Sunday, October 28, 2012

Advice for the Grieving Dodger Fan

There’s no way around it, Dodger fans, the Giants have won the World Series. It sucks, I know, but I’m here to help. 

First it’s important to realize that the pain you’re feeling now isn’t something that’s unique to Dodger fans. When faced with such a painful proposition as a rival winning a championship, most fans I come across on the internets or even that strange world called real life typically just make things worse for themselves, either by making excuses, hopelessly whining, or through some other means I’d rather not hear about. No matter the sport or fan base, it seems to be the same. Maybe it’s the built-in sadomasochistic side of us sports fans. Perhaps seeing a rival win it all simply elicits the same response I observe when I tell people I use Internet Explorer; people just lose their fucking minds. Whatever the cause, you must not let it overcome you.

Anytime a fan sees either its team lose a championship or a rival win it there is a tendency to try to rationalize things (i.e. make up excuses). No doubt we’ll see some Dodger fans engage in this, but they shouldn’t, even if some of these excuses have their merits. In the end trying to explain away a Giants title will just project more of the agony Dodgertown is feeling for the world to see. In order to avoid them let’s first try to understand them. The excuses are always pretty much the same for every fan base. I’ve come to calling them “the four stages of the grieving sports fan”, although the order in which they occur varies from fan to fan:

1. Calling it luck/a fluke – In this case, there’s probably some truth to the fact that the Giants have had their share of luck. Even the media has taken notice to this. But it’s best to avoid making much out of this. In the end, luck plays a much larger role than most fans like to acknowledge, heck the Detroit Tigers had only the 7th best record in the American League this year, but somehow that ended with them being the number three seed in the AL playoffs. So sure, the Giants had a large degree of luck this postseason, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, frankly it’s fairly common for a champion to catch a lot of breaks, how else do you think the phrase “it’s better to be lucky than good” came about?

2. Blame the Umps/Refs – This is pretty much crap for the same reason as #1; even it it’s true it’s pretty much an unavoidable fact of life, sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

3. Calling their fans “bandwagoners” – Up and down California (well, between San Luis Obispo and northern Orange County) I saw a pretty noticeable boom in the wearing of “SF” hats after the Giants won the 2010 series. I also came across a few Giants “fans” who were pretty clueless and I’m guessing had just gotten their Giant Nation membership cards. So yes, there’s some bandwagoners… and who cares? No real fans give a crap about bandwagoners and ultimately it has no bearing on the team or its championship. The only people worth pestering about this are the wagon-riders themselves and they’re already at the bottom of the totem pole in the sports world anyway.

3A. Calling their fans “gay” – This one’s pretty much exclusive to San Francisco teams, for obvious reasons. It’s also stupid, for obvious reasons. Cardinal Nation (the best fans in baseball!!!) took to twitter after the NCLS to point out the startling revelation that there’s a large homosexual population in the Bay Area (more like GAY Area LOL!!!1!) and so far I’ve seen a couple Dodger fans make the same observation. Calling someone a “bandwagon” fan can at least be perceived as an insult, using an offensive term like “fag” isn’t insulting, it’s just… retarded… no wait, that’s not right.
4. Saying they’ll never win again – You’re on the right track with this one, in that it focuses on future seasons which is pretty much what all the non-championship teams have to do anyway, but it doesn’t exactly exude the confidence the one making the claim would seem to be going for. Instead it sounds more desperate and childish.

So does a Dodger fan do? Well, nothing really, just don’t do any of that. Luckily, there will be some cases where a douchey Giants fan preemptively belittles all the “losers” he happens across for no apparent reason. In my book anyone sad enough to do this has opened himself up to criticism and it might be worthwhile to try and get under their skin just for the entertainment value.

I might be in the minority on this but for the life of me I’ve never understood why a fan whose team has already won all there is to win feels the need to keep trying to inflate their own ego. As a College Baseball fan, I can’t tell you how many South Carolina fans I’ve talked to constantly lament about “not getting respect”. Thank God they had that consolation prize of winning back-to-back College World Series titles or else some of them may still be on suicide watch. If you come across any Giant fans that have the gall to actually complain about this just remember this phrase which probably exists somewhere (and if it doesn’t, then I just invented it): He who requires the respect of others has no respect for himself.
Then there’s the curious case of the fan that actually feels the need to go out of their way to counter those aforementioned “stages of grief.” My response to these dullards is always the same: How fragile does your self-confidence have to be when you start defending a team that doesn’t need defending?
In the end, however, my fellow Dodger fans just need to ride this out. It might suck, but Spring Training is only four-plus away and believe it or not, things could be worse. Hell, they were worse, remember? The worst thing that could ever happen to Dodgertown was that faint chance of the Giants actually winning their first title since 1954… and then they did. Dodger fans have moved on. Nothing that ever happens again will be as bad as that. 2010 was soul-crushing, 2012 on the other hand is just kinda shitty. So stop being a bunch of wimps. We've been through News Corp, McCourt, the Giants finally winning, and James Loney. Life 'aint that bad going forward.

And if none of that isn't enough to console you just remember this: Pablo is still a lard-ass.