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Can’t Make It Up: Spurs Can’t Tell Cleveland From Cincinnati

Not much has gone right for the San Antonio Spurs this season. They’re 5-30, they’ve had an 18-game losing streak, and they even sent their rookie phenom, Victor Wembanyama, onto the court with a misspelled NOB.

The Spurs made themselves even more of a laughingstock as they prepared to face the Cavaliers yesterday afternoon. The Cavs, as you may have heard, are from Cleveland — a city in Ohio whose name starts with a “C.” Someone on the Spurs’ marketing or social media staff apparently thought it would be fun to troll the Cavs by claiming that Texas chili is better than five-way chili that’s served over pasta, which would indeed be a fun culinary gauntlet to throw down, except that five-way chili is famous in another Ohio city that starts with a “C” (a city that, incidentally, doesn’t even have an NBA team):

Fortunately, Columbus isn’t particularly famous for any foods, or else the Spurs might have gotten even more confused.

As you might expect, the Spurs took down the tweet soon after it was posted. But even if they’d been able to come up with a Cleveland-appropriate insult (“Real rivers don’t catch on fire”?), it’s worth asking whether the Spurs should be trolling anyone to begin with. Like I said, they’re 5-30, so any pregame trash talking they engage in is likely to look pretty stupid once the final buzzer sounds. And sure enough, they lost yesterday’s game to the Cavs. I can only hope that the Cavs had some chili sent up from Cincinnati and sent it to the Spurs’ locker room for their postgame meal.

Meanwhile: Whenever a team has a social media fuck-up, people always say something like “Their social feeds are run by a couple of underpaid kids, so what do you expect?” or “Guess they’ll have to get a new intern after they fire the one who did this.” But given that social media is a team’s most front-facing way of interacting with literally millions of fans, maybe they should think about hiring, I don’t know, a grown-up..? A professional..? Just a thought.

Finally: Just imagine the uproar Texas if someone in Ohio mistook, say, Dallas for San Antonio.

(My thanks to John Flory for letting me know about this one.)


Comments (34)

    The thought that social media is run by interns whatsoever nowadays is a myth. This wasn’t an underpaid intern at all. This was the full-time professional social media team. Still possibly underpaid, but that’s another discussion.

    Yeah that may have been true years ago, or for small companies, but it’s weird the narrative of “interns running the social accounts” sticks around as an explanation.

    I’d chalk it up to two dynamics I’ve seen with big brands (with full social teams, and having a friend that helps run social at Wendy’s where they’ve gotten a lot of positive attention for their approach).

    1. The best brands on social are nimble, and while there is a ton of pre-planning, the name of the game is being in the moment with culture/dialogues/memes/etc while also creating a lot of content. So companies tend to struggle when they over-engineer approvals processes. You want to move as fast as possible while minimizing mistakes.

    2. Because of point 1, a lot of deference is given to younger associates when it comes to social, because (bluntly) a lot of executives/higher ups aren’t in tune with what works/doesn’t and tend more to produce “hello fellow kids” content when they try.

    Realistically, this kind of thing only gets caught if someone in the short approval process would know the specifics of cincy chili not really representing cleveland. But you’re not going to spend the time fact checking memes, so when hundreds of pro teams post memes like this about opponents (different from say the nfl schedule announcement vids that are more pre-planned), it’s not shocking an occasional one will flop.

    I think people DO hire social media professionals, it’s just the tech and industry as a whole are so new that the science behind engagement etc. is still in the dark ages, comparatively. No one knows for sure the silver bullet for good social media. So the professionals are just NOT all that professional yet. That, and anti-intellectualism keeps gaining ground in the USA, so even with the world’s knowledge a click away, fewer people actually, you know, LOOK THINGS UP in general for some reason. But with wages a joke, why would you? “I’ll just pump out this dumb thing, and who cares if it’s wrong? Actually, it gets more engagement if it’s wrong anyway, so let’s just stick with it.” Science.

    You might be underestimating the “professionalism” a good bit. It varies a ton between teams or more broadly “brands” – but the data and formulas for being successful in social are finely tuned by this point. It’s actually the great strength of social vs more “legacy” marketing avenues (print, billboards, mailers, etc.)

    For instance at the brand I work for, we know down to the time of day when certain types of content work better/worse. We have a team looking at advanced analytics of all our posts, and the targeting for paid usage. We partner with companies (either the social platforms themselves or entire agencies built around social) to guide content and creative decisions.

    A handful of years ago, yeah it was the Wild West. But it’s matured insanely. I wrote a longer reply to someone else explaining IMO why you still see content flop/errors, but that’s due to other causes

    As a Cincinnati lifer with strong ties to the Akron/Cleveland area. I can confirm that there is at least one Skyline chili in northeast Ohio (shout out to Stow). Still, what an embarrassing mistake.

