When it comes to Sport Team Loyalty- I am a Sheep

Wednesday evenings promises to be the beginning of an epic World Series-one of the most watchable competitions in years.  Yet I know that many baseball fans feel completely uninterested.  Why?  Because the biggest series in baseball is being played between two of the smaller teams in the league. Absent for the fall classic this year are: The Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves and the Dodgers. There are no teams east of the Mississippi playing, no huge payroll clubs, none of the darlings of the media.

I pity anyone who thinks just because a “big name” team isn’t playing, they have no stake in this series.  I want to suggest that this year you remember the rule of the sheep from BABE (the movie, not Ruth) and embrace the series for the pride of your league.

What? Sheep? Babe? Before I completely lose you here, let me remind of the super-secret sheep oath shared in the movie:

BAA, RAM, EWE.
TO YOUR BREED, YOUR FLEECE,
YOUR CLAN BE TRUE.
SHEEP BE TRUE.
BAA, RAM, EWE.
(from the movie: Babe)

Let me rephrase this for you:
BAT, BASE, BALL
LET YOUR TEAM,
YOUR DIVISION,
YOUR LEAGUE BE ALL.
FANS BE TRUE.

Growing up as a Cleveland Indian fan, I have had to embrace this philosophy most of my life like so many other team fans.  To give up watching post-season baseball simply because my team was not playing meant I would NEVER watch a game.  (OK – there have been a few exception years… but not many).  I learn new things about the sport I love and the players.  With free-agency meaning that players scatter around the league like dandelion seeds this knowledge often come in handy.

So no matter which team holds your heart, remember – they play in a division and a league.  And the best team in your league is playing for LEAGUE PRIDE.

The American League is the power league at the moment -where every great player wants to be.  If your team plays in the AL, then you HAVE to get behind Texas Rangers.  They truly represent the idea of a team.  Because one of their stars (Josh Hamilton) is a very public recovering drug and alcohol addict, the TEAM celebrates with ginger ale. (stops for a second and tries to imagine the Yankees doing the same.   —Nope.  Can’t see it.) How could an American league fan NOT want to watch and root for this team to win?

National leaguers?  The best pitching squad in baseball -maybe one of the best squads EVER.  Be proud that this pitching staff is representing your league.

Facts to make the game more interesting:

  • Benjie Molina played the first half of the year with SF Giants, before being traded to the Rangers.  As he bid his teammates fairwell, he told them they would see each other again in October.  Because he played half the season with both teams- he will receive a ring no matter which team wins.
  • Giants players Pat Burrell and Audrey Huff (college roommates) were AL “discards” who many thought were at the end of their careers.  They were instrumental in igniting Giants bats this year and have shows NL managers that they have a new source of short term talent to watch in the future.
  • Brian Wilson decided to grow his beard on a 2 week long road trip in August as part of a sign of bullpen solidarity.  Wilson’s is colored (in case you couldn’t tell).  But why?  He wears shoes with bright orange cleats -that used to have more bright orange on them.  Then MBL informed him that his shoes must be at least 51% black.  And Wilson, following his own logic, is making sure that his beard is covered under a 51% black rule too -just in case.  Although he claims his beard color is Just For Men’s medium brown.

Although my childhood in Cleveland means I should be cheering for the Texas Rangers (and during the regular season I DO cheer for the local Oakland A’s), I have indundated daily with the quirks and charms of the San Francisco Giants.  The personalities have charmed me – so I am betraying my league and being true to my “home region” this year.   May my league forgive me.

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