While compiling yesterday's Halolink post, I came across this article: Fan Seeking Team - Bugs & Cranks, and it got me thinking...what would cause you to change the team you root for? And, would you ever stop being an Angels' fan?
The reason the author of the above link has stopped being a fan of the Atlanta Braves is because of the way the team handled the building of their new stadium:
But not this time. This time I’m done with the Braves. Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous relocation to Cobb County. A $1 billion stadium project to avoid fixing some seats and lights in beautiful, 17-year-old Turner Field? The folks in charge obviously think we are a bunch of idiots to buy their logic on this one. I have to admit, I bought a Cubs hat on the day I heard about it. But I later and gave it to my friend Lori for her birthday. She’s always been a Cubs fan for some reason, and I couldn’t give up on the Braves, no matter where they play. But now I’ve changed my mind. Don’t look for us on Interstate 85; we won’t be there. I’m done with the Braves.
I'm going to confess two thinks right now. First, I have to show you this photo:
Yes, this is me (circa 1992-1994) wearing a Chicago White Sox shirt at an Angels' game. It truly pains me to confess such a sacrilegious bit of personal information, but I have my reasons. Really!
I've been an Angels' fan since my older brother took me to see them play in 1971. I spent a dollar every year to become a Junior Angel so I could attend the 11 games in the nosebleed section. I collected cards, autographs, and any type of Angel paraphernalia I could get my hands on. But something happened to me and the Angels in the early 1990's...I hated that team.
- Following the 1990 season, they allowed my favorite player, Brian Downing, to leave via free agency and sign with the Texas Rangers.
- The 1991 team consisted of a bunch of guys I didn't like; Luis Sojo, Gary Gaetti, Junior Felix, the aging Dave Parker and Dave Winfield. Although the pitching staff was somewhat decent, the only players worth rooting for were Wally Joyner and Jim Abbott.
- In 1992, there was not one Angel hitter with more than 500 PA who accumulated an OPS+ over 90 other than Chad Curtis. Yeah, Chad Curtis. They also let Wally Joyner walk prior to that season. First Brian Downing and then Wally.
- They traded away Jim Abbott. To the Yankees.
By the time Tim Salmon showed up in 1993, I had had enough with the crappy players and what I saw as a lack of commitment to their players by allowing fan-favorites to leave. I had moved to Wisconsin in 1993 with the intention of just staying for a year. During that year, the Chicago White Sox had Frank Thomas, and I loved Frank Thomas. They also had Robing Ventura manning third base and for some reason I have always had a thing for third basemen, starting with Brooks Robinson and Ken McMullen, to Doug DeCinces, and then Ventura. In 1993, the Angels had Rene Gonzalez and his 2 home runs standing at the hot corner. Throw-in "Black Jack" McDowell, Alex Fernandez, Bo Jackson, televised games I could watch on WGN, and I was hooked.
I think that last thing had a lot to do with liking the White Sox; being able to actually watch them play. Obviously, in 1993 there was no internet which means there was no MLB.tv. The only time I could watch the Angels was if they happened to be playing the "Game of the Week" on network television or ESPN. And since they sucked, the Angels were rarely on. Being able to watch the players you like, playing on the team you root for is something I've found to be very, very important. It wasn't enough to read about the Angels in the boxscores, or within weekly publications. I had to be able to have a visual connection to the team.
Yes, I'm not proud of the fact that I abandoned the Angels for those years, and I feel really embarrassed for showing that photo, but times were different. Once I returned to southern California in 1994, my Angels fandom kicked back in, and I've never let another team replace them. And now that I live 2000 miles away, my love for this team is just as strong since I'm able to watch them play, and read about them daily.
So back to my question; What would cause you to change the team you root for? And, would you ever stop being an Angels' fan?
Oh wait, I mentioned there were two things I was going to confess.
I like the Cubs.