Posts Tagged ‘rivalry’

A Reasonable Attempt to Explain Unreasonable Fandom

January 23, 2013

dodgers niners logoUsually when this topic comes up, I think, “Whatever! I don’t need to explain myself!

But upon further review, I really do have to justify it.

Such is the life of a Los Angeles Dodger/San Francisco 49er fan. It’s a strange, cross-state rivalry fandom that has just so many awkward, twisted aspects to it that it must not go ignored.

When my ecstatic tweets about the 49ers advancing to the Super Bowl subsided on Sunday, I had plenty of very confused and/or upset Dodgers followers who could not fathom me rooting for a team from San Francisco.

So let me offer my sincerest apologies for injuring said egos. But I will not apologize for my fandom. And this is why, from the beginning:

I’ve been a fan of both teams for so long that I can’t even remember the “Ah-ha!” moment of my fanhood. It’s just been ingrained in me since the day I was born, passed down from my father, who also supports both teams.

See, he grew up in Southern California and worshiped the Dodgers much like I do today. And while he was in the Raiders and Rams and Chargers zones down there, he appreciated the way the 49ers ran their organization. So, his favorite football team has always been the Niners, despite the geographic difference.

Luckily, he moved with my mom up to the Bay Area right before I was born. We got out of the smog and into my favorite place in the world. But even if we had stayed in SoCal, I would still be a 49ers fan. It’s in the family blood. That’s just how it works with sports.

Plus, L.A. is a football graveyard now. What I’m trying to say is…blame my dad if you want a scapegoat.

Just kidding. Sorta.

Yes, it’s weird growing up in Giants country as a Dodger fan. But from a young age I realized the theory of fair weather fandom and front-runner fandom and just thought it was plain stupid. So for the sports I cared about the most, it has been do-or-die, thick-and-thin, win-or-lose support for the last 24 years. That’s something any true fan should respect.

I’m writing this mostly for my Dodger fan friends who are aghast at the possibility of a member of the family rooting for anyone from San Francisco. Well let me tell you something, guys and gals. It’s not a geographic rivalry — it’s a sports rivalry.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. There is a geographic rivalry between SoCal and NorCal. I’m not sure why, since L.A. has the Dodgers, nice beaches, and a whole lot of nothing else. Whereas San Francisco has everything you could want in a hometown (to summarize: NorCal rules, SoCal drools).

So the hella dank California rivalry is kinda jaded bruh. It should not factor into the Dodgers-Giants rivalry (which, for those of you who have forgotten, started in NEW YORK). What should matter is that I always have, always do, and always will bleed Dodger Blue, whether I’m in San Francisco, L.A., Newfoundland or Timbuktu.

And another thing — 49ers fans here aren’t all Giants fans. Remember, there are two teams in each sport in the Bay Area, and all four teams have a large legion of fans. I know plenty of 49ers fans who despise the Giants and root for the A’s, and vice versa.

So…yes. I can love a team from San Francisco. I can also hate a team from San Francisco. And I do love a team from San Francisco, and hate a team from San Francisco. The only things those two teams have in common is they play within the same city limits.

kemp niners hat

All the while, I’ll love the city of San Francisco, love a team from L.A., and hate the city of L.A. These are values I’ve held since the day I was born (legend has it I wore a Dodgers hat and a Niners shirt in the womb, actually), and I don’t intend to give them up. I will not change my sports faith just because it’s logical.

To settle the final score, since this is mostly for people on Twitter, it seems like a good time to remind you who else roots for the Dodgers AND 49ers.

If you can’t accept any of the other reasons I’ve laid out for you; that I was born this way, stayed true, and don’t connect it to the geographic rivalry, then just tell people it’s because Matt Kemp is my idol.

After all, that’s true. And he plays for my favorite baseball team, while rooting for my favorite football team. Don’t forget it! Oh…and…um, please don’t unfollow me on Twitter. My social media presence is pathetic already…thanks.

So prepare to watch me happily tweet away as the 49ers take on the Ravens in about 10 days. And when Opening Day rolls around, you’ll see nonstop Dodger tweets filling your timeline. It’s up to you. Can you handle it? Can you make any sense of it? Either way, you better get used to it!

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman. Until he tweets about the 49ers. Then you will unfollow me. Damn.

How I Became the World’s Biggest Cardinals Fan Overnight

October 19, 2012

It’s not what you think. Nobody actually convinced me to join the Cardinal-colored dark side. I’m not a front-runner, fair weather fan, nor did I only title this blog to score points with my girlfriend, who sees the world through red, white and navy blue lenses.

But the second Sergio Romo struck out Scott Rolen looking in Game 5 of the NLDS to send the Giants to the next round, I knew it would be a toss-up between the Cardinals and Nationals for my undying fandom this week.

