Base reaction

DMZ · May 9, 2008 at 10:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I know this is unfair, but for all the random ill comments we tolerate, including the ones that drive me nuts (“The Mariner’s need…”) and for all the frustration that I share, every time I see a comment that says “I’m done with the team” or “I’m going to go cheer for some other team” or “See you next year” I have this urge to go delete that person’s account and go work something out on the server to block them from reading the site, with a reminder to pull it in 365 days. To support them in their effort, you know.

angry kitten wants you to leave

Angry Face” by Piez, cc-licensed.

It’s horrible, but there it is. When I consider it, I feel silly — it’s like the team’s whacked me on the head with a 2×4 and I can’t do anything about it so I’m casting around for someone to take it out on.

But I also don’t feel that way at all. There’s something particularly annoying about these announce that they’re done, that being beat up by Texas was the intolerable final act. They’re like kids holding their breath for attention, trying to make the responsible party someone else (“I’m not cleaning my room until the M’s win three games in a row… it’s not my fault it’s a mess in here.”)

Yeah, that’s great, leaving the fan community when we’re all down and uncertain of the future. Thanks.

And I feel each time I read those that I’m being chastised for not having the good sense to abandon the team like the person jumping overboard. Which is both annoying and unsettling, because it goes to my essential fear that we are wasting our time being fans until wholesale changes are made, and that we should just… join them in abandoning?

But moreover, it angers me because it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of my fandom and the fandom of others.

Does anyone really think I follow the M’s because I have some choice? That I could tomorrow swap over to being a Rays fan (named one of the ten worst franchises on MSNBC yesterday!) or stop following baseball? I can’t. I’ve tried. I tried following other teams, way back pre-USSM, and it didn’t work. I follow the Giants in the NL, and my interest in them barely measures comparatively.

No, for whatever the reasons, and we’ve discussed them, if you cracked open my DNA they’re probably stamped with tiny little yellow trident logos.

So I’m a dupe, I’m a sucker, I’ve got the chalk hand outline in the center of my back where Chuck Armstrong marked me for future exploitation years and years ago. I saw horrible teams in the Kingdome, I saw great teams in Safeco, and I’ll be watching whatever crappy pitching matchup the M’s throw at me in September just as reliably as I tuned in for last night’s game.

I accept that. I’m not arguing it’s the smart decision, because it isn’t. And my constant “short-term realism, long-term faith” viewpoint doesn’t have a lot of support for it. But there’s no second MLB team in the Seattle metro area, and as much as I like and support them, the Rainiers and Aquasox just aren’t the same product.

I feel like if someone’s reaction to this particular stretch of darkness is to declare they’re giving up or going elsewhere, then that’s the end of the conversation. Go. Live your life frolicking in meadows of flowers and friendly bunnies. When the team’s competitive in 2012 or whenever, and you’re curious how they got from here to there, I’ll be happy to talk your ear off about it.

In the meantime, I’m as frustrated as anyone — I’m throwing towels up on the front page every couple hours, after all — but I still feel like if someone’s going to make a scene about giving up now, the least they could do as a courtesy to the rest of us is go quietly, and leave us to our misery and nursed hope. And that means, to circle back to the start of this whole thing, that I have no patience right now for repeated declarations of giving up, franchise swapping, and so on.

If you’re capable of it, best of luck to you, congratulations on your superior constitution or whatever.
If you’re not, at least confront your weakness, acknowledge it, and join me in knowing that fandom can be as much about suffering as success.


159 Responses to “Base reaction”

  1. eternal on May 9th, 2008 5:11 pm

    I get it. but it seems a little hypocritical. If you’re throwing up towels every hour, then what’s the difference with somebody blowing a little steam and saying “I’m done!”? My guess is a lot of those people are just frustrated and they are just venting a bit. Long live Felix, Ichiro and Beltre. I just wish we had somebody in the lineup that was a real power threat…

  2. ash on May 9th, 2008 5:16 pm

    Haha…Marc. I was going to quit belaboring, primarily because I felt bad for possibly offending or upsetting the writers here, which was not my intent…at all.

    But, to respond to your comment: Yes, I’m skeptical of some romantic fandom–idealism, in short. Being a fan for the sake of being a fan. You are fan in multiple ways. It isn’t an either-or condition.

