings. And while this was far from a rivalry, it had every bit as much energy as one.

I have no qualms with the Sabres fans and bloggers who I have communicated with online, or read of their commentary on their team. Like I even said in my own quoted post, they have been nothing but class acts of the highest caliber, capable of speaking with wit, intellect, and a deep understanding of the game.

But the majority of people who came to Nationwide to represent Sabres' fans? No, they were nothing like that. And if it weren't for the fact that their presence caused the Blue Jackets' fans at the game to respond with energy and noise the likes that I've never seen in the past one and a half seasons since after the lockout, I would wish them to never return.

Bear in mind before I came to Columbus, I was New Jersey born and raised, and Devils loyal to the bitter end. I've been around Rangers fans, I've been around Isles fans, and I've been around Flyers fans. But not even Flyers fans -- the most feared in the league -- have anything on the people I saw last night.

I'm spent. I'm out for a couple hours, then back for a pre-game. I'm sure looking forward to tonight's game against the Wild, though!

Labels: , , , ,

11 Comments:
  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger Puckhound said…

    As a Sabres fan since the early 1970s who is now living in Florida, please accept my apologies for the knuckledraggers who embarrassed not only themselves, but the team as well.

    Please know, too, that not all Sabres fans are like that.

    Did anyone thing to call arena security on these louts? I've seen a couple "overzealous" fans of visiting teams escorted from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

    It's one thing to cheer on your home team, but it's crossing the line to use vulgar language in the presence of children and put those around you in fear of their well-being.

    Again, as only one Sabres fan, please accept my apologies.

     
  • At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I sit in the lower bowl and did not witness an above average amount of bad behavior. What I did see was quickly responded to by CBJ fans. But I don't doubt your claim nor do I think that it was a few bad apples. The louts simple did not sit around me.

     
  • At 10:21 PM, Anonymous KevinP said…

    What you witnessed was Bills fans that have suddenly become Sabres fans now that we have a winning hockey team.

    I'm sorry you had to put up with that. As a Sabres season ticketholder I'm used to it when the Leafs come to town and I wouldn't wish that behavior on anyone.

     
  • At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please don't hold it against the good people of Buffalo. Not everyone is like the "wild fans exposed". I agree with Kevin P. I went to one Leafs game at (our) home and even if I had 100 level tickets for free, I would never go again because they remind me too much of going to a football game. It's fans like this... (yes, they show up at all games in any town of the leagues) ... that take the fun out of the sport. I love Buffalo & our Sabres just like you in Ohio love your bluejackets. The city of Buffalo is not all boozed-up fans.

     
  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I, too, sat in the lower bowl and didn't see any of the rude behavior.

    But as a native Buffalonian I knew many of the people who came from Buffalo for the game and everyone of them said what a great city Columbus is.

    Several told me it would be depressing to go back to Buffalo's HSBC Arena for a game, where there are no bars or restuarants nearby.

     
  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger McLea said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I made the trip out to Columbus with a bunch of friends. We loved your "arena district" and thought your arena itself was awesome. We wish HSBC had a similar set up.

    I apologize for the awful behavior of some Sabres fans. It's a shame that that has to happen on any level.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I made the trip with a couple of friends of mine. We had a great time before, during and after the game, it is definitely a shame that some drunk idiots had to give Buffalo a bad name. Everyone we met was nothing but polite to us, we sat next to a Jackets fan and his son that played during the intermission and we chatted the whole time, he even took a picture for us. I hate to see poor sportsmanship. I'd like to apologize on behalf of Sabres fan's everywhere, for any beer throwing, vulgar language especially around kids or poor sportsmanship in general. We had a great time in Columbus, great stadium, nice people.

     
  • At 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a columbus fan - I think getting a bit out of hand at a hockey game is great - just don't boo the damn kids!! jesus

    Otherwise, as others have noted, it brings a little livelihood to the game that maybe playing chicago wouldn't -

     
  • At 1:00 PM, Blogger jonahan said…

    Yeah tons of jerks. Sorta made me feel ashamed of my hometown, but then I thought about it some more. I think that -any- team that is doing well will have it's fair share of jerks come out of the woodwork. Especially if it's a team that has been bad or marginally good for a while then all of a sudden is good.

    Anyway, I wrote more on my site here if yer feeling jiggy.

     
  • At 12:45 AM, Anonymous srinath said…

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Name: Michael
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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