Thanks for Your Concern

You are doing it wrong. You, as a loyal baseball fan and mouth-breathing moron, are unable to see the forest for the trees. You, pathetic plebeian, cannot see how easily the wool is pulled over your eyes. Baseball teams are HOLDING OUT ON YOU, refusing to pony up to deliver the playoff bounty you desire nay, DESERVE, NAY AGAIN, DEMAND, as a sports fan.

Without the guidance and providence of well-meaning writers high above the fray, you are lost. You see, there is no cheering in the press box because these paragons of virtue do not sway in the mighty wind blowing through the ballparks of the world. They see the sporting landscape for what it is and, thankfully, they’re here to help.

Owning a baseball team is an easy job. Sure, the barrier for entry is set impossibly high but that ensures only the best and brightest are able to reach this upper echelon of humanity. It takes a lot of know-how and a lot of capital. It may seem like owning a sports team is more like owning a piece of fine art than owning a Subway franchise, but you’re wrong. They both work the same way. You get what you pay for.

Owning a sports team has nothing to do with ego or legacy, it is about value. Money. A baseball team is a license to print money, where creative accounting ensures even the most albatrossish contracts are little more than rounding errors. If ownership doesn’t try to win, it is imperative that all fans piss and moan and hold their breath in front of the box office (WITHOUT BUYING A SINGLE THING) to ensure the winning product you require is placed before you within a suitable timeframe. Preferably instantaneously.

But you cannot do this because you are weak. Weak and ill-informed at the hands of company men and lackeys and apologists serving as little more than unpaid marketing interns, erecting shrines to The Man’s product while back-slapping men do cocaine and count your money. Luckily, merchants of truth and right and the advocates of the Working Man act on your behalf. They are angry because you don’t know how. They smartly see the error of your ways and aim to correct you of this pesky predilection for the mediocre. And for that we should thank them.

Thank you for becoming the avatar for my misplaced outrage. Thank you for fighting for what is right and showing me that without a row of head-bedecked pikes outside the publicly-funded stadium, the bean counters at Telecom Inc. will never heed my call.

You might think you actually just love baseball. You believe you love the day-to-day drama and then ever-shifting storylines in winter and the pure athletic splendor in summer. You might think that, as a dedicated fan so hopelessly in the tank for a team thanks to a bond first forged when you were closer to diapers than pubic hair, your emotional investment in your team or sport or favorite player takes up huge space in your life because it might actually be fun to follow a baseball team and live and die with every pitch and sit in the stands with good friends and crack wise and shout and notice the little things like how Vlad Guerrero was always the last guy into the dugout coming off the field and the last guy out of the dugout when it was time to head back onto the field but, guess what? You’re wrong.

Watching sports is about winning. That is it. You watch sports so you can see your team win. If they don’t win, it’s because ownership doesn’t want it bad enough. They wish to deny you the sole pleasure one can derive from watching professional sports – participating in a championship parade. You think you watch for entertainment, for the hundreds of hours of idle TV and radio and blog posts you consume each year because being a sports fan is more of a life-consuming hobby now than ever before? WRONG. You show up, plunk yourself down into a seat and wait for the winning to start. If you don’t see the winning, you’re being cheated.

If, having been cheated by dishonest suits in their ivory towers, you don’t simply stand up and walk out, leaving behind those sunny afternoons at the ballpark or the background noise while you BBQ and the annual Opening Day ritual and everything you thought you loved about baseball (but were wrong!), you’re a sheep. You’re just making those fat cats fatter, man.

Until you’re able to recognize the error of your ways and how foolish and misguided you are in your enjoyment of the little things and constant presence of baseball in your life, you can never truly be free. It isn’t baseball you love or even like, it is knowledge that the ownership will do whatever it takes to ensure your favorite TV show has a happy ending. Every year. They must not sell hope or even their product, they’re selling spots on the parade route or they are just picking your pocket. Over and over.

It may seem excessive when you realize the utter hopelessness and despair one stands to experience when corporate ownership uses your favorite team as a multi-platform tool to promote synergy and brand awareness at their discretion. Better yet, don’t realize that. Just know the ownership of your favorite team is rich and they didn’t sign Edwin Jackson yesterday because they know you and twenty thousand sad junkies just like you will show up all the same.

So pack up your shit because we are leaving. No longer can detached irony save you. It is time to put up then shut up. Hack the broken bone at the joint and limp away. Do not return until you see a concerted effort to appease your trophy lust. As a wise man once said, anything less than the best is a felony.