I swear, I am not a television person. Sure, I enjoy a few shows like 30 Rock and House, but I don’t watch those every week. I find television annoying, mindless noise with pictures, the downfall of Western civilization.
I have watched a heck of a lot of MLB Network since it was born. I mean, we’re talking like everyday, sometimes for hours at a time. Granted, I’m not sitting there on the couch staring mindlessly at the screen – I am working on the new laptop while it’s on. Still, this is a lot of television and makes me think I should flip it off. But I can’t. It’s the off season. The whole world has disappeared outside the window in a whitewash. And I love watching the old stuff that I’ve never seen before or have since forgotten. I love this game. I love this network.
Yesterday, after Don Larsen’s ’57 World Series perfect game, on comes “Cathedrals of Baseball.” This one is the old Busch stadium. Ew. The most evil hated Deadbirds. But man, is that a baseball city, I mean a hardcore, doesn’t-run-their-best-players-out-of-town, knows-what-the-heck-they’re-talking-about baseball city. I’m jealous, I’ll admit. I’m jealous of their ten World Championships. I’m jealous of their fan devotion. I’m jealous of their recent success. And I hate them.
Then, a show on the 1996 World Series came on, a World Series I remember more vividly than most because it was the first appearance by the Yankees since 1979 and the whole country was watching. I rooted for the Yankees. Boy, what a series.
It got me thinking about past non-Reds World Series in my memory, which means every year in my memory except one. The first World Series I actually remember watching was the 1988 series between the A’s and the Dodgers. I vaguely recall rooting for the Tigers in ’86 and the Mets in ’87, but it was ’88 – when I was 11 years old – that I actually understood baseball enough and had enough knowledge of the players to appreciate it. I remember the disappointment in the Reds for missing it, and I became a Dodger hater as all good Reds fans are supposed to be. I would have rooted against that evil team even if the A’s, a team I loved, weren’t in it. Of course, the A’s lost.
In ’89, I rooted for the A’s again, but my love for the A’s ended in 1990, when my own beloved Reds swept them for their only World Series Championship in my lifetime. The A’s beat the Giants, the latter with whom I had not yet developed a relationship. Yay A’s!
In ’91, I rooted for the Braves. Yes, the hated Braves. But it was their first appearance after sucking so long, and they played the Twins, a team about which I was indifferent. And remember, they had been in the NL East, so there was no real rivalry with the Reds. Plus there was the whole TBS thing, the smartest thing the Braves ever did. Ted Turner is nothing if not a good businessman. Of course, the Braves lost.
In ’92, I rooted for the Braves again, only because I was indifferent about the Blue Jays, and because they had lost the previous year. Of course, the Braves lost again.
In ’93, I really rooted for the Phillies. I loved that team, what with Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, and the others. I actually felt depressed when they lost. I remember my grandfather buying me a Phillies cap that summer just because. Blame Canada.
The strike happened in ’94, robbing the Reds of what would have probably been their second World Series appearance in five years. Oh, how it still hurts.
In ’95, I rooted against the Braves, but I really was indifferent to that series since the Reds had lost the NLCS. That’s when the deep down hatred for the Braves really began, and that hatred festers as strong today as it was back then. The Indians were in, and I really liked that team, but I couldn’t in my heart find any enthusiasm for them that year. Of course, the Indians lost.
In ’97, I rooted for the Indians, naturally, being our fellow Ohio team. Back then, I liked Manny. Of course, the Indians lost. I’ve always had a sort of disdain for the Marlins because of this series, though I’m mostly indifferent to them. Florida baseball is for spring.
In ’98, I rooted for the Padres. I was born in San Diego and have always had a soft spot in my heart for San Diego sports teams. I saw my first Reds game at age 1 at Jack Murphy Stadium. I wore a Reds cap then, but I wore a Padres cap twenty years later for the World Series. Of course, the Padres lost.
1999 was a very disappointing year. The Reds' collapse at the end was the third most disappointing baseball occurrence in my life – the first being the strike and the second being the 1995 NLCS. Then the Braves and the Yankees had to go and play yet another series together. By this point, I hated them both, and I don’t even think I watched every game. I certainly don’t remember anything about this series.
In ’00, I rooted for the Mets. I know, I know, I should have hated them for that one game playoff in 1999, but I didn’t. I like the Mets. Someday when I live in New York City, I will be a Mets fan. (Never above the Reds, of course.) At the time, I thought a Subway Series was cool, but that was before I became bitter towards the large markets. I’d rather never see that again. The Mets in the series, fine. The Yankees in the series, may this abomination never happen again. Of course, the Mets lost.
In ’01, I rooted for the Yankees because I felt the city of New York deserved a World Series win. That was certainly an emotional, memorable series and one that won’t be easily forgotten, though it wasn’t really for what happened on the field. Of course, the Yankees lost. Why do the Diamondbacks hate America?
In ’02, I rooted desperately for the Giants. Living in Monterey for two seasons, I had become a big Giants fan and a Bonds fan. That was the one series I actually got to attend – Game 4, a 19-4 rout over Anaheim. My passion for the Giants was getting close to Reds levels. Of course, the Giants lost.
In ’03, I had been desperately rooting for a Red Sox-Cubs series. The Marlins again? They exist for a mere decade and already have two World Series Championships? Still, I leaned towards the Marlins, if only because I was sick of the Yankees, plus I liked Alex Gonzalez. Yeah, the Reds one. So he got his ring. I'm also a big Pudge and Dontrelle fan.
In ’04, I rooted for the Red Sox. You know, reverse the curse and all. The anti-Yankees. Plus there was that whole hatred for the Deadbirds opponent.
In ’05, I rooted for the White Sox, only because I hate the Asstros. I couldn’t have cared less about Chicago AL.
In ’06, I rooted for the Tigers, one, because I’ve sort of been a Tigers fan since I was a kid, and two, because the most evil team of all was playing them. Of course, the Tigers lost.
In ’07, I rooted for the Rockies, because the Red Sox already had a recent one and their new “fans” were obnoxious. I was really disappointed that the Indians collapsed in the ALCS. Of course, the Rockies lost.
In ’08, I had no preference, because I liked both teams. I only wanted to see seven games to prolong the baseball season as long as possible.
So that’s 20 World Series, 18 in which I had picked a team to root for. I’ve rooted for the winner 5 times for a 28% success rate. I must be a curse. Maybe I’m to blame for the Reds’ eight consecutive losing seasons. Of course, I had nothing to do with Jimmy Haynes or Eric Milton or Joe Mays or Dave Williams or Mike Stanton or Royce Clayton or Gary Majewski or Ryan Franklin or Juan Castro or Corey Patterson or Willy Taveras or any of the myriads of others I may have blocked from my sad little mind.