Hitting Close To Home

I have friends who are Mets and Reds fans.  I know someone who is a Flyers AND Isles fan.  I have a good friend from the West Coast who is an Oakland A’s fan and a Mets fan (Hi Jess!).

I don’t get it.  I have enough trouble following my one baseball team around the country, and some people are following two, maybe three for each sport!  And it’s not like these people I know who root for these teams have had marginal success over the years.

Something in common for those teams though: They’re geographically insignificant to each fanbase.  Rooting for geographically close teams in the same sport, though, is beyond my method of comprehension.  Mets AND Yankees.  Jets AND Giants.  I feel like there is too much of a conflict of interest, even if, as the saying goes, these teams don’t impact one another directly.

I’ve been fortunate.  Two of my teams won championships in a very short amount of time in my fandom.  Whether they will again in my lifetime remains to be seen.  The Jets constantly tease me and it pisses me off.  Part of my 11-year old mind in 1987 told me to become a Giants fan.  I guess being naive and not understanding the futility of being both a Mets and Jets fan (and Rangers, who at the time, hadn’t won a championship since 1940), I thought they’d just win some other time.

By 2008, I had some choice words for my dad.  “It’s bad enough you’ve made me a Mets and a Rangers fan…but a JETS fan?  What were you thinking?”  Like most of 1969, I’m sure my dad rooted for them in a drug-induced haze and just stayed because he knew nothing else.  But the Giants on my watch have won three Super Bowls, and the Jets none.  But I don’t root for the Giants.  They’re not my team.

Throughout my football fandom, though, I never hated the Giants.  They had more success than us.  Hell, my friend Sully over at Sully Baseball says that New York gets this aura of “championship town,” but it’s hard when you’re a Mets, Jets or Rangers fan (though the Mets and Rangers did have ONE parade in my lifetime) because it’s mostly Yankees and Giants.  So naturally, like many Yankee “fans” I know (because I know fans without the quotes), it’s easy, in my opinion, to root for the Giants because they’ve won many championships.  Especially in my lifetime.  I get angry with my dad and I get upset with myself.  Because goddammit, I couldn’t even make a sport I’m the least invested in easy for myself.

People who root for the Mets and Yankees…okay.  TOTALLY don’t get it.  The rivalry doesn’t make as much sense as it did when it was clearly the NL town versus the AL town, but it’s deeply rooted in history.

Now, most Mets fans had the nine layers of hell series in 2009, when the hated Phillies faced the hated Yankees.  I didn’t watch.  Scenarios occurred that I was happy with, like Cole Hamels being exposed to be the bitch he was, Jimmy Rollins shutting the hell up and Chase Utley owning the Yankees (I’m one of the few Mets fans who actually likes Utley).  But there were some fans who felt the need to root for the one or the other.  Why?  WE HATE BOTH OF THOSE TEAMS.  WHY WOULD WE ROOT FOR ANY SIDE OF IT?  I was rooting for an epicenter to form at Yankee Stadium and suck both teams in and they never got to play.

But there were still some fans who momentarily forgot that they should never ever say the “Lets Go Yankees” chant, because they feel the need to root for someone.  What’s worse, some of these folks became the dreaded “homers” that these fanbases consider their own.  I call those people “frontrunners.”  Just to have something to cheer for.  But it’s more than just cheering.  It’s being happy AND reveling in the victory like it’s your own.  Is it a water cooler topic?  Is it a bragging rights thing?  If these teams are hated so much, why bother cheering at all?  Either way, as fans of a rival, whether manufactured or not, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Now this gets me to the Super Bowl.  Once again, we are faced with a dilemma, if you will, as Jets fans.  The hated Patriots face the Giants.  Notice I didn’t say “hated” Giants.  Because I don’t hate them.  For whatever reason, Giants fans have taken a HUGE dislike to the Jets fan population, at least those who are vocal on Twitter.

So most recently, it’s Giants fans who have made a Jets/Giants rivalry a “real” one, when it never was one.  Or maybe it was bubbling underneath and needed to come up.  Why would I actively root for a team that dislikes my fan base so much?  There are exceptions to every rule, but you get my drift.  It’s a Super Bowl where I could care less really about the teams.

It goes to the whole rooting for two teams.  I don’t get it.  Especially teams so geographically close.  My husband is a Seattle Seahawks fan.  If they went to a Super Bowl, and they weren’t playing my team, I’d be thrilled and excited.  The Seahawks don’t matter to me.  The Giants do and it’s geography, not to mention the success they’ve had in playoffs that the Jets do not have.  It’s easy to root for them and don’t deny it.

I do not buy the “Jets/Giants rivalry isn’t anything like Mets/Yankees.”  If one is a Jets AND Giants fan, one is taking the easy way out because chances are, you will have a local team to support when the going gets going.

This is not a Miss Manners post on who to root for.  Just don’t be a homer.  I don’t like the Patriots, but I respect them.  I don’t dislike the Giants, but I respect them.  It’s an easy situation for me.  I’ll watch the game.  I’ll eat carbs.  And that’s it.

A fan is someone who sticks with their team through the good, bad and ugly, and doesn’t cherry pick a team to root for during the playoffs.   I would say that besides being a Mets/Yankees “fan,” a Jets/Giants “fan” is more of the same, since the Giants have had more success than the Jets ever had or look to have.  It’s an insurance policy, plain and simple.  If it was easy, we’d all be Yankees fans, and we’d all be Giants fans (in New York of course…and Boston fans need to stop complaining!).

And I still don’t get it.  I don’t know.  Must not be in my DNA.

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