(…or “Why I hate the Giants.”)
Brian Wilson signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers today. It’s kind of an easy, no-brainer move for the Dodgers to make–certainly better than the gamble of a trade–and so I don’t have much to add to the world of sports analysis and commentary.
But the news today was just one more reminder of the increasingly childish way I view, experience, and enjoy the game of baseball. When I first heard the rumors that the Dodgers were considering signing Wilson, I thought to myself “I hope they don’t.” In my mind Wilson is a SF Giant and “once a Giant always a Giant” seems to be my default position. The same general set of thoughts ran through my head today when the news broke.
I love baseball as a game and as a professional sport. When I have the time, I enjoy the history of it. I also increasingly love the numbers behind it, not in a sabermetrics kind of way but just in the general way statistics mark the contest between teams. But the older I get the more I seem to love baseball mostly as a simplistic form of allegiance. That is, the older I get the more I seem to be a “Dodgers fan” more than a “baseball fan.”
A photoshopped image of the newest Dodger
Being a Dodgers fan in this way has always been a part of my conscious life. It’s the way I was a fan as a kid. The players on the Dodgers were, in my mind, like Tommy Lasorda–they “bled blue.” When Steve Garvey became a Padre in the early 80s my heart had the hardest time making sense of it. After all, Steve Garvey grew up as part of the Dodger family. How could they trade a son? Even more, how could he choose to become a Padre? I felt the same when Dusty Baker was let go.
That means that being a Dodger fan has always also meant, first and foremost, hating the New York Yankees. Coming in at a very close second, it has also always meant hating the San Francisco Giants.
This is stupid, I know, at least from an intellectual perspective. But I think it makes a lot of sense to the way I feel, and likely the way thousands of other fans feel.
So when Brian Wilson takes the mound in Dodger blue (if he ever does, which he probably will) I will be rooting along with all the other fans for him to do his job and do it well. But I won’t be wearing a fake beard. I can’t. Because even though I will root for him as a Dodger, a little part of me will also hate him as a former Giant.