Pick your team (as long as its not the Yankees)
August 20, 2008 6:04 PM   Subscribe

For those of you in areas that have multiple teams in the your area, like New York has the Giants and Jets, Chicago has the Cubs and White Sox, and Los Angeles has the Lakers and the Clippers, how did you choose which team to be a fan of?
posted by toaster to Grab Bag (62 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The one that was less popular and gets the least amount of love (ie, I'm a Clippers fan, not a Lakers fan). It's annoying when the Clippers are doing well and the Lakers aren't, because suddenly Clippers tickets prices fly through the roof.
posted by muddgirl at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2008

I chose the Lakers. Everyone chooses the Lakers, unless they are going out of their way to appear different or ironic.

Most of these divisions are geographical, like the Cubs/White Sox is North side/South side, but the Lakers and Clippers play in the exact same building. The Dodgers are L.A.'s team though, while the Angels play in and belong to Orange County.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2008

A lot of people have a favorite team because of the region of the city they grew up in/live in. If you're new to a city with multiple teams and are looking to pick one, you might want to find out which one your friends like. That way, you'll have people to invite to games with you.

More superficially, a lot of people pick the team with the best record/best chances of wining more games. See: drop off of 49ers fans in the Bay area over the past 15 years.
posted by nerdcore at 6:09 PM on August 20, 2008

Indoctrination. The teams had already been chosen by older members of my family by the time I came around.
posted by Flunkie at 6:20 PM on August 20, 2008

Your dad decides for you as soon as you're old enough to take to a game.
posted by nicwolff at 6:20 PM on August 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

Growing up in the far suburbs of Chicago, the Cubs were on channel 9 (good reception) and the White Sox were on channel 32 (and then 44) (both crappy reception). And therein is the genesis of a lifetime of suffering.

Also, my parents had originally been from a national league market and were more familiar with the National League teams.
posted by nightwood at 6:24 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's different everywhere. In terms of Giants/Jets, the only one with which I'm somewhat familiar, the two fan bases have a somewhat different... atmosphere, as evidenced by the behavior commonly occurring at Jets games.
posted by selfnoise at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2008

You do not pick your team. Your team picks you.
In places where affiliation actually matters, 'preference' would be an insulting way of putting it.
One does not choose to support, say, Boca Juniors over Rio, or Real Madrid over Atletico, or Lazio over FC Roma, or Everton over Liverpool, or Inter over AC, or Man Utd over City, etcetera. You've got to know the history and the politics and the ethnic background of your sport, and then, when the time is right, you just know.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2008

Yep, from NY area (NJ) had to make a choice on everything - so went with my dads teams (Yankees, Jets, Rangers, and Knicks if you're interested)
posted by jourman2 at 6:27 PM on August 20, 2008

I'm a Mets fan because Yankees fans are jerks.
posted by youcancallmeal at 6:30 PM on August 20, 2008 [3 favorites]

Your dad decides for you as soon as you're old enough to take to a game.

This is the answer. The story in my family is that when I was born, one of my father's co-workers gave him a Yankees onesie, which he looked at and said, "What am I supposed to do with this?"

I'm a Mets fan because Yankees fans are jerks.

youcancallmeal speaks truth as well :)
posted by hobgadling at 6:31 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think family allegiances have a lot to do with it, but not always in the way you think.

My hometown didn't have a MLB team until I was an adult, but we went to a lot of spring training games and went to games wherever we happened to go on summer vacation. So I gravitated toward teams I'd seen play and later would follow favorite players as they moved between teams, but I never took on my dad's favorite team as my one and only, because they were American League and I had a hard time throwing the full power of my fanhood behind the designated hitter rule.

For what it's worth, when I moved to the Bay Area, I consciously chose not to choose a favorite. I follow, root for, and am frequently disappointed by, both the A's and the Giants. And these days I'm more frustrated by PED than the DH.
posted by padraigin at 6:37 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I chose the Lakers. Everyone chooses the Lakers, unless they are going out of their way to appear different or ironic.

Or, they're broke and Clippers tickets are 60 bucks for seats near the floor. Maybe I don't understand the mentality which switches teams based on the scoreboard.
posted by muddgirl at 6:39 PM on August 20, 2008

Yankees / Mets: Yankees, since I was on the 4/6 line which went to Yankee Stadium rather than the 7 that went to Shea.
posted by true at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2008

Where you live. The White Sox are on the south side of Chicago. The Cubs on the North. (Also, college students can afford to go to Sox games.)
posted by phunniemee at 6:48 PM on August 20, 2008

When I lived in Chicago, I chose to be a White Sox fan largely because I found Cubs fans unbearable (*ducks*) and because I had a crush on Robin Ventura. The correctness of my selection was strongly reaffirmed within a few years by my (now former) husband, who grew up in the south suburbs and is a White Sox fanatic.
posted by scody at 6:53 PM on August 20, 2008

I'm a casual (NY) sports fan, and I chose the Mets and the Jets. Because that's who my dad likes. And navy blue is a boring color. C'mon - green! Blue...and ORANGE? Awesome. Also, he would bring us to Shea at least a few times a summer. I don't have any childhood memories hanging over the back edge of the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. (My dad LOVED that we loved the cheap seats. He'd go up to the window and ask for upper deck, last row. Ha!)

