You may remember, I've addressed this often when writing about football, that in my early life, when the Jets stunk a big one, I used to root for a secondary team, just so the concept of playoffs wasn't totally foreign to me. I never did that with baseball, for some reason...not like the Mets were making the playoffs year in and year out - maybe because other teams weren't as accessible in baseball during the season like with the NFL. I don't know.
Well, I was thinking about doing that this year, because I'm finding it harder and harder to get behind the Mets as currently constituted. And the Tampa Bay Rays would seem to be the right team in the right place. But I can't do it.
This isn't just some arbitrary decision - there are plenty of reasons.
1) Though I like certain players on the team, I don't like them enough to override the players I don't like at all (see below). Rocco Baldelli hasn't been relevant in too long, and as much as I liked Cliff Floyd for parts of his Mets years, he brings up too many bad memories.
2) They are the team that always wants to fight. I want to like Joe Maddon, but the bottom line is he fueled the fire leading to that Red Sox-Rays brawl...I don't know how much I like that. He's doing a fine job managing, though, I'll give him that.
3) a) Jonny Gomes is a punk. b) Carl Crawford also seems like a punk - he took a lot of cheap shots in that brawl at the bottom of the pile. Fight like a man.
4) Scott Kazmir is a constant reminder of what might have been.
5) The "fans" don't deserve success. Tampa Bay fans took attendance to ridiculous lows the past decade. The fact that they're winning and all of a sudden they have "fans"? Give me a break. I think I prefer seeing that stadium empty.
Now, this also got me thinking, could I root for anyone else in the majors as a secondary team? Seeing Troy Percival with the Rays reminded me that the then-California Angels were always a team I rooted for in the American League, and I haven't always hated the Yankees...I rooted for them right up until they won their first recent World Series, in 1996. So I guess that's why I never had the need for a secondary baseball team. But now I'll come up with a reason to not root for any other teams:
Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals - The Nationals are the only ones in this group I might consider taking on, but they have less of a shot than the Mets, so why waste my time. I strongly dislike the other 3.
Yankees - Someday I'll get back into why I stopped rooting for them, but the bottom line is we're suffering through irreparable damages.
Red Sox - Thanks to their pitiful performance in the "New Baseball Pool" last week (a 3-3 when I could have had a 5-1) I'm holding a grudge against them the rest of the year. I root for them for one week and they don't come through - now they'll be sorry...
Orioles - Without Erik Bedard, there's no one I can attach myself to on this team.
Blue Jays - Despite me owning half of their pitching staff on my fantasy team, they're just frustrating to watch.
Twins - They're doing well after trading the Mets Johan Santana. I have to root against them.
White Sox - Everytime I bench Nick Swisher in my fantasy league, he has a huge week. I'm getting tired of their act.
Indians - They're making me look like an idiot for picking them to go to the World Series. They're no better than the Mets right now in my book.
Tigers - Please. It's more fun to root against this Tigers team than for them.
Royals - Eh. Indifferent.
Angels - Again, I might actually continue rooting for the Angels. I like them.
Mariners - Never really bought into them this year. They have actually taken away my enjoyment of watching Bedard pitch.
A's - Ever since the Bash Brothers, I've never been too interested in seeing Oakland do well.
Rangers - They've never had players I've considered likeable.
Astros - I like their ballpark....is that enough?
Cubs - I like long streaks of teams not winning stuff.
Cardinals - 2006.
Reds - I guess I'll be rooting for them because I've been touting them much of the season. Did I pick them to win the division? I might have - or at least to make a run.
Brewers - I think I picked the Brewers to win the Central. I actually may root for them to do well...although they have Jeff Suppan.
Pirates - Again, nice ballpark.
Giants - Nope. Never liked San Francisco, even when Gary Carter played there.
Los Angeles - Same. Not even Carter could take away a deep-rooted hatred.
Rockies - Last year I was rooting for them - they've had their success...now go away.
Padres - Occasionally, they're harmless. But they killed the Mets this year, so they've helped ruin my 2008.