As most of our loyal readers already know, the Mystics were bounced, not only from the playoffs by consecutive losses to Indy, but -- even before that -- from their true home court by a bunch of large, small-brained, extinct creatures. The long-scheduled run of (international favorite) Walking With Dinosaurs had already grabbed all the available playoff dates at the Phone Booth for its psuedo-educational time travel extravaganza from the Triassic through the Jurassic to the Cretaceous.
So the Mystics, instead of playing their first round game at the Phone Booth, were sent to the friendly and professional-quality Comcast Center at the University of Maryland. The BasketCases love that arena, but we (like most Mystics fans) would have been happier if the first game of the playoffs had been held at Verizon Center.
The BasketCases therefore decided -- since the Dinos stole the Mystics' home court -- that it was incumbent on us (as the officially un-official Mystics bloggers) to check out -- and rate -- the competition. So we headed over to the Verizon Center this evening to take in the Dinos' final Washington performance, and here's our analysis of how the Mystics stack up against the competition . . .
Affordability. The BCs opted for center-section Club level seats for the Dinos. Cost: approximately $50 per ticket. Same seats for the Mystics: $30 (for STHs only $20!) Advantage Mystics.
Quantity of Entertainment. The Dino show consisted of a 30-minute "first half," a 25- minute intermission, and a "second half" approximately 40 minutes long. (Total: 1 hr & 35 minutes.) An average Mystics game from introductions to final buzzer is approximately 2 hrs & 15 minutes of non-stop action and excitement. Plus, single or double (who can forget that Connecticut game!) overtimes are no extra charge. Advantage Mystics.
Lighting & Special Effects. Well, we have to admit, the Dinos did a pretty good job in this category. Lots of special lighting; video effects; colorful growing foliage; smoke; and roving continents courtesy of plate tectonics.. The Mystics' video intro is cool . . . but, Advantage Dinos.
The Players. The Dinos roster featured some BIG and LOUD performers. But hey, the BasketCases are long-time Mystics fans. As for "BIG" . . . duh, remember Tree Rollins? And how 'bout Shock Coach Rick Mahorn? As for Big and Loud . . . who can forget Bill Laimbeer? Now the Dinos also had a few really quick players in their line-up, mostly Raptors. But quicker than Lindsey and Mattee? No way! So, to be fair, we'll have to call this one a tie. Advantage: Neither. (1/2 point to each team.)
Fan Participation. Except for the plethora of families with young children who (naturally) chatted excitedly and throughout the performance, the Dino crowd was pretty sedentary. Even the dramatic conclusion (when a comet wiped out the Dinosaurs and most of life on Earth) didn't elicit much in the way of fan reaction. We kept waiting for the fans to jump out of their seats, or start a wave, but alas, it never happened. At Mystics games, standing, clapping, dancing, spontaneous leaping from one's seat is de riguer. Advantage (by a mile) Mystics.
Half-time Entertainment. Dinos, none. So the Mystics win this one by default. Advantage Mystics.
Fan Give-aways. Well, the Dinos charged $20 for a program. The Mystics charge $0. Throughout their games, the Mystics provide selected fans the opportunity to win gas cards, fruit arrangements, gift-bags . . . not to mention they throw burritos into the stands. The Dinos gave away nothing. Another easy call: Advantage Mystics.
Educational Value. While the Dino show, with its own actor/paleontologist-imitator, purports to teach us about pre-historic life on Earth, the BasketCases would bet that if the attendees were quizzed after the performance, few, if any, would be able to tell you much about the Mesozoic Era. (We were all too busy waiting for the next Dino to make an appearance to pay much attention!) On the other hand, while the Mystics don't lecture or instruct, it's hard to be a fan for long -- particularly a young one -- without taking away a few life-lessons: that young women can accomplish great things; that hard work pays dividends; that even losing can make one stronger; that competition is part of being a professional . . . etc, etc, etc. Which, in truth, is more educational? No question in the BasketCases' minds: Advantage Mystics.
Final Score: Mystics 6-1/2, Dinos 1-1/2. In terms of entertainment bang-for-your-buck, it's hard to beat the Mystics and the WNBA. Long live the Mystics! Dinos . . . you're extinct for a reason!
Photo Credit (and dis-credit): DC BasketCases (via cell phone)