For a while, I liked the Yankees, but that's because my dad didn't. This was in my early teens, so that's to be expected. But I'm back now. Mostly because Yankees fans hate people who aren't Yankees fans, and that's really silly. It's just baseball.

Also, I was talking to a friend, and we decided that while the Yankees are the arrogant rock stars of the baseball world (in NY, anyway), the Mets are the guys that you'd want to go have a beer and play darts with at the local bar. My friend is from Chicago, and she felt the same way about the Cubs/White Sox.

Man, I'm such a wierdo.
posted by AlisonM at 6:54 PM on August 20, 2008

I grew up a National League gal (rooting for the Reds), but now that I'm living in Chicago, I kind of have to be a Sox fan, both because of geography and the fact that Cubs fans (at least the ones I've encountered on the El) are total tools-- artificially blond/e and fake-tanned, using baseball as nothing more than an excuse to get drunk at noon.
posted by coppermoss at 6:55 PM on August 20, 2008

while the Yankees are the arrogant rock stars of the baseball world (in NY, anyway), the Mets are the guys that you'd want to go have a beer and play darts with at the local bar.

Heh. My brother-in-law says that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. imperialism.
posted by scody at 6:56 PM on August 20, 2008

It can happen any number of ways most of which have been mentioned. Usually it's probably some sort of peer pressure related to family, geographic, or other ties. If you live in South Chicago, you're probably a Sox fan because they're from there, so the people you know like them. But if you live on the southside but your Dad or Mom grew up on the northside, then maybe you like the cubs because parents have the earliest chances to establish team allegiance for their kids (note: I don't live in Chicago. I'm just using it as an example that's well known, and I think the examples are realistic).

In my case, I lived in Kansas City, Missouri. If you live there, you know that means picking between KU and Mizzou, particularly (until Mizzou men's basketball went south due to scandal) in basketball. My Dad went to KU, so he was always pulling for them. However, before KC, we lived in Minneapolis, so my reaction was sort of... who cares? It may have almost backfired on him, but luckily, one of my earliest friends when we moved to KC was a big KU basketball fan. He told me about their rich history, current success, etc. That cemented me as a KU fan. On almost all other issues Kansas v. Missouri, I side with Missouri. But I just like KU basketball. They spend too much money on it, all their other sports suck, but heck, I just like them, and nowadays they're definitely more fun to follow than Mizzou.

To give another example though, somewhat different, but related, to ones in which someone can choose between two teams from their area, I have split most of my time between Kansas City and Minneapolis, as you can tell. Both have NFL and MLB teams. In both cases, I have friends rooting for either one in their respective cities. I have friends that are pretty strong Royals (baseball) fans, in fact. I respect the team. They do okay for being in a small market. They've had some good years, and generally done well considering their payroll a fraction the size of NY, Chicago, or Boston (who I refuse to like, despite their being the supposed antithesis to the Yankees. They're just the Yankees with a bit less money.) Anyhow, I like the Twins a lot more though. I'm not a huge baseball fan, really, and don't go to many games (especially in a dome, which is one major weak point for them versus the Royals, who have a beautiful stadium). But if I have to pick a team, it's the twins, hands down. They use what resources they have to great effect. They have excellent player development and use it to great advantage. They maintain a strong pitching roster, and focus on great team cohesion. They are by no means on par with the yankees, or even the Cardinals who are another team from a similar sized market with great success, but they are competitive every year in their division, and it's fun to root for them, because there's no expectation that they'll make it to the league finals every year. It's always exciting. So I like them over the Royals without a doubt (they play in the same division). And the fans here recognize that. They are truly loyal and great, even if it's hard to build a fan base playing in one of the worst venues in MLB. But for me it's mostly the fact that they work hard for success, and do it better than most.

As far as football, it's more of a peer pressure or community thing. I've been to Chiefs and Vikings games. The vikings atmosphere is definitely formidable. It obviously helps that they play in a dome. And the vikings have had some success. But the game atmosphere and culture surrounding the team is nothing like in KC. Games there are second to none. And they're always a big topic. Probably because it's smaller than Minneapolis, and there's not as much to talk about, but still. The Chiefs are a big deal. Less so when they're no good, sure, but Chiefs fans are pretty loyal. And that's why I like the Chiefs better.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 7:03 PM on August 20, 2008

It depends on the players and/or their fans.