    To unpack, I think a critical fan simultaneously (1) loves his or her team and will follow that team (and blogs related to that team) until the season’s end, and (2)knows when to identify the team’s role as a business. In other words, as a consumer, you can quit going to games to make a point about the team letting you down, while nevertheless supporting the team by “keeping up” with them (e.g., watching the games at home). If you just blindly love any team, then they have little incentive to improve. You spoil them; they keep blowing your money.

    Wait…Now I sound like a child psychologist.

    Still, imagine the Mariners — and this will never happen — playing to an empty field. For some, that sounds cruel and fair weathered. To me, it’s making a point: As a consumer and a member of the Seattle public, you have the right to feed back into the economy, and sports teams certainly aren’t beyond that economy. No. A team doesn’t have to win all of the time. That’s ridiculous. Still, critical fans can change how teams are run. (Return here to the Yankees example.)

    For a sloppy analogy: imagine Stevens Pass, after a season with little to no snow, not somehow compensating those who purchased season’s passes. People would be irate. True, they have other options (i.e., other mountains), but the mountain still owes something to the consumers.

    I hope this put us on (or near) the same plane, Marc. Apologies for any confusion.

  3. DMZ on May 9th, 2008 5:28 pm

    I get it. but it seems a little hypocritical. If you’re throwing up towels every hour, then what’s the difference with somebody blowing a little steam and saying “I’m done!”?

    Two != every hour, but whatever.

    The whole post is about what the difference is between blowing off steam and “I’m done” and how that distinction makes me feel.

    I don’t see how that’s at all hypocritical.

  4. beck21 on May 9th, 2008 6:13 pm

    Amen, Derek — Preach it!

  5. Madison Mariner on May 9th, 2008 7:47 pm

    Thanks for the nice post, DMZ. The angry kitten is a nice bonus. 😉

    I’ve been a Mariners’ fan since 1982, when my father and my uncle took me to my first baseball game…but not in Seattle. I was actually born in Seattle–we’ll say sometime in the 70s–and my family moved back to Minnesota circa 1980. So, when I attended my first baseball game, it was in the Twin Cities, and it was the Twins and M’s in the Metrodome. Don’t remember who pitched, but it didn’t matter, as I was hooked!

    In the next few years, my dad and my uncle and I would attend many games, and frequently we’d get tickets to M’s-Twins matchups. And, as most of you know, neither team was particulary great in the early to mid 80s(the Twins would later overcome their demons with help from a guy named Kirby Puckett to make it to and win the 1987 World Series, as we all know). As a way of countering my dad and uncle cheering for the Twins, I would cheer for the M’s when we saw them play the “home” state team, and from there was born my fandom.

    (And boy, I have a weird fixation with domes now, too).

    I have many memories of following this team, through good times(1995, 1997, 2000, and 2001, as well as other winning seasons, etc.) and bad times(well, right now), and one(er, two?) thing(s) I always come back to is this:

    I’m a fan, and it’s a game.

    My interest waxes and wanes, sure, but my desire to see this team win, and my identity as a “Mariners’ fan” are ingrained now, and I can’t just turn that off. I realize, oddly enough, that my fandom is older than that of some of the current players and the ownership group(Nintendo/NoA), and that this organization…this team….will go on, and I will still cheer for them.

    Viva la fandom. 😉

    (And that was my first post–me, a longtime M’s fan who’s lived most off his life in the Midwest.)

  6. currcoug on May 10th, 2008 7:45 am

    Removed for “error: sentence ratio”?

    Good grief.

  7. DMZ on May 10th, 2008 9:37 am

    Please email us with complaints or questions about moderation.

  8. The Unkown Comic on May 10th, 2008 6:17 pm

    Really lame topic in my opinion. I can appreciate that you are so dedicated to the Mariners that you feel you have no choice but to stay the course in your fandom but I feel I have been so dedicated to the Mariners that I have the right to root against them but still be considered a true fan. I feel I have earned this rare privilege. Just my opinion.

  9. The Unkown Comic on May 10th, 2008 6:47 pm

    You fellas have developed a nice and loyal following and deservedly so as much of your work is pure genius but when I read crap like this and all the USS Mariner sheep just nod in agreement with no opposition it is just plain lame. 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.