Friday, July 10, 2009

My Mistress

Obviously, I haven't posted at an incredible rate this season. When I started this blog, it was for a network of blogs (which I will not name here), and I was the "Dodger blogger." I added the Red Sox to the mix, and for a while I was writing recaps for every team for both games. But that got tedious for me, and probably for you, and so I quit doing it. Posting has been sporadic basically ever since I went to Chicago last year, and there's really no reason for it, other than that I am lazy. But a quick glance at the posts that I've written in the last year will show you that I've written vastly more posts about the Dodgers than about the Red Sox. This has been weighing on my mind quite a bit recently, and I'll tell you why.

I've been a Red Sox fan for most of my life, though I admit to not paying as much attention as I should have during high school and a little bit of college (hey, I was busy living life). But I've always been diehard about the BoSox, despite the fact that I've never actually been to Fenway, or even Boston. Don't judge me. It is entirely possible to be a huge fan without actually seeing your team's home stadium. This season is the first one since 2004 (when I met Christine, and therefore could actually afford to go to baseball games) that I haven't seen the Red Sox play at least one game (they play in Anaheim at least once every year), so it's not like I've had no connection.

Seven years ago, I moved to Los Angeles. And for the first three years or so, I didn't really pay attention to the Dodgers. I didn't go to a game at Dodger Stadium, even though I probably could have afforded it, in the pre-McCourt days anyway. I was working a lot, and when I wasn't working I was surviving on unemployment. I watched a lot of baseball on television, and was grateful at the time for the "east coast bias" on ESPN, since it meant I got to see several Red Sox games a year. They actually came to play the Dodgers the first year I lived in Los Angeles, but it was in the first few months I was in town, and there was no one to go with me, and no time to go anyway.

I never had anything against the Dodgers, but I was a Red Sox fan. And that, pre-2004 anyway, took a lot of effort. Even during 2004, I was busy rooting for my team, and getting someone else to do the same. Christine didn't even like baseball (maybe even hated it) before she met me, and suddenly she was as big a fan, if not bigger, than I was. When they won it all in 2004, about six months after we met, she took credit for it, and it was not something I was going to dispute.

And then, in 2006, I became a Dodger fan, too. Here's how it happened:

Christine: I think we should become Dodger fans.

Me: Uh, okay.

I was worried in the beginning, and it took a lot of reassuring from Christine to convince me that it would be okay. After all, with the exception of interleague play, and possibly the World Series, the teams would never meet in a game. They were in different leagues on opposite sides of the country, and one of them played in a stadium only ten miles from my house, so it certainly made sense from a geographical standpoint.

And so I went to a game or two that year. And I went to a playoff game that year, which was a lot of fun, even though the Dodgers lost. In 2007, we bought a mini plan of season tickets, which was for twelve games, though I think I went to more than fifteen that season. Last year, no mini ticket plan, but I went to 25 major league games (including three exhibition), seventeen of which were at Dodger Stadium. And this year, thanks to the hard sell from the Dodgers, we bought a 27-game plan.

This year is when I think the trouble really started. The problem with rooting for a team that plays 2,594 miles from your front door is just that--they are too far away. I have the MLB Extra Innings package, and I can watch almost every game the Red Sox play. But with the exception of two or three games a year, I can never see them play in person. Meanwhile, I'm heading over to Dodger Stadium and screaming my head off for that team fifteen or more times a year. And while Los Angeles isn't exactly a baseball town (at least not in the circles I run in), there's still something to be said about the way one feels when rooting for one's "hometown" team.

The question came up the other day (and last year, too, but it turned out to be for nothing) about what I would do if these two teams met in the World Series. In the beginning, part of the agreement with Christine was that if that World Series moment ever happened, all the Dodger gear would go in a trash bag in the garage. We were Red Sox fans, pure and simple. But the line has been blurred in recent years, and if October rolls around with both my teams with a chance to win it all, I can no longer say with confidence that the Red Sox will have my undying support. In fact, I'm really starting to lean the other way on that one.

For a long time, the Red Sox and I were a perfectly happy married couple. And then this little flirt with the sexy stadium and the overpriced parking started winking at me, and I faltered. I gave in to the temptation, and though I've never made any promises to the Dodgers that the marriage is almost over and I'll be leaving any time, I feel like Chavez Ravine has been pushing harder and harder for that outcome in the last year. Sick of being the concubine, she's begging for more and more attention, and she's getting it.

You know how Demi Moore and Bruce Willis got divorced, but now they have that weird relationship that involves vacationing with each other and their respective new spouses? Perhaps that will be how it is. Perhaps I will divorce the Red Sox amicably, but I'll maintain custody of my autographed balls, pictures, ticket stubs, and memories. We'll still see each other in person once every summer, and on television every day, but things will be different.

I really don't know yet if that's okay.


Orel said...

I read this post with no small amount of delight. Kudos to Christine for getting the ball rolling. Just think of it this way: You can have a favorite team, and a favorite AL team. But you can't deny your true destiny as a fan!

Bruce Paine said...

I think you are fine. Fanship can come and go. I don't question people that say they have been lifelong fans of teams that have historically sucked. It doesn't always make sense, but who cares? Really? In football, I grew up a Bears fan, and mostly ignored the Colts. When they hired Bill Polian to GM the club, I sat up and took notice. This was the guy that built the Buffalo Bills when they were really good. The Bills teams he built never won a Super Bowl, but they dominated in every other way. Those were good teams. Then he drafts Manning and suddenly the entire state was saying, "Wait a minute, we may hove something here." When I was a kid, I was a Dodgers fan, and I followed all the players in the newspaper and bought their baseball cards, but as I got older, the team just seemed too far away to follow, and my bend drifted towards the Cubs and Cardinals. Things evolve. If there was no such thing as evolution people wouldn't look like their parents (or the milk man). You follow players, too. I saw Drew Brees play a lot of college football, so there is no reason not to pull for the Chargers or Saints a little unless they are playing the Colts. "Hard Core", dyed in the wool, good times and bad attitudes are for marriage and tool manufacturers. In five years, there will be no Yankee players (maybe Jeter), managers, stadium, or ownership that was involved in their last World Series win. If people want to pull for them because they are the Yankees, fine. If they don't, it makes sense to me. Granfalloon!

Brandon said...

It's ok.

Steve Sax said...

Great piece Erin. I've had one queued up with a slightly similar starting point, but it ends up in a different place. I'll post tomorrow morning.

Just think, if you hadn't have become such an avid Dodger fan, we probably would never have met.

Thanks for becoming a Dodger fan.

Orel said...

Where have you been, Erin? You haven't cut and run on us, have you? Inside the walls of the SoSG fortress, we're preparing for a fun August with a few more press box visits. Let's just hope the Dodgers don't migrate south in the standings.