May 19, 2018

Minty is just cold spicy

And so, without intending to adopt any sort of triumphalist attitude toward sports, I became that most despised of figures in the eyes of the diehard: a fair-weather fan. For most of my life, this has been a heavy shame. I have muttered shy apologies to friends for not standing by the hometown teams, even as most of them failed to escape the vortex of mediocrity.

But I'm done apologizing. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I'm right and everybody else is wrong. Rooting for winners is more than acceptable--it's commendable. Fans shouldn't put up with awfully managed teams for decades just because their parents liked those teams, as if sports were governed by the same rules and customs as medieval inheritance. Fans should feel free to shop for teams the way they do for any other product.
. As a guy who used to change sports cities a lot, I always thought it was good karma to develop an affinity for the local team, just so you're rooting with your neighbors.

What I think is really weird is that it's not enough to dig your guys, but the other guys have to be bums - Peyton Manning was probably not as much of a clutch player as Brady, benefited form the dome, etc etc, but he also took a delightfully nerdy approach to the game and didn't have Evil Hoodie helping him out - but it kinda wasn't ok to like him over our hometown Ugs-wearing pretty boy.

Or- true blasphemy here - the Yankees have assembled a great and likable and youthful team and are spending like 2/3 the cash the Red Sox are this year. The teams are roughly tied atop their division. This should be great! But it's all "our cave yay, your cave boo!"'

I'd dig the tribalism more if the local flavor of a team showed up in anything deeper than maybe the business owners who own 'em (and often extract way too much in terms of tax and financing breaks from politicians who would have a lot of angry voters if the team drifted for another deal)

And/or if we had a proper league system with relegation - if the bottom 2-4 teams in the NBA were fighting to stay in the top league, and the top 2-4 of the next league down would get to come on up to the big leagues? That would be brilliant.