Our little corner of the baseballblogosphere has always been an oddly-shaped one, with walls that don't quite meet at a right angle and a coat-hook with far too many zip-up cardigans. Walkoff Walk's writers and readers and commenters do not share a common team to cheer for; perhaps the only unifying thread among us is a penchant for food, babies, and babies dressed up like food. So, how is it that we baseball fans get along so well when we don't all support the same MLB squadron?
Perhaps a better question would be: what exactly are we rooting for? The tired aphorism tells us we are merely rooting for laundry when we declare allegiance for a team. Nonsense. I'll do my best to explain my personal choices and let you decide if you agree. And then maybe we'll get a better understanding of why so many of us find common ground when fandom dictates we spend more time with our "own kind".
So, when I say I am a Yankees fan, does that mean I am cheering for the private corporate interests in the front office? Doubtful. They've got my money, why should I also be sending them my heart and soul in a tidy package, too? The Yankees owners are not my enemy but I'd be lying if I said I've never wished them specific harm.
Am I cheering for the players? Some modern-day fans abandon team support entirely in favor of cheering for their favorite individual players, regardless of who those athletes' direct employers might be. Poppycock. While their feats on the field and in the batter's box may be extraordinary, these baseball-playing folk are no different than the typical, ordinary human being. They come from the same place, after all. They are the beer-swilling rednecks; they are the misogynistic fratboys. They are men who like the band Train. I generally do not like human beings as a whole, anyway. Why should I waste my time liking people who throw a ball for a living and already have heaps of praise in their laps?
Does my fandom lie in the city this team plays in? Nope, I've never lived in New York City, and were I to ever move there, the Bronx would only be the fourth most-likely borough in which I'd reside. And once the Tampa Bay Rays relocate to New Jersey, my baseball preferences could take a very interesting turn towards the geographically-proximate.
Other Yankees fans? Ha! Please. While some fans of the team are thoughtful, I need not describe the details of the typical jamook that shows up at the Stadium, crowds the Jersey sports bars with sweaty elbows, and yaps about the Yankees roster constantly to you, dear reader. The picture has been painted a thousand times with the same burnished colors.
No, in the end, I am merely a fan of the sport. I'll extol its virtues to anyone and sing the praises of baseball in the face of any non-believer. Writing about my favorite sport for nearly three years and having an audience who actually wanted to read my sentences was such a thrill. I hope, if anything, we at Walkoff Walk could turn just one casual baseball fan into an ardent supporter of the pastime.
Favorite players come and go, team allegiances fade year-to-year when the playoffs come around and one's preferred team is golfing, and the far-too-devoted fans turn every win and loss into a life-or-death deal. Laundry? Nah, I'll root for the washing machine that tumbles it all together.