    Same here. Right off Route 8 and on the way to my daughter’s high school.
    My niece used to waitress there.
    I’m hungry now.

    I live in the Akron/Cleveland area and I’ve been to three Skyline Chilis up here :) I’m sure there are few more on the west side as well.

    Still, a big swing and a miss from the Spurs.

    And in South Euclid. I got crazy sick the last time I went, though… but we do recognize that it’s a Cincinnati thing.

    There is one sad little Skyline Chili location in Lyndhurst on the east side of Cleveland, but yeah, maybe don’t have your Texas-educated interns run your social media.

    I would just link all of Charles Barkley’s comments about San Antonio and leave it at that.

    Doesn’t Ohio deserve another NBA team, along with the Cavs? The Cincinnatti Skyliners? The Ohio Foodies?

    Cincy’s big arena was built in the 70s and is woefully outdated by NBA standards. UC, Xavier and Northern Kentucky have fairly new, nice arenas, but too small of a capacity for the NBA. Those would be a temporary home at best.

    There is talk of replacing old Riverfront Coliseum with a new arena, but even then, I’m not sure how much appetite there is for a pro team with two major college basketball teams in town that both draw 10k a night.

    I’ve always thought that if the NBA came back to Cincinnati, the Mammoths would be a pretty great moniker.

    I don’t know there would have been that huge of an uproar. No one in Texas hates San Antonio. Those of us in Fort Worth don’t like it when y’all come here and say you’re in Dallas and Dallas and Houston don’t like each other. And everyone hates Austin.

    But it’s a given our chili is better.

    Kind of off-topic, but whenever Dallas gets mentioned, the first thing I think of is that’s where Kennedy was killed. Does anyone else think that? Do people in other Texas cities give people from Dallas shit about that?

    “But even if they’d been able to come up with a Cleveland-appropriate insult (“Real rivers don’t catch on fire”?)

    – C’mon, can we please quit with the Cleveland “river on fire” trope? It was nearly 55 years ago. Most people under 70 years old would have no memory of it. What next, San Antonio jokes about the Alamo? (Q: Who died at the Alamo? A: Everyone. Just like the Spurs playoff chances this season.)

    I intentionally chose a lame-o Cleveland insult because the point I was trying to make (ineffectively, perhaps) is that the whole “Our city’s better than your city” thing is lame-o to begin with.

    “Real rivers don’t catch on fire”

    This joke is still funny, more than 50 years later!

    And the ’69 fire may be the most “famous,” according to this article (link), the Cuyahoga also caught fire in 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948 and 1952.

    Kudos to Cleveland for keeping the river pretty-much fire-free since then!

    To be fair, most rivers in industrial cities caught fire, Cleveland’s was just the last big one that caught everyone’s attention.

    This ^

    And I’m by no means a booster for all things Cleveland, but I tire of not only the burning river jokes, but how many businesses or events are labeled “Burning River this” or “Burning River that.”

    A few years ago I was cheering on my brother in law at a triathlon in Cleveland. Someone from the tourism bureau approached me and asked me some survey questions. The last one was, “Do you think visitors to Cleveland have a favorable impression of the city?” She seemed surprised at how quickly I said no. Then I followed right away with “and a big reason why is people immediately think ‘Oh, that’s where the river caught on fire.’ “

    “Pollution used to be so bad that the Buffalo River burst into flames on the cold winter day of January 24, 1968.”

    I just wanted to share the sad news that the Lyndhurst Skyline closed last month.
    I’d like to thank these comments for pointing out the Stow location, now I know where to go when I get my quarterly urge.

    Probably closed because of the post about Texas chili being better. Thanks a lot, Spurs.

    I was thinking of having a little UW party in the Pittsburgh area so I could unload a bunch of Yinzer stuff that’s too big for Vilkmas, but maybe I should have a UW get-together at the Stow Skyline first…

    Got any Richfield Coliseum seats or merch you want get rid of? You could bring that as well. ; )

    He may still have a beer he (allegedly) sold to an underage Robert Marshall 35 years ago ;)

    I sold my only seats.
    My brother has a few sets but he’s been less than willing to part with…well, anything.

    Well they’re not wrong about the chili but at least Cleveland has a football team. Also, you can thank Columbus for Wendy’s, whatever that’s worth.

    Love Cincinnati style chili.

    But the big debate about Texas chili is beans or no beans.

    Answer- True Texas chili does not have beans.

    (also, those same purists say no sauce with Texas bbq brisket.)

    Born and lived in Cincy. Tortured Bengals and Reds fan. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincy or wherever, Texas chili is better. “No secret, it’s the meat. Don’t skimp on the meat. I’ve got a real good eye for prime meat. Runs in the family – Texas Chainsaw Chili Drayton Sawyer..

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