Thursday, October 09, 2003

No Lovable Losers

I was at Brad's Monday night for viewing of the Colts' miracle defeat of the Super Bowl champ Buccaneers with about 10 people present. As the Colts were getting their butts kicked in the first half of the game, we switched over to the baseball playoff Game Five between the Oakland A's and the Boston Red Sox. Therein, it was discovered that many of the folks there were pulling for the Sox, and dreaming of a Cubs-Red Sox World Series.

Excuse me while I retch in the sink. Unfortunately, this is a common view.

On what grounds does anyone root for the Red Sox or the Cubs? OK, maybe you are from Boston or Chicago, or surrounding areas. If you are a blind homer, fine. They can field any team, and you will root for the uniform. Wow, that's inspiring, rooting for the uniform.

Do you pull for the underdog, just because they are the underdog? If you did, you would vote exclusively Libertarian or Green- until they became the majority, and then you would begin to vote for the Consitutional Law and Socialist candidates until they in turn became a majority. But no, you don't do that. You think about the vote you will cast, making it reflect your values.

Why should rooting for sports teams be any different?

After a decade of pulling for the Indians because they were a constant threat to score eight runs in any game, I now pull for the Yankees. Yes, the dreaded, hated, envied Yankees. The Yankees are the standard of excellence. I enjoy pulling for continued excellence. I appreciate the difficulty in making it year after year. Look at last year's Series winner, the Anaheim Angels. They were virtually eliminated from the Playoffs in July. Look at the Marlins. After they won a Series over the Indians, the team was dispersed, with players scattering to new teams across the league with fat contracts.

The Cubs have been losers for six generation. The Red Sox have been losers for five. Is this what inspires you?

Face it- you hate the Yankees because their owner makes a lot of money, and spends a lot of money on talent. You aren't so much rooting for something as you are rooting against something. I fail to see the joy in that. The interesting thing is that the Red Sox are one of the league's free spenders. What you see here is that there is more to it than spending. There is talent, confidence, teamwork, and a host of other attributes that make a winner. Money may buy talent, but it doesn't buy cohesion, for example.

Root for the Cubs because you love Sammy Sosa's power and enthusiasm. Root for the Sox and Manny Ramirez for his power and occasional enthusiasm. But please be for something.

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