Tagged: Fandom

O Say

Well, He11, after watching the Tides defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees last night I realized the impossibility of ignoring the Orioles, the parent club of my Norfolk Tides.

There is a part of me that envies fans who live in the same city their entire lives and get to root for one team from birth.  I suppose this is the classic American story: very few of us really have roots anymore.

On the other hand, the grass is always greener in the other ballpark, and in a sense I’m blessed.  I have experienced the great variety this land of ours has to offer.  I have at one time or another been a Giants fan, a Yankees fan, a Red Sox fan, a Cubs fan, a Rangers fan and a Mets fan, and enjoyed every minute of it.  I suppose I am fortunate to have not one but two major league teams within an hour of each other.

One should have an AL team and an NL team I’ve always said.  It’s not like these two teams are likely to ever meet in the World Series.  So I suppose rather than a Nats fan or an O’s fan, I could be more properly called a Chesapeake fan, property of MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

Thanks, Peter Angelos.

Hometown Heroes

My son and I caught the Redskins game Monday night at Hometown Heroes, a local sports pub-no relation to the current MLB promo. We received the best service I’ve ever experienced anywhere, anytime, from a young woman with that wonderful New Englandah accent. She asked rather sheepishly if we were Redskins fans. She was, of course, a huge Patriots/Red Sox fan. Believe it or not, I, myself, was once a Red Sox fan, before there even was such a concept as a “nation”.

I am a lifelong Sooner fan (talk about a nation, I see bumper stickers everywhere), but I must confess my ardor has cooled considerably since moving from Oklahoma to Virginia. It is difficult to follow a team closely remotely. The local print no longer bleeds red, the airwaves are no longer filled with coverage of the crimson and cream. I miss that, which is why, I suppose, I was at a sports pub watching the Redskins.

Someone once said that all politics is local. The same could be said of our diversions. That principle was drilled home to me as a baseball fan. No matter how often I betrothed myself to another team-the Red Sox, Giants, Cubs, Yankees–ultimately it proved, season after season, impossible to escape the gravitational pull of the home team Rangers. Technology is loosening these bonds, a significant topic for another time; but baseball franchises are still very much territorial animals, as attested by the strife between the Orioles and Major League Baseball in regards to the Washington franchise. Eventually I resigned myself to being a fan of the former Senators, now in Texas headed by a future President. I even embraced the StRangers, largely because the local Oklahoma Redhawks nee 89’ers were the top of the Rangers farm system.

Fortune is fickle, however, and acceptance seems to invite change. Seems no sooner had I taken to the Rangers than fate called me to Hampton Roads, home of AAA Met affiliate Norfolk Tides. I followed the Tides and Mets, but the Nats stole my heart in spring training of their inaugural year. I caught the first 24 games ever by the Nationals via MLB.TV. Washington, not New York, is really the natural team for the area in the same way the Redskins are. When I moved here Norfolk was still in contention for the Expos franchise. I could still be a Nats fan. But Baltimore owner Peter Angelos ensured I wouldn’t be able to watch the Nationals, just when I was starting to develop good will towards the Orioles, who appear regularly on television here in Hampton Roads.

So now I’m a Met. And we’re in first.

— Michael Norton


In 1965 five thousand Houston fans rushed the Beatles plane on the runway at two in the morning, preventing it from taxiing.   Some climbed on the wings, smoking cigarettes around thousands of pounds of jet fuel.  Others cheered them on.

The crowds can get a little manic in Houston.  Some Astros fans, in particular Thomas over at ‘Stros Brothers, has taken umbrage to my remarks regarding Springer’s beaning of Bonds.  He suggests I expend my efforts gathering signatures to eliminate dodge ball from school programs.  I suspect he considers me to be some sort of lily livered wimp, the kind who grows faint at the sight of blood.

Not quite.  I survived seven years in a juvenile detention facility, affectionately known as a juvy, in my twenties (check out my other blog, Performancer).  I would dare say I have been on the receiving end of as much violence as anyone.  I’m not whining:  I meted out pretty much as much as I got.  But I was always professional about it.  I did not toy with them.  Nor did I carry grudges.