When the Cards pulled another rabbit out of their hats in the 9th inning of Game 5 of their series to advance, it was confirmed: Jeremy Dorn, the most devoted Dodgers fan in the world, was briefly going to trade alliegences. That’s what you do in a rivalry; you root for your team until your lungs bleed, and when they are eliminated, you do the same for any team playing against your rival. Only when your rival’s season end, does the fan settle down, relaxed and waiting for another shot next year.

See, in case you didn’t learn anything in school, the Giants and Dodgers are the sports world’s greatest rivalry. Ever. It’s not even close. Sure, the Red Sox and Yankees get the most publicity and Duke versus North Carolina is an annual battle of the beasts…but no rivalry in a professional American sport comes close to matching the clout of Dodgers/Giants.

The two teams first met in 1883, and have since played  over 2,300 games directly against each other. The Giants have a slight edge, about 20 more wins total against the Dodgers. Both teams have won 21 National League pennants and six World Series titles.

And I don’t even need to go into the on-field, off-field and cross-team hatred and violence that has sprung out of this rivalry.

I’m not condoning any violence that has taken place, whether a fight between fans, a bat to the head during a game, or flinging insults at each other through the media. But that is how this rivalry works. And that is how, as a fan of one team involved, we are wired to think.

We want our team to win more than anything. If our team is eliminated, we want the rival team to fail more than anything. The cliched saying “My two favorite teams are the Dodgers and whoever is playing the Giants” is absolutely true.

Hell, even some players think that way. This season, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong admitted that he was raised through the Giants system hating the Dodgers and would like nothing better than to beat them. The two franchise’s greatest and most celebrated individual players (Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays) refused to sign with the rival team later in their careers. Robinson elected for retirement, Mays accepted a trade to the Mets.

Ask a Giants fan – they took great happiness in helping to knock the Dodgers out of Wild Card contention in the last series of the season. Even though they had clinched the division days before that. 

Ask a Dodgers fan – we are ALL rooting for the Cardinals to kick the Giants in the teeth and send them home. It’s not about winning or losing for us anymore, because it can’t be. It’s about causing as much failure-inflicted misery upon the team and its fans as we can possibly fathom.

Don’t cry foul – it works both ways. Giants fans love the Giants. Dodgers fans love the Dodgers. We despise each other’s teams (though not necessarily each other as fans – a good percentage of my close friends are Giants fans), and root for our team’s success and the other’s ultimate failure.

I tell people that even if the Dodgers miss the playoffs, it’s a good season if we beat the Giants. This season, that clearly didn’t happen. The Giants are three wins away from going to the World Series. The Dodgers are three strokes away from breaking par at Pebble Beach.

But if the Cardinals win tonight, the Giants will join the Dodgers on the golf course, and all was for naught. It means both of us failed. That the Giants are not better than us. And that is a small consolation for Dodgers fans who agonized over a roller coaster season that ended in pure disappointment.

I love the Dodgers. Therefore I hate the Giants. If the Cardinals are playing the Giants, I root for the Cardinals to destroy them, so I can live vicariously through that victory.

The Cardinals are one win away from knocking the Giants out. One good game. It could happen tonight. And as the rivalry goes, that potential win would craft an evil smile along the faces of an entire legion of Dodger fans.

That’s baseball, that’s life, and that is this rivalry.

And THAT is why I became the world’s biggest Cardinals fan overnight.

The Lost Art of Sportsmanship

June 17, 2012

I hate to name names (no I don’t , who are we kidding here?), but @MattKempFanPage on Twitter is a class A douche. And it sucks, because he’s a Dodgers fan. Which isn’t always a compliment.

Look, I love my Dodgers. That stems from loving baseball, which stems from loving sports, which stems from loving competition and challenges. I’ve played, watched, talked and written sports since I was just a toddling waddler, but along the way I never forgot the core values that sports demand. Specifically, sportsmanship. 

Sure, I’ve had my moments. In high school, I faked a tag at second base and the kid slid in hard, hurting his ankle. A few times I half-heartedly shook the soccer referees’ hands after a match and glared instead of saying “good game” (this may seem paltry, but I assure you that’s unsportsmanlike in soccer). And as all kids do, I refused to lose in anything, forcing as many rematch as possible against any opponent who beat me in any athletic competition.

But I’ve grown up, and every day that I watch baseball I realize another way that the game is beautiful and brilliant and perfect.

Baseball demands respect. It demands its disciples to play a fair, passionate, exceptional version of sport. Mental wars rage between and during every…single…pitch.

Not only do pitchers, hitters, coaches and fans have to be smart and loyal to love this game, but they must be quick, yet patient; relaxed, yet stubborn. And then after all the dust settles, even in the face of their most bitter rival, or even a day after an all-out brawl, they must be professional, courteous sportsmen to the highest degree.

Don’t get me wrong here – baseball is no golf or tennis. And you may even be confused by the vision of the winning team high-fiving and jumping around after each victory, as the defeated sulk back to their clubhouse, not a congratulations to be uttered.

