I was surprised to see a prickly piece by Don Doxsie about the Mallards 20th anniversary on the front of the Sports section in the Quad City Times this morning.

Mallards Mania Front

First, because the indication on the front of the paper, where mini-headlines entice readers to drop a few quarters into the box, was that there would be a story about 'Mallard Mania.' Not a story about about how sad the current Mallards atmosphere is compared with 20 years ago.  I feel like more than one paying customer felt baited and switched this morning.  Second, because why write such a piece of tripe mid-playoffs?  I know Doxsie isn't known for hearts and rainbow stuff, but geez.  Now? What good is having home advantage with this kind of support?

What I wasn't surprised to read is his typical negative take on The Mallards.  He hasn't really bought in to the hockey concept from the beginning.  The impression I get is that somehow minor league hockey is beneath him, and therefore, so must we be as fans.  Certainly the current fans, who can't ever hope to attain the mania that existed 20 years ago, are wasting our time.  He then peppers his column with tired stats and a few more veiled insults at the current owners of the team, and the iWireless center.

Mallards Mania

But what really baffles me is, why write this now?  As the team enters the playoffs in their highest position since the glory days he says will never come back?  He mentions specifically the team needing to win more games as one ingredient needed to bring the crowds back, but simultaneously discounts that they just did that very thing. And take the headline that the players and staff will see this morning (And that the Komets will undoubtedly see in their locker room.)  Now, Doxsie may not have written the headline, which are generally typed in based on size and space availability by a lower-than-Doxsie's-pay grade employee.  But on the eve of what you could argue is the biggest game of the resurgent Mallards journey back to contention, this is the story that runs in the biggest paper (By circulation) in town?

If Doxsie and the Quad City Times editorial staff don't care about hockey as a sport, or what it means to it's fans, then they're welcome to not write about it.  But to use the popularity of the team and it's fans to sell papers by misleading fans on your front page is the worst kind rag journalism.  The kind I previously had hoped the Times was above.  Maybe this is the end of an Era for the Quad City Times as well?

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