Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rivalries and Trash Talking

Arguments and insults between fans of rival teams are normally confined to blogs, online forums, and talk radio. This was not the case in 1897. Newspapers carried the load of hyping (or criticizing) the home team and tearing down the opponents. In particular, Fargo's Sunday Argus took special liberty to publish antagonistic jabs at opposing cities and their teams - both openly and with subtlety.

A sampling of some interesting criticisms:
May 30th - The Argus says the Wahpeton-Breckenridge team, in losing to Moorhead, was "feeling around as aimlessly as pedestrians trying to escape the Fargo street sweeper..." The same article refers to the Moorhead team as the "Barmaids", a moniker that in no way could be considered complimentary. Fargo was an dry city, so Moorhead was the place to drink in 1897. And, apparently, referring to the other team as a bunch of girls is not a new phenomenon in competitive sports - today, though, it is typically reserved as the insult of elementary-aged children.

June 6th - After a win for Fargo against Grand Forks, the Argus simultaneously insulted both the home team for their slow start, and jabbed at the visitors, proclaiming: "Strange! Fargo has won a game! And it was easy at that!"

June 13th - Umpires rarely escaped the wrath of the papers. The Argus claimed in a game between Grand Forks and Moorhead, that "Umpire O'Donnnel's (sic) work was rank, and he received a great deal of roast from the crowd."

July 11th - Speaking of Moorhead's Frank Kulp: "When Kulp can't hit the ball he blames the umpire... Anyhow, it's a case of Kulp-able carelessness."

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