Friday, August 13, 2010

What it Means to be a Fan of Every AL Baseball Team

I'm in a mystical place right now, gang. I got up this morning, realized I didn't have my trusty breakfast lineup of honey bunches of oats cereal and a valencia orange, and sent my girlfriend to the grocery store with a sharp reprimand and the promise of a serious conversation later.

Oops, sorry, that's how I'll be starting this story on my male chauvinist message board later. In real life, I fired up the old 'Baru and set out for Harris Teeter. The radio was on 92.3, but I was too lazy to switch to cd player. To my annoyance, I was listening to one of those morning chatter shows that tend to suck the life out of the day.

But here's where things got mystical: by the time I pulled out of my driveway, I was laughing. Granted, it's a long driveway. But it proved to be no fluke- the entire trip to Harris Teeter was filled with chuckles. I won't bother telling you the show topics, because it wouldn't sound funny and you wouldn't believe me. It's a bit like telling someone you saw a ghost. Everyone's sort of interested, but no matter how convincing your story, nobody buys it. I'm on the record, though: I listened to a funny morning radio show.

I just looked it up, and the show is called "2 Guys Named Chris." It actually has like 5 people. Here's their logo, judge for yourself:

Please keep in mind that I heard this show once, so if you're a NC native and can confirm that it's lame, please sound off. As it stands, I'm utterly shocked at what I just heard. I'm in a weird place...

Before we get to the "what it means" section, a quick detour for a new SCSD! feature:

Trifling Yankee Gripes from my Stepdad

8/12, via phone:

Stepdad: Have you seen the way our coaches hang over the top of the dugout? Leaning forward with their arms over the padding? They look like idiots. They look like a bunch of apes.

This has been...

Trifling Yankee Gripes from my Stepdad

Okay, let's get down to business. At the bottom of Wednesday's post, I tackled what it meant to be a fan of every team in the AL East. Minus the Yankees, sort of. As a challenge, I'm going to leave that one hanging. If anyone wants to take a stab at it in the comments, please do so. Anyway, it's time to get to the rest of the American League. I'll go by division, starting with a copy-paste of the AL East. Please beware that I'll be utilizing a good amount of stereotypes.


AL East

Boston Red Sox: You are still cynical after years of failure and disappointment. Even after two World Series titles, you are ready to give up on your team at the first sign of trouble. After identifying with a losing team for the better part of a century, you are now bereft of your main, backward source of pride. As such, your other many negative qualities have begun to stand out. You are boorish and loud. Your favorite pastimes are drinking, drinking, and domestic violence.

Toronto Blue Jays: You arrive by accident at the Skydome. Strange, you think. This is not the opening of an art gallery, an indie music show, or a hockey game. Yet briefly, you are entertained. Oh yes. You remember. Baseball. But you can't stay long. You have to look for a knit cap and annoy the rest of Canada about how sweet your city is.

Tampa Bay Rays: You are 87 years old. You have forgotten more about baseball than most people will ever know. Unfortunately, you have forgotten nearly everything. Why is this baseball game indoors? That's facacta, already! Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Joe Dimaggio hit three home runs at the Stadium? What? What, Murray? Ted Williams a better ballplayer than Dimaggio? Gevalt, Murray! Oy, you shmekel, you don't know from baseball.

Baltimore Orioles: Theoretically, you should have a lot of status. You have a great scenic harbor, a city that can be called a shipping hub, and a baseball team with a lot of money. But all you get is 90 losses per year, and a famous tv show that makes your city look like a modern Gomorrah. Remember Jeffrey Maier? That was funny.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins: You are a simple people, with simple Scandinavian values. You value warm clothing, community spirit, and good baseball. Though your team never has a lot of money, it is run in a wise, northern European style, guaranteeing that you are competitive almost every season. And management makes sure to sign clean, good-looking white people to long-term contracts so the fans feel comfortable and happy. You prefer not to mention the fact that Kirby Puckett turned out to be kind of a sicko.

Detroit Tigers: Somehow, you don't seem to exist in the real world. I've met fans of every team in baseball except for Detroit. Your stadium is full, so the Tiger Fan must be a real creature. And yet, you are elusive. Still, each October we get to hear about how much a World Series title would mean to your town. Then those simpleton bastards from the Twin Cities make a late charge and screw everything up. It hasn't been great to be a Detroit fan since '84, your last title, but at least you're not the...

