Monday, October 30, 2006

I Declare My Free Agency

(Simultaneous post at The Staggering Prophets and the Dry Spot)

I don't love baseball anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I love going to a baseball game. The sights, the sounds, the food, the beer, the zen-like slowness of the action--I dig me some ballpark time.

However, I have to admit that I did not watch all nine innings of a game all season. Not even the playoffs. I'd be embarrassed if I actually cared.

But I want to care. So like a straying spouse begging for another chance, I am rededicating myself to try to rekindle my love. the bad news is that I don't really even have a favorite team anymore. In my life, I've been a fairly rabid Reds fan during the 70's since Cincinnati was the closest place my dad and I could go to see a good team (the Braves sucked) and the Nashville Sounds were the farm team of the Reds. In college, I backed the Giants and especially the A's because they were the local teams in the Bay Area and I was old enough to drink beer at the ballpark for the first time in my life.

Strictly by coincidence, lots of guys I went to college with ended up in the Baltimore Orioles organization. I was the writing tutor for the baseball team (no, I didn't write their papers, but I did keep a lot of them academically eligible), so I followed them for most of the 90's. High points-the opening of Camden Yards, Mike Mussina on the mound and Cal Ripken's streak Low points-Alomar spitting on the ump, that little bastard Yankee fan kid reaching into play during a playoff game to snatch a ball from an Oriole outfielder and never making the World Series

I have an affection for the Cubs, but they're a little too trendy for me to put my full support behind. Now I have friends that live and die with the Cubbies, so I'd hate to diminish the value of their actual devotion by backing them because they are lovable losers. The Cubs, I mean. Not my friends. Plus they just hired Bizarro Superman as their new manager so I'm kinda creeped out by that.

The Yankees? The Braves? Nah...that's be like rooting for Microsoft and GM. They don't really need or appreciate my cheers and I take a secret pleasure in watching them fall on their corporately swollen asses year in and year out.

So I'm declaring free agency. Here's the deal: this Friday night at 8:00 CST I will put the name of all the MLB baseball teams in a hat and draw one out at the upstairs bar at the Sportsman's Grille. The team I select will be my team for the 2007 season. I will research the team and their prospects. I will at least buy a cap. I will know and love their players and follow them nightly in the box scores and standings. Maybe I can make myself love the game again if I at least learn to love one team.

If any of you passionate and knowledgeable fans out their would like to lobby why I should back "your" team or root against another team, make your best pitch in the comments. I'm still counting on random probability to make this choice, but if anyone's arguments are particularly compelling, I might add or subtract names in the hat accordingly.

Here's your chance to make a difference in somebody's like for the next year. I'll let you know who the lucky team is. Please God, don't let it be the Nationals!


Blogger bridgett said...

I grew up an Indians fan and I would not wish that on someone I like. So here's my pitch for loving the Red Sox, items in no particular order. They have a bitchin' stadium, distinctive and a touch quirky. They have a very interesting history, which announcers talk about endlessly -- it's the perfect smart-guy team. They've got stories (mostly stupid bonehead plays that don't amount to tragedies) and so they make for interesting company; it's a good team for someone who likes self-deprecating humor. They have good home town support and it's fairly easy to get tix to see them on the road. They're locked in hapless and unequal rivalry with the easy to hate Yankees; it really REALLY feels good to see the RedSox beat the Yankees. Even when they have an off season, they are still watchable -- no twenty-win seasons for these guys. Because of the way that the AL is configured, they are usually in the wildcard race at least through the second week of August. The hats with the two little red socks are a sportswear classic (the Kelly Green ones with the big red B, not so much). Their radio announcers provide satisfying chatter background for Saturday afternoon naps. Thanks to chronic dumbness on the part of the front office staff, Boston is where the former greats go to try for one more shot at glory; when it works, it's beautiful and when it doesn't, it's like every day is an Oldtimers' game. For those of us moving into the fallow fields of the forties, we know that this mix of capability and nostalgia captures our current state of affairs aptly.

If you really want to rekindle your love of baseball, I'd suggest getting season tix for the local minor league. There's something about the ritual of going and being there that makes it a different thing than just watching the highlights on ESPN.

1:33 PM  
Blogger John H said...

I'm already on my knees, praying that the name that comes out of that hat will be THE NY YANKEES.

I'll be looking forward to discussing 'our' prospects and how long Joe T. should continue managing the team.

pleeeze make this happen!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous sista said...

Pick one nobody pulls for....

4:23 PM  
Anonymous shauna said...

I highly recommend the White Sox, particularly if you enjoy cursing at the television. At least, that's how my husband watches baseball. You don't have to worry about them being too trendy -- it'll be another 80 years or so before they repeat what they did in '05.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

I vote you do like me and root for whosoever is playing the Cubs. That'd be quite a few hats for you to buy, but well worth it, I think.

12:21 PM  

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