Scale, Buffalo and Links

Scale is a difficult thing to understand if you’re given no legend. For most things, there isn’t a ruler or metric out there to justify it. Life lacks the map tricks we learned from our third grade social studies books.

Locally, I think we struggle to understand where we fit on a number of things. The phrase ‘small market’ works for sports, but it doesn’t really tell us much. Smaller than others. Smaller than most. Not much more.

The Classical has a really interesting piece on a new minor league soccer team, Detroit City FC. They’re a new rival of our favorite local soccer team, FC Buffalo. The Blitzers had a disappointing season on the field, but their third year at All-High Stadium was encouraging from a support perspective.

Looking at what Detroit has managed to accomplish in its inaugural season is, by comparison, striking.

Some key information from the story:

— Detroit City regularly draws around 1,500 people per game, which takes place at a high school soccer field.

— They had 200 people show up to tryouts, where every player was given a season ticket and a shirt. If they didn’t make the team, they became a fan right away.

— Le Rouge managed 25 sponsors in their first season, enough to sponsor each player individually.

That’s pretty damned impressive for a city always cited as On the Decline economically. It’s good to see an area take to soccer and have smart people running an organization that’s finding success. Just how quickly that success has come, however, is an interesting reflection on our own town.

I’ve talked to the FC Buffalo ownership a number of times and I know how hard they work. They’re a talented bunch of people that are dedicated to bring the best product to Buffalo that they can. If there’s a group that’s focused on civic pride and making things happen, it’s them. But it’s not easy. Not here.

The on-field results were not there this season, but they’ve done well to get youth soccer teams interested and really create a fun atmosphere at their games. The success of the Bedlington Cup cannot be overstated, and say what you will about cowbells but they made for a great time at an awful showing against rival Erie. They’ve done posters and giveaways and all kinds of stuff to keep fans interested. It’s working, but it’s just not going to be a sprint.

Buffalo is small. Most times, it’s a lot smaller than you think. We have to work a lot harder to get things done around here because of it. There’s a difference, though, between a blue collar attitude and a blue collar work ethic. I happen to think FC Buffalo has what it takes, and they are definitely in it for the long haul, but it’s not going to be easy.

This isn’t just about soccer, though. Think about the way we talk about Bringing Buffalo Back. No one seems to understand just how difficult that will be. New restaurants are a good start, but the kind of infrastructure to get NPSL soccer teams 25 sponsors in a year just isn’t here in Buffalo. It’s that same infrastructure that buys luxury boxes at Bills games and reinvests in buildings and the people that make this place go.

Bringing Buffalo Back will take years and years of tough decisions and hard work. Making the right decision starts with understanding just what we have and who we are.

Here are some other things I’ve been thinking about:

Louis CK is a very funny man, but it’s nice to see that he’s a smart man as well. We’ve already talked about his internet wizardry, but here he is distancing himself from the “Daniel Tosh rape joke” controversy while also making a whole mess of sense.

Now that I’ve caught up on Breaking Bad, Louie is next on my list of things to start watching. I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.

Atlantic Cities has a good read on the origins of shopping malls and how they changed the landscape of the suburbs. The piece mentions that the last new indoor shopping center in the United States opened in 2006, leading to speculation that the mall boom is over.

Looking locally, it’s interesting to see the places like the Walden Galleria and Outlet Mall continue to boom while others sit all but dead. The lesson, as always, is that this place is an Arcade Fire song waiting to happen.

These are just the best.

Us internet users like to make fun of Social Media Experts and all the money that companies waste on what should be common sense. Then Shell comes along and proves us all wrong. The Twitter account @ShellisPrepared is especially awesome.

This has to be a fake, right? Right? (Update: yup)

Eventually, they will remove all this Schadenfreude from their servers. Here’s a solid link to some of the good ones if they figure it out.

Fast Company has a really interesting look at penalties in the hockey playoffs and what they impacted this postseason. Heather B. tweeted this a few weeks ago, but it’s July and infographics are always cool. When you finish reading/watching/listening to that, it will still be July.

In other words, bring the laptop outside and enjoy the weather. It will be cold and wet here soon enough.

Shameless plugs are shameless, but I am curious if anyone has some feedback on our podcasts, which have finally made their way back into the iTunes store. Any issues with downloads or where to get them? Do you hate the sound of my voice? All comments welcome, either in the comments or here. My Roost email hasn’t been working properly for some time, it seems. That’s next on the to do list.


  1. Here’s a small Louis CK bit on rape:

    I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.

    • Actually, I’ve seen that before. Big difference between that joke and what Tosh said. The point is, he made a lot of sense in regards to comedians and the controversy itself. I thought he did a good job explaining himself.