Friday, June 11, 2010

Is it Finally Time to Jump Ship and Be a Traitor?

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.

(No idea what this means, except it reminds me of my nightmares)

I have been looking for an out with the Orioles for a long time. I was truly born and raised in DC, so whereas the Skins, Wizards/Bullets, and Caps are all I ever knew and will know, I shouldn't be 100% attached to a team from Baltimore. Not only is there the geographical name difference, and that long-ass drive from DC to Camden Yards, but there is the general aura/fan base difference; I absolutely despise 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy' during the 7th inning stretch of O's games. I know the O's won a title in 1983, but that was before my time as a fan (and as a human being), so you can toss that idea out for me. I said for several years that if a MLB team moved to DC, I would take the opportunity to switch allegiances. 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

(The amazing DC alternative)

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)

9 comments:

  1. Why shouldn't you switch?

    You grew up in D.C. The truth is that you grew up your entire life feeding off of someone else's team. Repping the cesspool of gonorrhea and rat feces that is Baltimore for any reason, except their remarkable Aquarium, is just unnecessary. Don't feel bad about your "flip-flopping" or alleged broken allegiances, you were simply piggy backing in the first place.

    I do fully understand that it is difficult to break ties completely and not to feel mildly guilty. The truth is, sports, like music have to be tied to some other great memory to make that true connection. I am assuming you obviously made the drive out to Camden Yards, maybe even Memorial Stadium, on occasion. But, you are from D.C. You assholes think of Arlington as a foreign country. If Evangeline Lilly had just called you up, desperate to have sex with you, the only catch is that you would have to drive out to Falls Church, it is likely that you would have simply let your balls shrivel up and stayed home playing Playstation. Falls Church is only one third of the drive to Baltimore. No matter how great the game was, it is always tainted by the 45 minute drive home. Which for a kid, is a much worse proposition, than an adult. 45 minutes for a kid is like 3 hours adult time. That's almost 5 fucking Looney Tunes cartoons. The drive there and back is not worth missing out on Bugs Bunny, fuck with Elmer Fudd potentially 10 times. Plus, one of the best things about baseball, which I only recognized as I got older is tailgating. True tailgating involves drinking beers. You did NOT drink beer in the parking lot as 9-year-old. "Give that Fan a Contract" and the extended "Ooooooooh say does that Star-Spangled..." are only mild positive memories in the minds of a kid from D.C. So, your associations are weak at best.

    Probably, the strongest connection to anything Orioles related is Cal Ripken, Jr. He was a role model, great player for our and still likely the best to play his position. Shit, I didn't miss a day of work for 5 years straight because of a fucking cardboard cut-out of Cal that was standing in my middle school hallway that counted down his consecutive games played streak. But, Cal is a player. Not a team. You are allowed to love players, even if they do not play for your city. I am pretty sure that most people who watched basketball in the 90's are fans of Michael Jordan, even though most people did not grow up in the Chicago area. People tune in from around the country to watch Peyton Manning throw a football because of him, not the team. So, relax. You may know a lot of the players from Orioles teams of the past two decades, that doesn't mean you are tied to them as a team. You are likely tied to Cal, but countless others are as well.

    Basically, you have right to be fickle. Since I've moved from D.C. as a part-time Orioles fan, I have legitimately rooted for 5 teams in 4 different states. I have never once felt guilty about it. Maybe if I grew up in Suburban Maryland, I might have a tinge of remorse, but from D.C. or NoVA, it's not a big deal. Especially, since it seems as if you are rooting for the team that just popped up in your neighborhood. I hope that the fine citizens of Oklahoma City still don't root for the Dallas Mavericks just because they're the closest team in proximity to them. Yes, those cities are 3 hours apart, but it's Oklahoma, they love driving their Chevy Pick-Ups long distances.

    The point is, you have never, ever, ever answered the question, "Where are you from?" by saying, "Baltimore." So don't feel guilty when you turn your back on not-your-team.

    ReplyDelete
  2. good post my man...I know a lot of orioles fans feel this way, but dont think of yourself as a traitor. Rather think of it as further establishing your loyalty to DC sports. Shannahan over Harbaugh, Portis over McGahee, McNabb over Flacco? Ok well that last one still sounds ridiculous but you get my point. Now is the perfect time to get on the Nats side. DC baby

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great comments, but I still think it sounds easier than it is. My general weird feeling is I don't understand how someone can give up a team for any reason other than the the team relocating. It sounded so easy to trade the O's for the Nats, but I am a real die hard. I know Sports Guy says an owner is enough reason to switch teams, but I don't buy it. How is angry Angelos different for me than the incompetent Unseld/Pollin combo that ran the Bullets? All I care about is winning, and if anything, Angelos has given me slightly more hope than Unseld did.

    I spent my childhood watching O's games, idolizing Cal Ripken, making the journey to Camden Yards and Memorial Stadium, sending autograph requests to Sam Milligan and Joe Orsulak, and sneaking my radio into bed to listen to the ends of games.

    Does anyone know a true die-hard who has actually switched teams?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Speaking of... I totally made out with Joe Orsulak's daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "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'."

    Exactly. Could not agree more.

    And just to be clear, it's not that I don't give a shit about the Orioles anymore. I still root for them and hope they win. But I've put all my eggs in the Nats basket - it just took me 5 years. Were the Orioles to make the playoffs, I'd root for them over any AL team. Were the Orioles to face the Nats in the World Series, my allegiance would be with the Nats.

    It's a funny feeling inside me, a different feeling, but one that I can't hide. I guess I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Watch out DCLS. Where is Rico's allegiance now that he's on two blogs. If both of you faced off in the DC Sports Blog World Series, where would his allegiances lie?

    ReplyDelete
  7. SBNDC pays better.....

    I'm writing for Bullets Forever as an Assoc. Editor, this is a big reason the post rate has slowed to crawl as we both adjust to the added workload.

    And on that note, we are open to a guest post - shoot us an idea and we'll let you know.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This type of fan switching doesn't really happen very often therefore I don't think that Bill Simmons rules for abandoning a team apply here. The best comparison I can think of in recent memory is the Carolina Panthers in 1993. Prior to expansion, Charlotte and much of NC of the rest of Carolina was a Redskins market. If you go down there you will still find a lot of diehard Skins fans. I wonder what it was like for those fans to make the change. Interesting side note: Panthers ownership tried unsuccessfully to hire Steve Spurrier in 2002. He said no and they hired John Fox. Shortly thereafter, The Daniel backed up the Brinks truck in front of the Swamp and the rest as they say is history. Sad Sad history. Marion, come to kickball!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Ghost of Dave TrembleyJune 23, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    YOUR A SELLOUT!!!!

    I've grown up in DC my whole life (25 years) and the Orioles will forever be my team. You pick a team and stick with them. You dont jump on the bandwagon because a team gets a top draft pick. Ive been a Redskins, Caps, Wizards/Bullets, and O's fan my entire life. I havent seen one championship in my life (that I can remember - the Skins I was only 7 years old). What makes you so compelled to not just switch and sell out those teams??? None of them win, and always sell you fake hope - The Nats are just the same.

    If you are willing to switch sides I don't want you as an O's fan. Go get your Ben's Chili Bowl and Johnny Rocket Burger at "Walmart Park" aka Nats Stadium. That place looks like a Costco with alot of free samples of food that you over pay for.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.