Fans: Mets fans are whiny and they are obsessed with the Yankees. They have a sense of entitlement because they think the Yankees are "evil" and they are "good". So I root for the Yankees solely out of spite.

Players: I prefer AC Milan over Inter because of Maldini, Pirlo, Nesta and Gattuso.
posted by Zambrano at 7:09 PM on August 20, 2008

Here in the bay area, the A's used to have $1 wednesdays, I think it's $2 wednesday now though.
They earned by fandom by being cheap and accessible and close to BART
posted by bottlebrushtree at 7:12 PM on August 20, 2008

I live in New York I root for the Mets and liked the Giants....I think is the pretty colors
posted by The1andonly at 7:15 PM on August 20, 2008

I'm a White Sox fan even though I live on the North side of Chicago, Cubs "territory."



Yeah, that's the real reason. Sorry.
posted by Windigo at 7:23 PM on August 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

I come from an orthodox Giants household.

My father and my grandfather used to go watch the Giants play at the Polo Grounds, and I've been going to games ever since they moved in to the Meadowlands. My father was laid to rest in a jersey, and would have liked that.

As a bookworm and computer geek, I had very little in common with my father. The Giants were one of the few things we could bond over. My dad's been for a few years now, but I still get to as many home games as I can. I'm not a very spiritual kind of guy, and I don't often get down to Florida where he's buried, but I get to talk to him every other Sunday during Football season.

I lost count around the time he passed away, but I've been to over 120 games now.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:26 PM on August 20, 2008

Oh, and baseball lost me years ago, so Mets or Yankees? Who cares?

To selfnoise's point: I usually take the bus from the Port Authority to the Giants games. On occasion I'll get the front row, and I've had a few drivers tell me they definitely prefer doing the route on Giants home game days over Jets home game days. As one driver told me, "you're a lot less likely to get hit with a beer can".
posted by JaredSeth at 7:27 PM on August 20, 2008

When I was little, I was sitting on the couch in the living room while my dad did some home improvement project, the TV was on, and the guy on the news bumper said "Yankees and Mets highlights next..."

I was four years old, and dimly aware that the Yankees and Mets were baseball teams. So I asked "Hey dad, which team do we like?"

"Which team do you think we like?"

"I think we like the Yankees."

"Funny you should ask me that. You're right! And it just so happens I have tickets to see the Yankees at Yankee Stadium!"

And so, later that season, my dad took me to Yankee Stadium, a day which I will never forget. I got to see the Yanks play the Oakland A's (we won, 6-2). Reggie, and Thurman Munson and Ron Guidry and Goose Gossage. Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent, Graig Nettles. Awesome. The field was so huge and so green, and the Bronx Zoo crowd and the hot dogs and singing Take Me Out to The Ballgame...it was great. I was instantly hooked on Yankees baseball and I've been a diehard ever since.

I grew up playing ball and knew every player's batting stance and every pitcher's windup. I did a spot on Phil Rizzuto impersonation. I collected baseball cards and played stat-o-matic and went to as many games as I could, and waited for Yankees players outside the home locker room (next to the VIP parking lot) to get autographs.

See, lots of haters despise the Yankees and their fans. I say fuck those haters, for two personal reasons.

One...I didn't pick the payroll or the history or the rings or Steinbrenner, I didn't know about Monument Park, I picked at random.

And two, the Yankees won when I was age four/five, they lost a couple of playoffs and Series in the next years, and didn't get into the playoffs again until I was in my twenties. Most of my life, the Yankees weren't a dynasty, they were an also ran. Those autographs I obtained while waiting for the players to go out to their cars? They weren't future hall of famers with extravagant contracts....they were guys like Rafael Santana and Don Slaught.

Not only did I see Mattingly's whole career without him ever seeing postseason action until his very last year...I suffered through a lot of shit. Shit you haters don't remember. Ed Whitson sucking like few have ever sucked. Steve Howe blowing saves. Andre Robertson's car crash and all that lost potential. Dave Winfield almost getting imprisoned for killing a seagull. Don Baylor getting hit by a lot of pitches. Billy Martin dying at Christmas.

So yeah, I'm a Yankees fan, and no apologies. Anyone who thinks that makes me a dick...well it says more about you than me.

Years later, sitting at the bar with my dad, I asked him if he remembered my question...he chuckled and said "yeah, I remember that."

"What would have happened if I had guessed that we liked the Mets?"

"I would have bought Mets tickets. I liked the Mets more anyway."
posted by edverb at 7:29 PM on August 20, 2008 [15 favorites]

Your dad decides for you as soon as you're old enough to take to a game.

