Friday, October 26, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

We have decided to pack up and leave the San Francisco Bay Area, so we bought a house across Puget Sound from Seattle, and our plan is to be moved up there by early next year. Fortunately, I still plan to keep blogging with my man, Ed, so you’ll all hear from me whether you want to or not!

The move has brought about some interesting debates in our household. My darling wife, Laurice, says that we should become Seattle Mariners fans. I, however, have been an Oakland A’s fan for the past eight years or so (and a season ticket holder the last three), and the idea of dropping everything to turn around and root for a division rival doesn’t sit well with me.

Of course, I recognize that a fan’s relationship with his or her team is a complex thing that doesn’t necessarily depend on logic to make it work. I grew up rooting for New York teams—the Mets, Giants, Knicks, and Rangers (and for some strange reason I don’t remember anymore, the Miami Dolphins)—and when I moved to California from the East Coast. I took my love for my teams with me. It was only after a couple of years attending A’s games (the Coliseum was easy to get to, games were very inexpensive back then, and the A’s, under GM Billy Beane, were on the upswing) that I decided that I could adopt the A’s as my American League team and still be loyal to the Mets in the National League. Whenever those rare interleague games between the two have occurred, I’ve always come down on the side of the Mets.

For reasons that I’m not quite sure I can articulate, I never really took to the baseball Giants, the 49ers, the Raiders, the Sharks, or the Warriors, though I attended games played by all these teams except the Niners. I watched the Mets on the Internet and the Giants and Dolphins on the local sports bar’s satellite system. The Knicks were only good for a couple of years before they became unwatchable anyway, and though I’d call myself a Rangers fan, I’m not really much of a hockey aficionado in the first place. (No loss to me, then, that we don’t have a hockey team to watch in the Seattle area.) I saw my favorite teams live when they came into the area, and except for the Athletics, I mostly became used to rooting for the visitors.

Well, it’s good to support the local team, Laurice says. I agree with her there, but I tell her it’s not that easy to just switch, especially to rooting for a division rival. And in football, even though the Seahawks are not a division rival of the Giants, I’m not sure I could see myself cheering for any other NFC team.

But Laurice doesn’t understand why I would have such a hard time changing allegiances. She thinks that sports fans are disloyal to their teams all the time. Why do some fans boo their teams when they do poorly? Why do fans stop watching games as frequently once their teams are out of the running for the playoffs in midseason? Why do fans curse at a bad swing for a strikeout, a dropped pass that would have been a sure touchdown, or a blocked shot that leads to a fast-break jam on the other end of the court? She says this behavior is hypocritical. You should always—ALWAYS—support your team and its players, no matter what.

I try to explain to her that most fans boo and curse because they feel strong competitive passion for their teams, and poor play is disappointing. It is rare, I say, for the classy sports fan to boo when his or her team is really trying. Likewise, a sophisticated fan will usually not boo a player unless the player has long failed to live up to an expensive contract or failed to play to his potential. As for not watching a poorly performing team, that’s the competitive spirit at work again. People are less likely to want to watch a team that has no chance to win a championship. After all, isn’t that why we watch in the first place? To see our teams win? But one can curse and boo and watch fewer games out of frustration with a team and still continue to love the team. At least, I think so.

So we’ll have to see what happens to my loyalties over the years I spend in Seattle. Will I end up leaving the A’s for the Mariners? Will the Seahawks replace the Dolphins as my second-favorite football team? Five years down the line, who knows?

Does anyone out there have an opinion on this? If so, I’d love to hear it! Do you think it should be simple to change allegiances from a team you have rooted for over a period of years to the team in your new hometown? Or would some of you stick with your old teams, no matter where you go? What’s your thinking behind your reasoning? Inquiring meatheads want to know!

SEASONINGS: So after all my notes this season about how Colorado was hanging tough in the NL West, who’d really have thought the God Squad would have made it to the World Series? Even though the Red Sox are up 2–0 heading into Game 3, I have to hand it to the Rockies for overcoming so much adversity to make it so far. But if God is really watching them, what purpose could he have in helping them get all the way to the World Series and then letting them lose? Seems pretty fishy to me! (Or is a comeback just around the corner…?)

1 comment:

Star said...

Meat - I must say - I agree with your wife. Root for the local team! I know that when the Oakland A's play Boston in Oakland the Boston fans are entitled and rude. Hey! If Boston is so great then those fans should just go back there!