Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Juice

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09 

Personally On the Juice
Scott Takes On Society
Comedy 101
Kick Out the Jams (Music Pieces)
Even Baseball Stories Here
Link to Scott's NSFW Sports Site
Who Do You Give Your Loyalty: The Team or Its Players?
2007-06-30 23:01
by Scott Long

As I've mentioned here before, I didn't start rooting for the White Sox until I fell in love with a girl in college who was a big fan of the Pale Hose. Before this point I had been a die-hard Tigers fan, but I became intoxicated in my love for the girl (who is my wife), plus I developed a man-crush on a young hitter at the time, Frank Thomas.


Thomas was everything I wanted as a Bill James devotee. No player has ever started his career more dominant than the Big Hurt, as he had an OPS over .1000 every one of these 7 seasons, except for 1992 when it was .975. The combination of his ability and immense size made him the most exciting hitter to watch in baseball during the 90's.

The time came, though, when the White Sox decided that it was time to cut Thomas loose. Frank felt like the Sox had treated him poorly, as he felt that the team owed him for what he had done for them in the past. Thomas might have been right, especially considering how well he played for the A's.

I mention this because as much as Frank Thomas was my guy, I thought the team did the right thing. The most popular player among most White Sox fans during the time I've been a fan was Robin Ventura. Many fans were irate when the team let Ventura go, but at the time to pay a 30 year-old 8 million annually for the next 4 years seemed a bit pricey, especially since the team seemed like they had a decent replacement in Joe Crede coming through the minors.

In some ways I have too much knowledge when it comes to the game. I can't take my armchair GM hat off long enough to embrace my favorite players. Moneyball, sabermetrics, and fantasy baseball have made me more informed and at the same time have taken away some of the romance of the game. Sometimes being better informed removes some of the mindless bliss from the game.

My love for the game now is like the one I have for my wife. Respectful for the long bond we have had. When I was 12, my love of the game was like the initial stages of a relationship, when you are leading with your heart. (hey, I'm trying to keep this classy.) Both have their merits, but sometimes you wish you could have it all, don't you?

So now the White Sox and Mark Buerhle are going through an impasse on a new contract. The team wants to wrap up the neogotiations before the All-Star break, as they plan on trading Buerhle, otherwise. The contract offer stands currently at 4 years-56 million, which seems like a good deal for the White Sox. The sticking point is a no-trade clause which Buerhle wants.

I've been a huge supporter of Buerhle and think he will continue to be the type of pitcher he has been during his career. Despite him being such a quality front-line starter, I agree with the Sox postiion, as having a trade option is vital for teams with a certain salary cap restrictions. With the playoff races so competitive and Buerhle being by far the best pitcher on the potential trading block, I would think he should be able to bring in a nice haul.

Ultimately, I will always root for Buerhle if he plays for the Sox or not, just like I do for Frank Thomas. I understand the game is a business and both sides have to do what is best. What I won"t do is boo one of my favorite players when they show up with a new team, like many Cleveland Inidans fans have done with Jim Thome. Maybe Ichiro and Sam Wyche were right about Cleveland.

2007-07-01 06:09:51
1.   LatNam
This is actually a subject I've been thinking of a lot recently, because in the winter, I'm a hockey fan, and my team (Nashville Predators) is up for sale and likely moving away in a year or two. I don't think it would be right to keep cheering for the team when its in Kansas City or Canada or wherever, but I'm still going to watch hockey cheering for my favorite players wherever they end up. (Indeed in an effort to lower attendance in order to exercise an escape clause in the lease the Predators have already traded away their goalie(best player on the team), and their Captain(probably second best player on the team).
In the baseball realm, as a Braves fan(at least when they got sold they weren't moving anywhere) my main loyalty is, like you, to the team. I still want to see Greg Maddux do well. Glavine to a lesser extent, but that's probably because he's on the Mets and I just want them to lose more often.
My most recent 'favorite player' to leave the team was Marcus Giles. I hated to see him go, but I also think the Braves did the right thing (Kelly Johnson's great play a kind of vindication). So... yeah.
2007-07-01 06:28:55
2.   D4P
Who Do You Give Your Loyalty: The Team or Its Players?

As a kid, I was fiercely loyal to my team. I liked everyone on it, and disliked (virtually) everyone on other teams.

As an "adult", I'm not really loyal to anyone or anything. Players are loyal primarily to money. That's fine. I don't hold that against them, but given that they're not loyal to my team or its fans, I feel no obligation to be loyal to them. They're just interchangeable parts.

In the words of Bruce Hornsby,

Everybody here's a number, not a name
But I guess thats all right with me

2007-07-01 07:57:26
3.   Ravenscar
I guess I think it's always team first. I grew up in New York and am a Mets fan, but I've always had favorite players on other teams. Willie Randolph (my role-model as a 7-year-old 2B in peewee and little league), Omar Vizquel (best fielder I've ever seen), Manny Ramirez (how can you not love Manny?), Tim Hudson (was living in Bay Area as he came up), a few others I don't remember here or there. I know there are some I can't remember who were National League players, but none really spring to mind.

But whenever any of these players would play against the Mets (no matter what team they were on) I never had trouble praying for them to have the worst night of their lives.

I like having the regional loyalty - if I move tomorrow and spend the next 50 years in Portland, OR I will always be FROM New York and I will always say the Mets are my team.

2007-07-01 09:12:27
4.   chris in illinois
Team first. Go Braves!

...but I do have a Giants T-Shirt that has 'KLESKO' across the back.

2007-07-01 14:46:36
5.   Saburo
Philly fans gave Thome an ovation while Cleveland booed him. That's remarkable.
2007-07-01 20:33:36
6.   markh
Team first. Always the team. Players come and go, but the laundry is always the same. ;-) This isn't to say there wouldn't be some kind of blip in my rooting if my Red Sox swapped rosters with New York or Tampa or something, but I certainly wouldn't become a Devil Rays fan because of it.
2007-07-02 08:07:31
7.   Schteeve
I root for the team more than the players.

I loved Sheff when he was with the Yankees. Now I like him but I don't love him.

2007-07-03 09:41:32
8.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
My screen name answers the question.
2007-07-05 23:26:07
9.   das411
5 - And I was one of those Philly fans! We take care of the ones we like, even if they are few and far between.

and LatNam, don't worry, we'll take care of all of those dispossessed Preds. If they are half as talented and gritty as it sounds then there is no better place for them to play than with the Flyguys.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.