Or your mom, which is why I still bleed purple and gold today. (That's Lakers, for the unblessed.)
posted by tyrantkitty at 7:29 PM on August 20, 2008

I grew up in Arlington, TX, which has never had a professional baseball team. But as a young adult I lived in NYC. from what I observed, it seems that yankees fans and Mets fans don't really choose their team. It's like religion. Your parents and your environment decide for you and most people don't think to change.
posted by mds35 at 7:38 PM on August 20, 2008

I don't give a flying fuck about sports, but this native Angelena who deeply loves Boston made a point of buying the green t-shirt with both the MA town sign dated the year Fenway park was founded and the line from the (LA band) Standells' "Dirty Water" which she found in a tchotchke shop in Northampton.

Enh, the Dodgers and Lakers are transplants. ;-P
posted by brujita at 7:41 PM on August 20, 2008

I live in New York now, where I root for the Mets, because I was born in Boston and grew up in New England and am still a Red Sox fan. You can root for the Red Sox and the Mets, but not the Red Sox and the Yankees.

Football, I like the Patriots (geographic roots) and the Giants, because of former owner Wellington Mara:
In a rare response to a sportswriter, frustrated with poor performance from the also-ran Giants of the 1970s, asking, "What can you expect from an Irishman named Wellington, whose father was a bookmaker?" Mara later said:
"I'll tell you what you can expect—you can expect anything he says or writes may be repeated aloud in your own home in front of your own children. You can believe that he was taught to love and respect all mankind, but to fear no man. And you could believe that his abiding ambitions were to pass onto his family the true richness of the inheritance he received from his father, the bookmaker: the knowledge and love and fear of God and second to give you (our fans and our coach) a Super Bowl winner."
posted by Jahaza at 7:49 PM on August 20, 2008

Totally about which teams your parents support. My dad took me to Jets and Rangers games as a little kid, but couldn't care less about baseball. Today, I watch hockey and football and have no understanding at all of what the big deal is about baseball.
posted by blueskiesinside at 7:54 PM on August 20, 2008

I grew up in the Bronx, but never really followed sports until I was about 13 years old. The Mets were playing the Dodgers, with the Mets being the favorites in the series. Then Orel mowed down the Mets in that series and broke my heart.

I've been following the Mets ever since. The Yankees are okay in my book, but I follow the Mets first and foremost.
posted by EastCoastBias at 8:14 PM on August 20, 2008

I decided to be a Mets fan sometime in middle school because this kid who lived around the corner from me was a hardcore Yankees fan (this was in suburban NY) and I wanted to annoy him. Not a particularly good reason, I know. I became more of a fan in 1986 when they won the World Series (which I realize is probably also kind of lame, but oh well).
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:15 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

As a young kid I lived on the northwest side of Chicago. Wrigley was around the corner, so no real difficulties there *subtracts 44 year old body from 100 years of hurt - yep, it just could happen this ye....... what, did I just think that out loud????

Maturing in Ireland though, Liverpool FC was a pretty obvious choice. Liverpool is one of the many unofficial capital cities of the Irish diaspora. The Catholic Cathedral there is a strange conical shaped sort of a place. The local scousers have dubbed it "Paddy's Wigwam".

That, and the Cathedral that is Anfield, will do for me.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 8:36 PM on August 20, 2008

I think a little bit has to do with your family and little with location. I was a Ranger fan as opposed to an Islander fan because my Dad was a Ranger fan. Knicks over Nets too. If you lived on Long Island, you were likely a Mets and Jets fan. I somehow became a fan of the junior league so I was inclined to watch the Yankees. I also liked the tradition of the Giants so I rooted for them over the upstart Jets and Joe Namath.

Interestingly, when I moved to Chicago, I was predisposed to liking the Pale Hose south siders because they were an AL team, but living in Lincoln Park and being able to walk to Wrigley made rooting for the Cubbies a lot easier. Bill Veeck made it easy to root for the White Sox with his love for the game and his crazy promotions so I think that the team culture also has some influence over what team you root for. I have no reason why, but the only Chicago team whose allegiance I prefered over the NY counterpart was the Blackhawks over the Rangers. Something about the fans at Hawks game and being able to hate the Wirtz family at the same time as rooting for the Hawks seemed ok. My first Blackhawk game, sitting near the rafters at the Stadium with a drunk south sider repeatedly screaming, "What do ya have glue in gloves? Take em off and hit him!" just got to me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:44 PM on August 20, 2008

I grew up in Arlington, TX, which has never had a professional baseball team.

Either you don't regard the Rangers to have ever been good enough to be considered "professional," or you meant another Arlington, or I'm missing something entirely here, since they've played there since '72.

It's an interesting question though, because most same-sport/same-city teams at least play in different parts of town... except for the Lakers and Clippers. So yeah, pretty much the only reason you'd decide to become a Clipper fan would because of more idiosyncratic reasons.