But these players have the utmost respect for one another, and show it after the after parties end. Many of them are friends from meeting during Spring Training, or through agents, or media experiences. They take to Twitter to thank fans for their support, give props to fellow players on big games.

And the most simple-minded fan should understand. We should all realize that even more than our respective favorite teams, our favorite players and everything in between…the game itself is above it all.

It’s an art form, and it deserves to be treated like one. Therefore, when a piece of art is twirled as fine as something like a perfect game, you give the artist the congratulations and respect he deserved. Regardless of the jersey he wears.

The hatred I feel towards the San Francisco Giants is like nothing I’ve ever known before. It comes with the territory of being a die-hard, true blue Dodgers fan since the day I was born. I live in Giants country, and immerse myself in the greatest rivalry outside Yankees/Red Sox on a daily basis. I’m behind enemy lines, and I know more about the rival fan base than I ever cared to before.

And yet, I watched the end of Matt Cain’s perfect game. I enjoyed it. I frowned when the Dodgers lost that night, and the Giants gained a game in the standings. I was upset that my team lost a game they should have won. But that night was Matt Cain’s and Matt Cain’s only.

He threw a perfect game. It was incredible. He’s one of only 22 successfully perfect pitchers out of the thousands and thousands who have tried. And we all should revel in the moment as fans of this game. 

Dodgers fans get a bad rap from other baseball fans – some deserved, some based in fiction:

FACT – “We,” on average, show up late and leave early. That’s the nature of the beast when you’re living in Los Angeles, traffic capital of the universe.

FICTION – “We” have thug fans, more focused on picking fights than enjoying the game. L.A. is a rough area, and as with every fan base, we have some tough fans. But it’s hard to find a fan base whose population dedicates its heart to a sports team more than the Dodgers.

But let’s not give the rest of the fans out there another reason to hate on us. Let’s not be classless.

When the Giants score, let’s curse the day the opposing pitcher was born. When they win a game, let’s throw something at the TV screen. But when their ace pitcher throws one of the most ridiculously impressive, artistic games in the 150-year history of this sport?

Let’s stand up and give him a quick round of applause. Giants fans would do the same for us. Sometimes the ones you hate win and the ones you love lose. That’s the way sports work. If you can’t handle it, you’re in for a lifetime of misery and internal anguish.

And as for Twitterius Angrius Maximus from the beginning of this blog? Your hero Matt Kemp would surely congratulate Cain on such a fine performance.

Get a grip. Be a good fan of the Dodgers and the sport itself.

On a Happy Father’s Day, I’m going to keep preaching exactly what MY old man always taught me. Whether it be baseball, soccer, horseshoes or Scrabble. Play fair, play to win, and above all, be a good sport.

Defending Dodger Fans’ Honor

May 8, 2012

You know…there are some days when I log on to this blog and go, “What the HELL am I going to write about today?” When that happens, sometimes I post a bunch of crap. Other times, like today, something magically appears that I feel strongly about and feel inclined to write about.

When I was perusing the blogosphere this morning (yes, I do that), I came across THIS madness

Henry Schulman, I’m not one to call names. But you are a raging douche canoe. And you should be fired as a Giants beat writer, because you clearly don’t understand their most important rivalry.

Schulman was literally the only person in Los Angeles last night who thought Dodger fans were booing Matt Kemp. We are talking about a legitimate MVP candidate every season, who is hitting over .400 by the way.

Dodger fans may show up late, they may leave early. But they don’t boo their own players undeservedly. I want to punch Schulman’s puppy. Right in the face. Twice.

Also, I’m not one to engage in petty bloguments (yes I am), but if you want to attack Dodger fans, two can play at this game.

Let me just point out that Dodgers fans boo whenever the Giants score a run. And I don’t mean just against us. I mean when we see on TV that they score a run, we boo. In our living rooms. That’s what a rivalry IS. We wish ill will on the Giants in the form of going 0-162 every…single…season.

And we expect the same to happen the other way around. That being said, I’ve BEEN to AT&T for games multiple times. I live there, I can’t stay away from baseball. And I’ve sat in the bleachers, and never been more disappointed by a general group of sober fans’ lack of knowledge about their team.

I’m not saying those fans aren’t legit, and I definitely don’t think that faction represents the general knowledge level of Giants fans (trust me…tons of my friends are SF fans and they know their shit). But if this Schulman guy thinks he knows the rivalry, he needs to take a step back and make sure he’s not part of that bleacher crew himself.

Because even true Giants fans know that Dodgers fans wouldn’t boo our franchise player. We’ve been tortured since 1988, and the only thing we’ve done wrong since then is not sat in three hours of traffic to see them play in person.

Forget Tim Lincecum…Henry Schulman is now public enemy number one.

Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!


%d bloggers like this: