Padman Jones had a guest essay at FanGraphs today. In it, he discusses the Free Darko mantra of liberated fandom. I’m not sure if he entirely gets it. His piece asks the question: “Why do smart people like the Royals? They should root for a team that takes a pitch from time to time, shouldn’t they?”
Not necessarily. I’m a Boston Celtics fan, but my fanhood lay dormant for quite a few years. I’m also a UConn Huskies fan and followed college hoops more than the pro game during the interim. Oh sure, I’d occasionally have a C’s game on as background noise, but what sucked me back in was the ’06-’07 season. That was the year before Garnett and Allen showed up and Rondo was really green still. They were terrible. Somewhere in their manifesto published as a preface to their Macrophenomenal Guide, Bethelehem Shoals, Big Baby Belafonte and company said that following winners can shackle you as much as following the local team. Sometimes trainwrecks can be as compelling as champs.
In any event, I’m glad to see other people try to apply liberated fandom to baseball.