My story is that I'd never been into sports until my family moved to Anaheim... halfway into the Dodgers' '88 series run. Even then, I'd never really gotten into the game until around the time the regular season ended (I was ten and was unfortunately in bed when Gibson hit his WS game 1 homer, thank you).

Over the course of the next few years, my dad and I went to both Dodgers and Angels games, but the fact of the matter was, the Dodgers always had better players (Bulldog!), a better stadium, better announcers, a richer history, and, well, nice blue uniforms. But back then, there wasn't much of a regional rivalry, if at all, so in some circles it was perfectly fine to root for both teams. In Orange County at least.

After becoming less interested in baseball in the late '90s, I started following the Angels more closely because they had some good young players, and they'd hired one of my favorite players ever (as a Dodger) to be their manager. Even with the advent of interleague play, I'm far from rooting against the Dodgers, though I don't really root for them anymore.

I'd also been an avid Lakers fan from '88 on (not much choice there) until around the time before they got Shaq. And I'd become a Kings fan until Anaheim got their own hockey team, which I've since become a die-hard fan of. And I'd probably hate the Kings more if I'd still lived in Orange County and were able to attend games.

As for football, the Raiders and Rams were never much good while I lived there, which may be one reason I remain a non-football fan. Which I'm glad for anyway, since all this year-round pro/college football fanaticism is kind of... annoying.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:10 PM on August 20, 2008

Yankees*, because both my parents' families (along with my wife's) are Yankee families, and have been since the 1930's.

The Giants...hmm, that's odd, my Dad prefers the Jets, but I find the less hardcore football fan in the tri-state area (of which I'm one) can theoretically root for both, except in those extremely rare instances both are halfway decent at the same time. I think I gravitated toward the Giants in the mid-eighties as a response to Mark Gastineau's hair.

The Devils, because the franchise moved to Jersey at a time I was just getting into hockey, and rooting for the underdog seemed to get under the skin of all my Flyer and Ranger-rooting classmates. And all those nights of futility sitting in a half-empty arena built on a toxic swamp were made particularly sweet with 3 of Lord Stanley's Cups in 7 years.

Arsenal, because just around the time some friends were introducing me to the joys of the EPL, I was in London visiting a friend and her co-worker (who I eventually got to know very well) turned out to be huge Gooner. That and being mesmerized by Thierry Henry's footwork sealed the deal.

I've lived in Boston going on 15yrs, and while I'll never pass up a chance to see a game at Fenway, I continue to despise the Red Sox, the Pats, and the Bruins on general principle. Oddly enough, last season was enough to make me like the Celtics, but honestly, how easy is it NOT to root for the Knicks these days?

*I'll also point out that this thread reveals the truism that the rudest sports fans and comments in any discussion of team loyalty are inevitably those attacking "loudmouth" and "arrogant" Yankee fans - honestly people, look in the mirror and try to work through some of that anger and bitterness - it's unbecoming.
posted by jalexei at 9:23 PM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's the way I was raised. Mom was from a rural place with no teams of any sort and moved to Chicago's North side when she was 17. I'm not sure Dad knew what a baseball was. I know of many people who follow the Cubs because WGN is picked up all over the country so they're on a lot.
posted by Bunglegirl at 9:23 PM on August 20, 2008

For me, my new allegiances are based mostly on my old ones. The Lakers and the Pistons have a longstanding rivalry (though the Lakers acknowledge it less), so I root against them in favor of the Clippers. The Angels are in the same league as the Tigers, so I know them, but have trouble rooting for them, unlike the Dodgers, whose success never really impacts the Tigers.

And my father was White Sox fan because he lived on the North side and hated Cubs fans (and he had some elaborate love for the Giants—baseball—that I never understood).
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 PM on August 20, 2008

My mom was north side, my dad was south side. Uh, but neither of them liked sports. So I chose Cubs because I grew up in a part of Wisconsin where WGN was on cable and (faintly) tunable on broadcast.

It's my impression that the geographic lines have firmed up since then. Nowadays it seems you're supposed to be a Packers/Brewers/Bucks fan at the stateline and up. That really didn't seem the case to me growing up, but again, I didn't grow up in a sports family. I know that when I was in elementary school there were many arguments about favorite teams, but at a national level (e.g. Dallas Cowboys were on a roll in those days). Maybe if I grew up in Chicago or Milwaukee proper it would have been different, but I felt like I could just choose a team that had a player I liked or a public image I liked.

The Cubs are very much identified with the "lovable loser" image, and I like that, so it wasn't hard to stick with it.


Oh my yes. Were you there when it was still the old wooden platform stop, though? Think of a narrow plank supporting an amorphous (drunken) blob. I was always amazed that Cubs fans weren't regularly hurled onto the third rail just from sheer hubbub.
posted by dhartung at 10:18 PM on August 20, 2008

I root for the Angels because geographically they are far closer to me than the Dodgers (plus, having grown up in the San Francisco area as a Giants fan I don't think I could ever bring myself to root for the Dodgers regardless).

