I am following up on the post by our very own Alex Reed on SBNDC about jumping ship from the Orioles to the Nats (funny, because we get a lot of flack for being an Oriole-over-Nats blog). Well Alex, although I more often write about the O's and grew up supporting them with the country-folk from MD, I am absurdly jealous. You see, like any die hard sports fan, I am loyal to my teams to a fault, and force myself to sit through year after year of agony. Sure, the O's have no chance of even challenging, let along passing, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, but that is what us sports fan must do - irrationally tell ourselves that things will turn around and that our undying support will be rewarded at some point; no matter how much it sucks, you must persevere. Personally, the most I can do when I know my team sucks is to just pay less attention. There are only so many hours in the day, so last season I to devoted many more of my viewing hours to the Caps than the Wizards or Orioles.
From my mouth to God's ears....
In 2005, the Expos made their long-awaited move to become DC's baseball team and solve my problems, or so I thought. Breaking up was not as easy as I had anticipated. Firstly, at this point in my life, I no longer lived in DC and had no timetable to move back. As exciting as a DC baseball team sounded, in reality, I reaped no benefit from a team being close to my parents' home. I guess I would have an easier getting to a game when I visited DC, but I shouldn't have had any more attachment to this team than one from any other city.
Don't get me wrong, I still tried to love the Nats and give them my split my allegiance to ease into a full breakup with the O's, but it didn't work. Maybe it was the move away from the DMV locking me into my childhood team, but I felt as though I was stuck with the O's for life - in sickness and in health, through good times and bad times, or something like that.
The Sports Guy has said there are 2, and only 2, legitimate reasons for changing your team allegiance:
1) Your team moves.
2) Your team has an owner that is beyond awful.
The O's definitely didn't move, but are one of the few teams to fit perfectly under #2. So to recap the reasons for DC folks not to support the O's are:
1) Angelos is the anti-Christ
2) The O's are not actually located in Baltimore, and actually are a good distance away
3) The O's make efforts to associate with MD, not DC
4) A DC alternative exists
As my interest in baseball as a whole has dwindled, I am thinking that it is time to re-evaluate this whole team switch idea. I have been trying to get excited about the wave of Oriole talent hitting the bigs, but with Matt Wieters giving me blue balls, I realize deep down that the O's have no shot unless all the stars align. For the O's to just compete with the elite of the AL East, almost all of the prospects and young players will have to reach their ceiling, and then Angelos will have to go out and spend money wisely. Even then, the Sox and Rays have better farm systems, and the Yanks have more money, so let's just be realistic and say the O's aren't going to be a playoff contender unless some crack drug lord buys the team and does not concern himself with the salary cap/revenue sharing (the Baltimore community would at least provide strong financial support). As much as I love Cal Ripken Jr. (love him like the father of Baseball Jesus), it will take more than that half-man/half-machine to turn around the O's.
Amidst this indifference, I moved back to DC (proper) this year for a new job, and have found my baseball lack of caring combated strongly by the Nats resurgence (just surgence?). I will be the first to tell you that Strasburg, 17-year-old Harper, Zimmerman, and Dunn do not a playoff team make, but I am paying attention to this team and attending their games. Instead of an arranged marriage with the Orioles, or the 'You're Jewish and she's Jewish and has nice parents' when the Nats moved to DC, this relationship with the Nats feels more natural. I want to be clear that this funny feeling inside does not just have to do with the Nats being successful, and I definitely do not want to jump on a bandwagon too late and be a front-runner. It is more that my relationship with the O's has never been weaker, and now is the perfect time for the Nats to 'steal me away'. I don't think the Nats are built for long-term success just yet, and thus may not be the prettiest girl in the room, but they do live close-by, and Strasburg basically gives them a really nice set of tits. And you know what? I've been in an awful relationship for so long that I am not looking for much. I know I can't just flip a switch and go steady with the Nats and fully extricate myself from the Orioles, but the proximity and nice tits might just be enough incentive to go ahead with a divorce.
(Image courtesy of balorioles.mlblogs.com and voices.washingtonpost.com)