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.
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.