I root for the Lakers because they generally don't suck, which can't be said about the team they share the Staples Center with.
posted by The Gooch at 10:22 PM on August 20, 2008

I moved interstate (in Australia) from Sydney in New South Wales to my wife's hometown Perth in Western Australia.

They have two AFL (Australian Football League) in Perth; the West Coast Eagles and the Freemantle Dockers.

To avoid divorce and or forceable ejection from family gatherings I chose the Eagles. Besides, the other team are bunch of wankers. :-)

Oh, and to complicate matters, I'm Irish and Australia and Ireland play a unique hybrid of Aussie Rules and Gaelic football every few years. The next test is in a few weeks and I shall be sitting in my Father-in-Law's corporate box surrounded by rabid Aussie supporters whilst I'm barracking (ie, supporting) the Irish sides.

Should be fun!
posted by Mephisto at 11:11 PM on August 20, 2008

I got my Mets fandom from my Dad, and I consider it a genetically inherited disease.

However, he got it in a more interesting way. He got his fandom from his parents too, but this was for the NY Giants baseball team. They became Mets fans because, when the Giants and Dodgers left town, their former fans had no interest in rooting for the Yankees. In fact, the year after both teams left, attendance at Yankee Stadium actually DECLINED!

Thus, when the Mets came into existence, they inherited the old Dodger and Giant fans.

Now, my father's father became a Giants fan even though he lived in the Bronx (Yankee country) simply because his older sister's boyfriend was a Giants fan and took him to the Polo grounds first, which is why we're Mets fans to this day instead of Yankees fans and will therefore not burn for all eternity in Hell.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:24 PM on August 20, 2008

Fascinating. I am not a sports fan, and have always wondered how fans "choose" their teams. It just seems to be very illogical - mostly. Cheering for the team that plays in the town in which you reside makes a bit of sense -- if you really love your town/community.

For military brats - like me growing up - the idea of "geographic" fandom is very hard to understand.

Wouldn't it be way more interesting instead if, every season before a league begins play, you & your buddies dropped the names of various teams in a hat, and each drew one team, and you proceeded to cheer & root for that particular team all season?
posted by davidmsc at 11:58 PM on August 20, 2008

I root for the Angels because geographically they are far closer to me than the Dodgers (plus, having grown up in the San Francisco area as a Giants fan I don't think I could ever bring myself to root for the Dodgers regardless).

I was surprised by a poll Fox had done during the Angels-Giants series in '02. They asked Dodger fans who they were rooting for, and the Giants won, which I couldn't believe. There's a lot more reasons for Dodger fans to hate the Giants than the Angels. The only thing I could think of was that Dodger fans would personally know more Angel fans, and thus risked being tormented by them if they won.

Thus, when the Mets came into existence, they inherited the old Dodger and Giant fans.

It may not be a commonly known fact, but that explains why the Mets wear royal blue and orange... to represent both of the New York teams they were essentially replacing. I thought it was so cool when I'd first heard it. But then you had your share of Dodger/Giant fans who ended up rooting for the Red Sox. I think that's the case with Doris Kearns Goodwin at least. So yeah, "as long as it's not the Yankees."

Wouldn't it be way more interesting instead if, every season before a league begins play, you & your buddies dropped the names of various teams in a hat, and each drew one team, and you proceeded to cheer & root for that particular team all season?

One thing I hate about football is that sort of thing kind of happens every week... Thanks to wagering (which of course is done solely for entertainment purposes).

Great question, though, toaster. I could read this stuff all day.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:15 AM on August 21, 2008

I didn't decide to be a Raiders fan. I just watched Raider games for 20 years and one day I found myself shouting angrily and throwing wadded up paper balls at the TV. That was when I realized I was a fan.

My mild fandom of the Yankees resulted mostly from meeting Derek Jeter at Babies Hospital in New York, where he was spending time chatting with terminally ill kids and autographing baseballs for them. He was such a mensch that I figured any organization that would hire him was worthy of my support. Also the pinstripes, the history, the entertaining antics of Steinbrenner, all that stuff - but mostly Mr Jeter.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:56 AM on August 21, 2008

At school, everybody was a fan of either Aston Villa or West Bromwich Albion. It could have gone either way, but some of my friends supported the Albion, so that was it.
posted by salmacis at 3:23 AM on August 21, 2008

I grew up in baseball wasteland - Middle Tennessee had no team of their own, even our local minor-league team changed team alignment a time or three while I was growing up. Once we had serious cable, and TBS showed Braves games, my mom became a rabid Braves fan. I worked for Turner for a while, got free tickets to games several times a year, and went with it.