To this day I am admittedly more sensitive to violence than most.  I don’t watch violent movies.  I don’t like violent sports.  There is a reason I am a baseball fan, and not a boxing fan or even a football fan.  My son and co-author here at SBY were at a hockey match last winter when a particularly nasty fight broke out.  The reaction of the crowd sickened me.  It was the same bloodlust I would see on the faces of the non-participants whenever something particularly violent happened at the juvy.  There’s something about the smell of blood, about the darkest emotions, that people find absurdly, and dangerously, pleasurable.

I must confess I was shocked by the reaction to my last blog.  I still can’t comprehend how anyone could consider the events of Tuesday night anything less than disgraceful.  The controversy quite literally shocked me, and I’ve seen enough I’m not usually shocked.  How anyone could justify what transpired, whatever they think of Bonds, is beyond my comprehension.

Tell you what. Let’s do this in true baseball spirit.  Bill Veeck would love this.  Let’s give a ball to the first twenty thousand fans to the ballpark and let them throw a baseball at Bonds.  Let them take out their frustrations with a steroid era for which they now accept no responsibility.  Remember McGwire?  Sosa?  Palmiero?  Or, perhaps a little closer to home for Houston, Ken Caminiti?  We fans bought the tickets to watch them blast balls out of parks in ways we knew weren’t natural.  But no, it’s just Bonds.  He’s the culprit.  Let’s stone the symbol of our collective shame, then maybe this will all just go away.

Or let’s stone him because he is repugnant.  Because we don’t like him.  We do that, don’t we?  Hit people we do not like?  He deserves it, after all.  He “made his bed”, after all.  He asked to be hit.  Isn’t that always the justification?  I think I’ve heard that same argument made by men who beat women.

Amazingly, one Astros fan who was offended by my description of the events wrote that she was terribly concerned who the San Francisco team was going to retaliate against.  “I just hope no one gets hurt.”

Uh, yeah.  As Matt at Diamondhacks observed, fastballs are dangerous things.

So are crowds.  So are fanatics who will defend the indefensible in defense of their team.  There is a certain mania that is evoked by such relatively trivial objects like sports teams, celebrities and musicians.  I’m not the one who doesn’t understand its only a game.  — Michael Norton

I Can’t Lose

My son and co-author here on SBY, Chris, is fortunate: he has a team he likes and a team he despises in the ALCS.  Personally I have nothing but positive vibes for both teams—actually for all four teams.  It would be great to see Chicago go to the World Series.  Can’t you just see those classic pinstripes and the Cardinals eternal uniforms?  It would look like something out of the forties.  Then again, I love the way the Angels play small ball.  And as much as St. Louis deserves a trip to the Series, so does Houston.  Hmmm….I have nothing to lose.  Unfortunately I don’t have as much to win, either.  — amn

Torn between the Red and White Sox

Could it really come out bad? I’m fond of both of these teams. I hate to be a fair weather fan for anybody, but I really think it would be nice to see either of these teams in the series. The White Sox have a history of being my favorite team, while Boston’s performance in last year’s post-season stunned me into submission as a fond follower of Boston. Of course, let’s not discredit the Yankees. Derek Jeter has been a great source of inspiration to me, and quickly made his way onto my favorite players list. I suppose the only odd team out for me (in the A.L. at least) is the Angels. While Jim Abbott was an inspirational player, chock full of good ol’ American grit, and I greatly enjoyed watching his pitching, Anaheim as a team never quite interested me.  –cmn

The Fever Continues

After getting home from catching the ballgames at the local sports bar, a dizzying array of sights and sounds with a dozen screens displaying all the Sunday sports action, I watched the last half of “Eight Men Out.”  Thus ended the weekend indulgence.  After a hard days work, I realized there was to be no game tonight, and the games tomorrow are set to start at 1 P.M.  I wonder how long I can get away with watching the games before folks catch on…  –cmn

> Kellia, I think there is a twelve step program for baseball-aholics…it’s called winter.