Cleveland Indians: It is tempting to compare you to a Red Sox fan, in that both had long stretches without a title (yours ongoing since 1948), but the fact is that you're nowhere near as obnoxious. Nobody bludgeons the sports page with sad-sack stories about some Cleveland grandfather dying without seeing a championship team, and you don't wear your misery around like some absurd badge of honor. But really, your suffering is greater- we can be honest and say that your city isn't as nice as Boston, and your sports tragedies have now eclipsed theirs. You bear your suffering more quietly, which makes you more inward and more dangerous. You once fought everyone, including your own team, on "Ten Cent Beer Night." A lot of fans take baseball seriously- you take it personally. Kudos. But someone needs to get rid of that annoying war drum guy.

Chicago White Sox: You had a miserly owner whose stinginess led his players to throw the 1919 World Series, and then you named a stadium after him. Your current manager is an obnoxious asshole who makes a spectacle of himself whenever possible. You're the team of the second city's south side, a supposed emblem of the blue collar struggle to rise, perpetually led by tyrants and usually underachieving. And always, always overshadowed- by Tigers and Twins in your division, by Cubs in your city. It's a hard knock life.

Kansas City Royals: You have one of America's best sportswriters, and by far its worst team. You never expect much, and you never get much. Your team has a low payroll, and it squanders any revenue sharing it gets on things other than the players. You won a World Series in '85, and that's probably as good as it will get. Most of your fans put the bulk of their energy into the Chiefs, another poor team, because at least bad teams have a chance to become good in the NFL.

AL West

Seattle Mariners: There is always a revolution afoot in Seattle. You're America's answer to Dutch soccer (and the Yankees are your Germans). You have an intelligent, passionate population, eloquent baseball writers, and a smart general manager. There isn't much pessimism in your rainy town. Every year might be the year. Sometimes the disappointment is sudden and swift, as in 2010 when the hopes of a city were dashed by mid-May. Other times, like in 2001, a truly once-in-a-lifetime team suffers a heartbreaking loss. Your team is one of two in the entire American League to never have made a World Series. Despite your knowledge and strong management and eternal optimism, or maybe because of it, you're doomed to never put it all together.

Texas Rangers: Your team is the other AL squad to never make a World Series. During a strong epoch in the mid-to-late-90s, you faced the Yankees in the first round three times. In those ten games, you were 1-9. You are best known for strong personalities like Nolan Ryan, an inefficient but spectacular pitcher who now owns your club. There is optimism in Texas with the recent signing of Cliff Lee, but it's hard to imagine your team actually winning the World Series. Unlike football and basketball, where Texas teams have won titles, there is an aristocratic method to baseball that won't permit your kind.

Oakland Athletics: You share similarities with Seattle in that you operate from a position of intelligence, but you are more hardscrabble, more pragmatic, less dandified in your aesthetic. You reflect the city and the team, and perhaps this is why your franchise is no stranger to the World Series, having won four titles on the west coast. But moneyball is on the decline, and you've entered a low period as the secrets of Billy Beane have spread to the rest of the league. For a few years now, you've been hovering around .500, and the wild card has been far off in the distance, barely visible. It's difficult to see your way out of these windless waters with such shoddy sails. The old tricks don't cut it anymore.

Los Angeles Angels: In a city of superficiality, you are the more superficial of the two Los Angeles fanbases. Your one World Series title was a blessing, though, as it came at the expense of Barry Bonds, baseball's greatest villain. The lone Angel triumph ensured that he would retire without a ring, and for that alone we should be grateful. But the truth is that you thrive only in the presence of novelty; the rally monkey, celebrity spotting, and the playoffs. There are spots of real passion in the stands at Angel Stadium, but overall you don't deserve a lion's share of respect. For you, baseball is a diversion. Don't forget your cell phone.


  1. I enjoy astute over-generalizations of entire groups more than maybe anything, so this is one of my favorite posts of all time.

    Plus! I hate morning radio talk shows almost universally, so am truly delighted to hear that there is a non-completely-sucktitude-filled one in your new 'hood.

  2. It's like finding the white whale. I'm skeptical and excited at the same time. 'Two Guys Named Chris' might change my life.


  3. It's not a fluke. 2 Guys Named Chris truly is funny. While many of the folks calling in may confirm your worst fears about moving to the South, you can sense that the folks on the show take a very tongue-in-cheek approach to things. So I would recommend giving them a prolonged listen.

  4. Kent, awesome to hear. I don't pretend to be the ultimate judge of funny, but I felt like I could tell from a short listen that those dudes had it going on. Will be glad to give them a longer chance. Good to hear from someone in the know.