Friday, May 27, 2011

Rooting for Evil

As I type this, the Padres first game of a 6 game road trip is in a rain delay in Washington D.C.

Luckily for me, I have, which allowed to me switch to the Boston vs Detroit game just in time to see Boston score 5 runs in the top of the 3rd inning. While watching, my mind began to wander, as it is want to do from time to time. So, if you will excuse the momentary deviation from the typical Padres talk, I offer this quandary.

What if the Red Sox make the World Series?

Despite their awful start to the season, the Red Sox find themselves tied for first in the AL East. Based merely on my own eyeball test on the handful of games I've seen, their offense is as good as advertised, and as I write this Carl Crawford hits his 4th HR, a 2-run shot. Assuming Crawford can get hot, this offense is all the better.

But this isn't about the ins and outs of the Red Sox season. I'm not the guy to talk about that as I don't follow this team (or really, the American League) to offer in depth analysis beyond what a boxscore or highlights reveal.

My point is this. The Red Sox appear to be, if not the best, then one of the best teams in the AL. And yes, it's only Memorial Day, but it looks like they are only getting better, not worst.

So, the quandary then? Adrian Gonzalez.

This still looks weird to me.

I'm still an Adrian Gonzalez fan. I know to some this is already blasphemy. I can't help it. I like him and as far as I'm concerned he left San Diego on good terms. Call me soft if you must.

To that end, I want to see Adrain Gonzalez win a World Series at some point in his career. He is one of the games best players and a player I have invested a lot in from an emotional standpoint. It is sad to me when any sports great players retire without that ring, unless I absolutely loathe that player (looking at you Eli Manning with your Super Bowl ring you don't deserve) when it gets to the end of their career, I root for those players. Many a time, in games I otherwise had little to no rooting interest in, I find myself pulling for the fading veteran still looking for that ring (Jerome Bettis being a great example and the first one I thought of).

So I want Adrian to win. But here's the rub. He plays for a team that I cannot stand. Most teams I'm indifferent about. Does anyone have a strong opinion about the Astros or Twins? not unless you are a fan of those teams. But for me, the list of teams that I actually hate is short: Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox.

End of list.

The Red Sox are the most recent addition to that list. In the interest of full disclosure, in 2004 they were nowhere near this list. I pulled for them and their 90ish years of failure. I got caught up in the 2004 ALCS. Who didn't? Down 3 games to the Yankees (who I never liked but began hating in 1998...about mid October if memory serves) they pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in MLB history.

Then came the books, and talk shows, and the fans. My God the fans. They would not shut up about the Red Sox. They became insufferable. The team then dropped the GNP of Guatemala on Dice K. They had become another Yankees, engaged in an ongoing arms race with their rivals to the south. It wasn't until I went to a Padres game vs Boston that my hate for the Red Sox reached it's apex. The fans were obnoxious, arrogant and all together infuriating.

But now one of my favorite players in baseball plays for one of my least favorite teams. And not just one of my least favorite teams. A team I hate. Loathe. Wish bad things on.

So, if the Red Sox make the World Series, where will my rooting interest lie? I suppose it depends on who is in the World Series from the NL. But the possibility is there and I fear I will find myself pulling for the Red Sox solely based on Adrian Gonzalez, despite my best intentions to the contrary.

So I ask you, do you want to see Adrian Gonzalez win a World Series? Do you not care now that "Padres" is not written on his jersey? Do you have the Red Sox to a point that it is irrelevant who is on the team?

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