April 14, 2008

'I'm A Diehard Atlanta Braves Fan. Does That Make Me A Jerk?': Or more to the point, where is the line between cheering for a perennial overdog and being inconsiderate toward one's fellow fans, both of your team and of others?

posted by chicobangs to baseball at 11:29 AM - 12 comments

Now that the Braves are not winners for the first time in Alex Remington's life, he undertakes a small amount of soul-searching, and finds where the bitterness is:

I know there's a line somewhere, because by definition Yankees fans are across it. New York Yankees fans, if they're self-aware -- and may they have all my neuroses and then some -- understand the low sacrifice and low moral stakes involved in rooting for the richest team in the game, for rooting for Ivan Drago to beat Apollo Creed. No one wins a moral victory in high school by blowing out the other team. There's a purity in defeat, just as there's a bullseye attached to every championship ring. For almost 20 years, I loved my team through thick; now that my team's suffering, I finally can prove my loyalty by loving them through thin. But I don't want a moral victory. To hell with close competition and a well-fought match; I want all the other bums in the cellar, and I want my guys to lap the field.

posted by chicobangs at 11:30 AM on April 14, 2008

The Braves time will come. Every team has their ups and downs, it is cyclic, just like the locusts. He just needs to have patience. Just ask any Browns fan.

posted by steelergirl at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2008

That's not always true. Ask any Cubs fan. But it's kind of odd that they've been on top consistently for as long as they have. I mean, being a legitimate uninterrupted title contender for that long just doesn't happen. The Canadiens in the 1950's, the Yankees in the 1920's (both of whom closed the deal way more often than Atlanta has) and that's about it. Even other "dynasties" haven't been around that long and had off years in the middle where they were reloading or were robbed or whatever. (Hell, Tiger Woods finished second yesterday. Second! Ye gods, the end is nigh!) This guy is going through culture shock in the opposite direction that most of us do. It's interesting to see his take on it.

posted by chicobangs at 11:59 AM on April 14, 2008

As a Royals fan, I can tell you that being a fan during the salad days makes the days in the spotlight all the more satisfying. It's been twenty-three years since my boys won anything, but '85 will be remembered fondly until they have some success again. Keep your chin up chicobangs. That's all most of us can do.

posted by Tinman at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2008

I know as a perennial have-not fan, there is always a certain jealousy that I have for the teams that are at least contenders for their division every year. I try to keep a mature perspective on it and admire the "great play" of the consistently good teams, all the while wondering why my team continues to be muddled down in complete mediocrity, if not outright ineptitude. There was a brief moment when the team was successful and you could watch the away games on TV and see other cities with fans wearing your team's colors. That carried with it a certain feeling of pride that was a distinct difference than the normal sort of local team pride I had felt for the previous 20 years. Then they went back to their laughably losing ways. But hope springs eternal. Maybe we can make the playoffs this year.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:21 PM on April 14, 2008

Tinman, I'm not a Braves fan. The team I love best, frankly, stinks, and hasn't been anywhere near a title in my lifetime, so maybe that's why I'm interested in this viewpoint; it's one I will probably never know firsthand.

posted by chicobangs at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2008

I'm not sure what would be considered success, whether it constitutes regular season success or playoff success resulting in championships but the Red Wings are the closest to what I'd call a "dynasty" right now. Obviously they don't exactly fit the dynasty mode, they haven't won a championship since 2002 but in terms of overall success the only other team in pro sports that can match their maintained success is the Yankees. If I remember correctly the Wings made the playoffs for the 17th straight season this year which is the longest running pro streak. Of course, success does have its disadvantages (hard to believe I know). When one follows a team that is consistantly in the playoffs anything less than a championship is a disappointment. For example, while the Red Wings have had great seasons every year since 2002, they are all considered disappointments since they didn't even make the Stanley Cup finals. On the other side is the Tigers who two years ago made the World Series. While it was disappointing that they lost, the energy felt during that season and the fond memories left over arise from the fact that the Tigers before that year were not a very good team. Two years prior they just missed tying the league record for losses. That is why the city rallied around them, why their season and playoff run was much more exciting and considered more "successful", because they were never expected to do that well. The same thing goes for the Lions and the excitement that was generated at their 6-3 start last year. Of course, some things never change...

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:34 PM on April 14, 2008

America's Most Miserable Sports Cities

posted by catfish at 04:39 PM on April 14, 2008

The same thing goes for the Lions and the excitement that was generated at their 6-3 start last year. Of course, some things never change... Don't want to hijack the thread, but the Lions are a dynasty, of sorts. There is a big difference between not making post-season for a span of time, and to just plain suck. The Lions have to be the worst football team ever, in their collective body of work. I get beat up regularly for admitting I am a die-hard fan ...

posted by smithnyiu at 04:46 PM on April 14, 2008

I've been a Braves fan since I was in High School back in the 70's - back during the 'bad' old days when we didn't win anything. I no longer live in Georgia or even the southeast so with TBS no longer carrying games I'm going through withdrawal. I love for them to win but even if they don't - I still a Braves fan...

posted by yellowjacket at 02:01 PM on April 15, 2008

'I'm A Diehard Atlanta Braves Fan. Does That Make Me A Jerk?' Yes it does. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

posted by BornIcon at 07:18 AM on April 18, 2008

Shoot, I started watching the Braves on WTCG Supserstation 17 from Atlanta (later to become WTBS, then just TBS) since the late 70s, and back then, they were lovable, and they were losers. From retreads like Chris Chambliss and Bob Watson, to Brett Butler, Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Rafael Ramirez, and my personal favorite, the Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky, they found the most unique ways to lose, over and over again. It really was fun to watch their battles with the Dodgers back then, though; they had a fantastic rivalry, although it seemed the Dodgers got the best of the Bravos fairly regularly.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 01:51 PM on April 19, 2008

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