Then I moved to CT, right along the Yankees/Red Sox territory dividing line. Just so happens, this was early in the '04 Season, and I fell in with the Boston crowd - long standing anti-Yankee sentiment from all those years with Atlanta, and a few years of Dropkcik Murphys indoctrination helped.

I spend a decent amount of time in Brooklyn these days, and hang out in a definite Mets bar, but I can follow the Mets and Sox without too much problem. Neither likes the Yankees.

Pro football has never really interested me. I pulled for the Giants at the end this year, just 'cause they weren't supposed to make it.

Hockey, could care less. Basketball, about the same, but I remember watching great Celtics years with my dad growing up, and I'm local enough that if asked, that's my go.

College football is different, I grew up with the 'my blood runs Orange' crowd, and still get a little kick when I hear Rocky Top.

About the only other affiliation I'll claim is Glasgow Celtic
posted by pupdog at 3:36 AM on August 21, 2008

Northside: Cubs
Southside: White Sox

If you or your parents are transplants from one to the other, you may retain your allegiance to your team of origin. If you live on the north side and *choose* to support the Sox, you're just a contrarian and I have no respect for you. (Hear that miss nax?)

why doesn't MeFi know the word "contrarian?"
posted by nax at 6:04 AM on August 21, 2008

From the Bronx, so I am from a family of Yankee fans, though one of my sisters went through a Mets phase when our step-grandfather started taking her to games ...
posted by Julnyes at 7:35 AM on August 21, 2008

If you live on the north side and *choose* to support the Sox, you're just a contrarian and I have no respect for you.

Hey, not trying a contrarian! I really have nothing AGAINST the Cubs. Or people who are Cubs fans.

I just have problems with 70 billion Cubs fans all gathered in one place, smack-dab between where I am and where I want to go.
posted by Windigo at 8:42 AM on August 21, 2008

I think that both tradition, timing and geography each play a role.

My father grew up in Brooklyn while the Dodgers still, um, dodged trolleys, and so was more favorable to the Mets than the Yankees.

But also, my most formative sports-fan developing years were around 1986-87, when the Mets won the World Series and the Giants won the Superbowl. That's why I started rooting for the Giants more than the Jets.

When I started following hockey in the mid-90s, I was drawn to the Devils over the Rangers because of geography (the Devils are a NJ team), peer pressure and their perennial underdog status (after 1986, I learned more about the Mets history).
posted by andrewraff at 9:13 AM on August 21, 2008

I chose the Lakers. Everyone chooses the Lakers, unless they are going out of their way to appear different or ironic.

I choose the Clippers because I can get great tickets for a reasonable price, parking is easy to find and because Lakers fans annoy me.
posted by charlesv at 9:14 AM on August 21, 2008

Pick your team (as long as its not the Yankees)

Your post title pretty much sums it up. When I moved to NYC in '81 I automatically became a Mets fan, because fuck the Yankees, who dominated the AL in my formative years to a disgusting degree (and whose fans, like my rotten cousin, were intolerable—nothing against current fans like edverb, who suffered through the bad years, though I do wish he'd randomly answered "Mets" instead!).

To add a little family background: My dad's family are from Oklahoma/Arkansas, and back before the shakeup of baseball geography in the '50s the closest major league city was St. Louis, so they were Cardinals fans. When my dad joined the foreign service he became a Senators fan because Washington was our home base between stints abroad, and I grew up a Senators fan because he was (my first game was at old Griffiths Stadium with its weird right-field notch). When the Senators decamped for Minnesota in '61 (because the owner didn't like black people, though I didn't know that at the time), we had a choice: to support the old team, now the Twins, or support the brand-new Senators. I chose the first course, because I loved the players, Bob Allison and Earl Battey and the wonderfully named Jose Valdivielso and Harmon Killebrew of the mighty parabolic homers and Pedro Ramos (pronounced PEE-dro RAY-mohs in those unenlightened days) and Camilo Pascual, and had the satisfaction of seeing them go on to the Series a few years later (and lose to the fucking Dodgers in seven games—I still have a hard time believing that they beat Koufax and Drysdale in the first two games and managed to lose the series), whereas my poor father decided to go with the shitty expansion team and suffered many more years of bad baseball and cellar finishes. In college I got into languages and politics, and I kind of lost interest in baseball during the '70s (during most of which I was in grad school and had no time for anything else), so by the time I moved to New York I was in the market for a new team.

Great question!
posted by languagehat at 10:05 AM on August 21, 2008

White sox, becasue the cubs suck.

Actually, my mom's family is south side irish, so that's how I got it. But the cubs do suck. Looking for the following World Series this year--White Sox against highly favored Cubs.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2008

If you live on the north side and *choose* to support the Sox, you're just a contrarian and I have no respect for you.

