This one has been knocking around in my head for a week or so, but I didn’t write it because no one cares about my sports posts. It’s still there, so it will be written. I thought today was a good day since no one really reads weekend posts either.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a fan of the Atlanta Braves since I was a kid. When I was a kid they were one of the worst teams in baseball. When I was in college they became one of the best teams in baseball and made the playoffs every year for a while. With success came the bandwagon fans. The people who only cheer for a team when they are good. Recently, the Braves had gone through the rebuilding process. They traded away veteran players and their contracts for prospects. The plan was to rebuild with young players coming up from their farm system. This season the team was supposed to still be one year away from being competitive. Instead, in late August, they are in first place with a three game lead. You would think all of the fans would be happy. You would think wrong. Since I live in the DC area, I don’t get to watch most of the games(I miss TBS showing all of the games) so I look at scores on my phone and if I want more detail I look at Twitter. Twitter is where you find the dumb fans. The fans who probably started being fans when the Braves started winning. The following are some dumb things the dumb fans say:
The Braves should fire their manager – the team is in first place a year before they were supposed to be good. Everything I read says that the manager is well liked and respected by the team. Twitter fans want to fire him because they don’t like the way he handles the bullpen and sometimes they disagree with the batting order. They should ask the Nationals how firing a manager who was liked and respected worked out for them.
The Braves should have traded away most of the prospects in the minors to get a veteran and win now – This season is a bonus. The team was not supposed to be in first place. Many of the better prospects are still a year away from the majors. As good as the team is now, they could be better next year if these players are as good as advertised. These will be players under contract for several years. You want to throw that away for a rent a player to guarantee a playoff spot for one year? Dumb.
Most of the pitchers on the team suck – The team is in first place. I doubt they would be there if the pitching staff was as bad as the Twitter fans think. Pitchers have bad games. Pitchers have mediocre games. Most pitchers are not going to shut out the other team every time out. Demanding they cut a pitcher when he has a bad game is really dumb. Who do you think will replace him?
I’m sure there are more. It must be miserable to be this sort of fan. Your team is in first place. Your team has some exciting young players with more to come next year. Your team is fun to watch. All of this in a year when the experts said they shouldn’t be competitive. Why can’t you just relax and enjoy this?
Last night during the MLB All Star game, someone found some old tweets from Brewers pitcher Josh Hader. These tweets included the n-word, white power and a statement that he hated gay people. Terrible stuff. They were tweeted 7 years ago when Hader was a 17-year-old high school kid here in Maryland. There are a lot of thoughts out there on this, so I thought I would add mine to the mix.
It doesn’t surprise me that a 17-year-old kid from this area would tweet some terrible stuff like this. I’ve seen posts like this from 17 year old kids in this area. I’ve seen recent tweets from 17 year old kids in this area that are hateful. Being from a diverse area does not automatically make you more accepting of others.
17 years old is way old enough to know that this is wrong. You can’t excuse hate because the hater is 17. Being young is not an excuse for hate. You can probably blame being dumb enough to post it publicly on being young.
This was 7 years ago, Hader was 17 at the time. He is now 24. I don’t know Hader. It’s possible that he is still the same asshole he was at 17, but at least one teammate, Lorenzo Cain, has said that the Hader he knows is not this person. That he is a kind-hearted person and a great teammate. He also says “At the end of the day you’ve got to give people a second chance…you’ve got to forgive people.” I agree with Cain. We’ve got to get better at forgiveness. We have become a society that doesn’t believe in second chances. We want to bury people for past mistakes and never give them a second chance. Yet, I’m sure we want forgiveness when we mess up. Also, how Cain feels means more than what random twitter users and bloggers think as he is someone who knows and works with Hader now.
I know that I was a completely different person at 24 than I was at 17. I would bet that I said and did some terrible things when I was 17. I probably said and did terrbile things when I was 18 and 19. I matured a lot from 19-24. I’m glad here were no old records of terrbile 17-year-old me that could be held against 24-year-old me. People grow. People evolve. Stop demanding people continue to pay for past mistakes. If we can’t move on, we might as well all give up now.
I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:
College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.
MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.
NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)
NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted by our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.
NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.
Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.