Cheering for Two Teams

Title: Cheering for Two Teams
Date: May 15, 2008
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: With the Jays at their lowest point, I considered whether it was appropriate or not to cheer for an NL team as well.

Alright, it’s about time I finally get this down on bandwidth. I’ve only had this conversation a dozen times now. Yes, it’s about time I admit it.
I have two favorite baseball teams.

Before you get up in my grill about how I’m not a true fan of either then, or how I’m breaking one of the cardinal rules of being a male or being a sports fan, allow me to explain.

First, the sport we’re talking about here is baseball. I could never cheer for anyone but the Raptors in basketball and the Jaguars in football (unless, of course, there were huge fantasy implications). (And, I guess, the Leafs in hockey.)

But baseball? The Toronto Blue Jays? Is it really so wrong to have a second favorite team?

 More after the jump!
I contend, and am putting forth publically for the first time, that baseball fans everywhere should be allowed to have two favorite teams. Of course, there would be a few conditions.

1. They must be in different leagues.
This one should be obvious, and is the basis for my entire argument here. National League and American League teams generally operate so separately that this really isn’t a problem. To explain, AL and NL teams rarely play each other, except for interleague play and the World Series. Thus, unless it’s a strange year, you’re breaking Rule 2, or you’re extremely lucky (or bandwagon-ish), there will be no conflict of interest. That is, the Jays don’t have a rival in the NL and therefore rotate between NL teams in interleague play, have no geographic competition, and are probably not World Series bound anytime soon. Thus, there is absolutely no conflict of interest apparent in most cases if you cheer for one NL and one AL team.

Additionally, the league’s are just different enough that you can justify having two favorite teams on the grounds that the leagues are different, anyways. For example, I really like the National League style of play (no DH, larger managerial and strategic emphasis, etc) and feel I should get to cheer for a team playing in that situation. The no-DH rule, the pitcher’s batting, the double switch, and more all contribute to the difference between the leagues and make it so that cheering for two teams shouldn’t be a problem.

2. No geographic conflicts.
This one should be obvious, too, but probably isn’t. When selecting a second team, you can’t use the standard geographic criteria most use when first choosing a favorite team. This is because you’re more likely to face a closer team in interleague play, the teams are more likely to violate Rule 3, and because original fans of the other local team likely won’t accept you as a secondary fan of their team. The best examples are White Sox/Cubs and Mets/Yankees, though there are many instances throughout the league (Rays/Marlins probably not included).

3. No rivalry conflicts.
This is almost the same as Rule 2, but is extended so that you can’t cheer for teams with bad blood for each other. Pretty straight forward.

4. You must follow the teams as equally close as possible.
This is the toughest criteria, because it takes away the local media bias and information plethora. However, this rule is a good one in that it limits two-team-fans to those passionate enough about baseball to follow two teams and put in the due diligence. While you can get away with not checking the boxscore every day for either team, there is a serious onus on you to at least be able to name the starter at every position and name the whole rotation and closer (I’d even say the whole 25-man roster, but that’s probably too hardcore for most).

5. Given a head-to-head match-up, you must have a clear #1.
Even if afforded the opportunity to cheer for a second team, you must have one ultimate favorite. This may seem like it undermines the whole idea of having two favorite teams but let’s be real, you have to cheer for someone in the event you follow Rules 1 through 4 and the teams still face off. This really should be your original team but hey, maybe you’ll fall further in love with your second team, given the chance.

So, where does all of this take us? Those five rules really aren’t that stringent or strict, and having a second team to cheer for can really increase your enjoyment of the game of baseball. Not only does it give you extra games to watch and follow, it will also help your knowledge of the league as a whole (which is especially useful for fantasy baseball).

My stance is this – you can now consider me out of the closet. I have two favorite baseball teams. I follow the five rules appropriately, and the Jays will always be my number one true baseball love. But I do have a second favorite team, one in the National League that isn’t too close, the Jays have no rivalry with, and that I follow pretty closely. That team? Well, my close friends know, but that’s a decision that took some careful thinking…so much so that it’s being saved for an article another time.

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