March 29, 2005


Whose Team Am I On? (DAVID BROOKS, 3/29/05, NY Times)

If you had chanced upon the front door of Grace Church School on lower Broadway on a sunny morning in the fall of 1969, you might have come upon a radiant boy clutching a brown paper bag that contained a piece of sacred turf harvested from Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets had recently won the world championship of baseball.

That boy grew up, slightly, and in the early spring of 1986, he vowed that he would ask his girlfriend to marry him the day the Mets won their 30th game of the season. The Mets got off to an unnervingly fast start that year, and the young man decided to postpone his proposal until the 40th win. But he followed through with it, and the marriage has even endured what his wife calls his Metsomnia - his tendency to toss and turn sleeplessly after his favorite baseball team has suffered a painful defeat.

And yet we are the playthings of fate and lead lives filled with strange twists, and I (for it is time to throw off the artfully constructed mask) now find myself contemplating the uncontemplatable: that I will switch my allegiance from the beloved Mets to the new team of my adopted town. I will become a fan of the Washington Nationals.

Already I feel the tug, the love that dare not speak its name. I own several Nationals caps. Some friends and I have bought season tickets.

In the midst of this spiritual crisis I have begun to ask the fundamental question. What is the nature of the loyalty that binds us to our teams? Can a team be tossed aside even though it has given you (especially during the 1970's) some of the worst years of its life?

There's a moral obligation to root for the first team you ever love and for the hometown team, but there doesn't seem any reason that you shouldn't have a number of different teams you like. The Brothers moved to Northern NJ in the later 60s, just in time for the Amazin' Mets of Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee so we'll always have a residual affection for the team, but deep in the heart of Sox Nation you can't help but follow the Hometown Team.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2005 8:46 AM

Yankees (hometown), White Sox (a team that loses as consistently as the Cubs and Red Sox, but whose fans haven't created a cult of victimhood), and Cubs in that order.

Teams to root against Red Sox, and Mets -- tho the latter might change this year as my favorite player as a kid, Willie Randolph is now managing them.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 29, 2005 2:41 PM

When I lived in Chicago, I tried to care about the White Sox or the Cubbies, but it just wasn't happening.

When I lived in New York, I didn't even try.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 29, 2005 2:52 PM

Well, if you're the New York Times, you can root against the hometown team as long as it benefits you more than it does your readers (though remembering the Times' determined effort to shove soccer down the throats of New Yorkers back in the mid-1970s, not caring about what their sports readership cares about or thinks is the rule rather than the exception on West 43rd Street).

Posted by: John at March 29, 2005 2:54 PM

I have lived in Atlanta 15 years and I still hate the Braves. So an obligation to root for the home team is hogwash. Try being a fan of any team from Cleveland and you should understand.

Posted by: BJW at March 29, 2005 3:42 PM

White Sox finds don't need a cult of victimhood because we are too busy laughing at Cubs fans.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 29, 2005 3:47 PM

White Sox fans don't need a cult of victimhood because we are too busy laughing at Cubs fans.

Corrected statement

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 29, 2005 3:48 PM

Orrin was also a Brewers fan for a number of years and rooted for the Yankees for awhile (well, at least when Cliff Johnson was at bat).

Posted by: Foos at March 29, 2005 4:50 PM

This year I'm a Tiger, Mariner, Devil Ray fanatic...

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2005 5:18 PM

"White Sox fans don't need a cult of victimhood because we are too busy laughing at Cubs fans."

I'll second that sentiment!

From a poorly attended weekday mid-summer Sox day game broadcast in the 70s:

Jimmy Piersall: Harry, why can't we draw during day games like that other team?
Harry Caray: It's because our fans have to work.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 29, 2005 5:57 PM

I've liked the Sox since Bill Veeck and was all fired up for the new Comiskey, which turned out to be the last mistake before all the stadiums went retro. Stuck to Wrigley and the Cubs after that.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2005 6:06 PM

Mike Royko gave up on the Cubs, started following the Sox.


When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 29, 2005 6:43 PM


I don't care how many Bulls championships they won, even if the Bears won, it won't matter.

When the Cubs win, this City's up for grabs.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 29, 2005 6:45 PM

Like: Yankees, Cubs.

Don't like: Red Sox, Mariners.

I freakin' HATE the Atlanta Braves.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 29, 2005 8:20 PM

OJ, give new Comiskey another chance. It's actually a pretty good place to see a game.

And the improvemments they've made over the past 2 years have only made it better. Lopping off the top top of the upper deck, putting a roof over the upper deck and exchanging the lame blue seat and outfield fence color for the deep green of old Comiskey.

Plus compared to Wrigley: hardly any drunks, no frat boys, more actual baseball fans -- as opposed to those who are at the park to see and be seen -- and much easier to get in and out of the ball park, especially if one drives.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 29, 2005 10:06 PM

Time Zone Rule in effect.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2005 10:17 PM

Tigers fan through thick and thin! The sound of Ernie Harwell's voice is etched in my mind, more permanently than a certain US Senator's Christmastime Cambodia excursion.

Posted by: Dave W. at March 30, 2005 1:39 PM