Like I said . . .
posted by Ironmouth at 10:24 AM on August 21, 2008

with me, i didnt even think about where i lived. i randomly decided to become a baseball fan about thirteen years ago and had very specific requirements. i wanted a small market, underdog team with a sense of humor and a lot of heart. So thats how I, despite living my entire life in New York, have become the most obsessive Milwaukee Brewers fan on the face of the earth. yes, i get teased a lot. no, it doesnt matter. go Brewers!
posted by silverstatue at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2008

um... my point being, sometimes its not location based but attitude based. just living in NY my whole life, i can definitely see different attitudes between mets fans and yankees fans. just like some people want a big name, big market team. some people like to root for the little guys. etc.
posted by silverstatue at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2008

Different reasons for different sports.

Despite coming from a baseball family, I didn't pay attention to the sport outside of playing it. One day a friend of mine invited me to play a game called "dice baseball." The game involved rolling a pair of dice and each possible roll corresponded to an event in the game. My friend had had his mother mimeograph a bunch of scorecards, and the players were always the real ones from whatever team one wanted to use. My friend asked me what team I wanted to play as and I said "I dunno, who's the best right now?" He told me that the Los Angeles Dodgers had the best record at that moment (This was 1976, I believe), and so I said "OK, I'll play as the Dodgers." Playing the game allowed em to become familiar with the players on the team. Slowly I started paying attention, and before long I was a full-on Dodgers fan ... living in the suburbs of Washington, DC. When the team was bought by Rupert Murdock; however, I swore to never follow the team. When the players' strike canceled the World Series in 1994, I gave up on baseball all together. Add the drug use issues, and Barry Bonds, and I couldn't muster the energy to care at all. I live in Vermont now, which is mostly evenly divided as Yankees fans and Red Sox fans. I have disliked the Yankees for decades (going back to the World Series rivalries of the mid-70s) so I secretly prefer the Red Sox.

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but lived in the DC suburbs for most of my life. I became a Steelers fan because when we visited my mother's sister every Christmas it usually lined up with the end of the NFL season, and so I spent a great deal of time watching my enthusiastic aunt jump up and down and yell at the TV when the Steelers were playing. I got caught up in that emotion and have been a fan ever since. I would wallpaper my room with Steelers Super Bowl victory newspapers that my aunt would send from the Pittsburgh papers. When the Steelers won their 5th Super Bowl in 2005, I was 40 years old, and I was so happy. I remembered that the last time they had won I had been 14.

I have never liked the NBA despite LOVING college basketball. I follow my alma mater's teams from the University of Maryland, when it comes to all college sports, but I mostly enjoy the men's basketball teams.

My favorite sport is soccer, and growing up I watched many Washington Diplomats games (The Dips for short... what a stupid nickname). I played the game all year round, and traveled the country with a club of which I was a part. Soccer was the sport I played and loved. I saw a few Soccer Bowl games, and was lucky enough to see Pele, Beckenbauer, Cryuff, Chinaglia, and a few other European stars past their prime play. But I preferred to watch "Soccer Made in Germany" on the local PBS stations when I was growing up. Now I can't be bothered with the MLS because it changes so much of the game. I follow Arsenal VERY closely. And only because I am a big fan of Nick Hornby. Hornby wrote an auto-biographical non-fiction book called "Fever Pitch" (which was eventually made into 2 movies. One quite cute, and one set in Boston and about baseball... FAIL.) The book had incredible detail that included history of the Arsenal club. So it made it very easy for me to fall in as a supporter. I now spend early Saturday mornings READING games on the Internet in the form of text updates spaced 2 minutes apart.

I like hockey, but not enough to follow it. Had I played the sport that may have changed. Like some other sports I also really only enjoy it live and think the TV takes a great deal away from the game. This goes for soccer and baseball too. That all being said, I peek at the NHL standings occasionally and am happy when the Pittsburgh Penguins win.

As for the theory that fans are influenced by their dads (or moms). My father was a Reds fan because he could pick up their games on the strong radio broadcasts that reached him in Trenton, NJ. My dad was a fan of the NFL team in Washington, DC fan, but I could never stand any of the team's owners.

Hope that helps.
posted by terrapin at 1:35 PM on August 21, 2008

TheSecretDecoderRing, even as a child I knew the difference between professional baseball and what the Rangers play.
posted by mds35 at 8:29 PM on August 24, 2008

BTW, I moved to Boston 2.5 years ago and became a Sox fan pretty quick. The fever is pretty catchy here. Everyone in town wears the same cap. That, and the fact that if you move here from NYC they will kill you unless you denounce the Yankees upon arrival. I never had a NY baseball allegiance so no biggee. Just glad to have a team to get behind for once.
posted by mds35 at 8:36 PM on August 24, 2008

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