I just realized that Justin's piece below is about baseball and love, but luckily it's on a somewhat different topic. I know everyone here loves one thing or another about sabermetrics, but it's easy to forget that all of us probably loved a specific team at one point or another.
It's Valentine's Day, which means that it's time for flowers, chocolate, and a host of other apparently romantic things. Oh, and it's also a time for love, so I thought we could reflect on the teams we love and why that's the case. Often it's because you grew up rooting for the team, but sometimes fans can find a connection with teams that reside hundreds of miles away from them. Sometimes people just like the name or the jersey. But what about you guys? What made you fall in love with your preferred team[s]? I'll touch on why I love some teams, but I'd really love to know what some other people think of. I just love the game in general, and I thought we could reflect on one of the best parts of it today: loving, passionate fandom.
My semi-worthless thoughts on the teams that I have an affinity for, logical or not.
Chicago Cubs: Wrigley, of course, but when you grow up on the north side of Chicago, loving the Cubs is pretty much a must. There are things that I don't love so much about Wrigley (bathrooms, watching losing baseball, parking sucks) and the way the club is ran makes me want to punch a baby bear in the face sometimes, but their nickname fits them. They really are lovable losers.
Chicago White Sox: They don't have Wrigley, but over time I've come to really love the Chicago White Sox. My dad never encouraged me to prefer one Chicago baseball team over the other, partly because he's from New York and partly because they hardly ever actually compete against one another (hey, logic!), so I ended up settling in as a fan of both teams. Cubs fans really hate that, for some reason, but if I were a legit Cubs fan I would focus on hating the Cardinals, Reds, Astros, Brewers and Pirates, not the White Sox. The 2005 World Series is the only championship I've ever really experienced as a Chicagoan (too young for the Jordan Bulls, just can't care that much about hockey), which garners them some bonus points, too. And as much as I love Wrigley, you can't ignore the advantages in convenience, food, and bathrooms that The Cell has.
New York Mets: (a) My dad grew up rooting for the Metropolitans. (b) They're not the Yankees, arguably my least favorite professional sports franchise (Packers are damn close, though). Between those two things, it's enough to land them on my list of preferred teams.
Tampa Bay Rays: As much as anything, I love teams that are ran well. And no team exemplifies quality management more than the Rays. I just love teams that really seem to "get it" and the Rays fall comfortably into that category. When I saw that the Cubs were trading for Rays starter Matt Garza, my first reaction was, "I really hope that the Cubs didn't get fleeced."
Toronto Blue Jays: I like the colors. I like Canada. I love what Alex Anthopolous is doing.
Washington Nationals: Now that I spend most of my time in D.C., I've been coming around to the Nationals. They're a pretty uninteresting team at the moment, but between Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, I'm holding out hope that they'll be good before I graduate. Definitely looking forward to seeing some games this spring, although I'm not particularly happy that I can't get away from Nats starter (and former Cub) Jason Marquis.
What about you guys, though? Why does Justin love the Royals? Why does Daniel love the O's? Today would seem to be an appropriate day to ask these questions, you know?