For Whom Do I Cheer?

22 October, 2008

I know that this is a blog about atheism, politics, and my personal journey.  However, I am also a sports fan.  I can’t have bread (gluten intolerance), so I’ll enjoy the circus.

Fortunately, my Red Sox lost.  Which means that I, as a masochistic fan, am satisfied.  Last year, as they won the World Series, I had trouble sleeping at night.  I lay awake, wondering just how the Red Sox would screw it up.  So now, since they are out of the race (in a good seven game ALCS), I can both sleep easily and enjoy the World Series.

Problem, though.  I’m not too wild about the Phillies (nothing personal, I just have a history of not cheering for Philadelphia teams).  And the Tampa Bay Rays are cowards (well, their owner is a coward).  So for whom do I cheer?

Do I go against years of parental programming and cheer for the Phillies?  After all, Philadelphia is the home of the Broad Street Bullies, the good old Piladelphia Plyers (my (((Dad’s))) patented pronunciation), a team which brought goonery to new levels.  It is also the home of the Eagles — a team which once played Buddy-Ball complete with a head coach who put out bounties on other team’s players.  The 76ers?  Who cares?  The Phillies?  I live in an area in which the dominant teams are the Yankees and the Phillies, so, while I don’t actively dislike them, I get tired of hearing about them.

Or do I swallow my pride and cheer for the team owned by an out and out coward?  I call Stuart Sternberg a coward because he knuckled under to the most reactionary, anti-free-speech, and loathsome segment of the American right:  the Christians. 

Christians (and I speak of the right-wing evangelical and Catholic groups) are terrified of hell.  They are terrified that, if they believe the wrong thing about the right thing, or even the right thing in the wrong way, they will end up in hell for an eternal punishment courtesy of their loving God.  Learning new things opens them to the possibility of ‘wrong thinking.’  Even saying certain magic words (Satan, devil, Clinton, social justice) risks trading eternal salvation for eternal damnation. 

At the inception of the Tampa Bay baseball team in 1998, the Christian groups of North Florida began a heated, and ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to make the name of the team anything but ‘Devil Rays.’  Under the new owner, though, he knuckled under.  He changed the name, in early November, to just plain Rays.  Coward.

So, do I break with tradition, cheer for a National League team (I will cheer for an NL team if they are playing the Yankees), and say, “Go Phillies?”  Or do I cheer for the American League team, and cheer for the right wing Christianist enabler?

Or do I just have a scotch (Chivas Regal, tidy) and not cheer for either team, but still enjoy the game?

Screw it.  Go Phillies!



  1. I’m not rooting for either team. I’m an A’s fan and once our season was over (about July or so) well, the only other team to root for was whoever was playing the Giants.

  2. I had no idea that was why they changed their name. Damn you, now you’ve made me care about seeing the Phillies win, and I don’t even like baseball.

    You could always drink enough of that Chivas to blur your vision and pretend the Phillies are the Red Sox. They both wear red.

  3. I just saw this. It seems your Red Sox are a hit with the clergy. That article also has a link to something else I had no idea about, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Gag. Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of baseball where drinking and whoring got you success? Sad

  4. Joe: Welcome to my blog. A’s? Yet another Philly team. Yeach! Although I do like the team colours.

    Philly: I don’t think that the Christian Right push was the only reason. The new owner is also a true believer.

    As for the Chivas? I’d have to get seriously drunk to metamorphose Phllies into Sox (or would that be transubstantiation?).

    For your add-on: Thanks for the link I’m not great at internet research (I prefer books) and had searched for almost 20 minutes for a link like that. Oh, well.

    I’ve had a few sightings of the FCA — mostly children. I had no idea that the Sox were courting the clergy (though it doesn’t surprise me — sports and religion have a long history (does feeding Christians to the Lions count as a sport?)). Even in the drinking and whoring days, there were evangelical born-again athletes who saw the diamond as a metaphor for a Godly life.

  5. Oh, hell, just have some (((Scotch))) and root for the Mets. It’s not a real (((World))) Series anyway.

  6. Gawd must have had a hell of time choosing between the Sox and the Rays. Now he can sit back and cheer for the Rays, unless the Phillies have some divine connection we don’t know about yet.

  7. Ric: You do realize, of course, that there is more to life than alcohol? There is also books.

    Chappie: Not to worry. I’m sure that just about every sports franchise courts the theists. After all, sports is a business. Theists are a majority. Therefore, not courting the theists would be a major faux pas, not a good business decision. Catering to fantasy sells.

  8. I love baseball, so I just take in the games and hope they don’t suck.

    Even if I start the game/series not rooting for anybody, I find myself cheering somebody on before it’s over.

    Series tied. Gotta love it.

  9. () –

    “There is also books.”

    And I see they’ve taught you a lot. 🙂

  10. Ric: Okay, smart guy: should it be “There are also books?” Either way sounds kludgy and I don’t rememer enough of my high school English to get it right. Notice the title of the piece, though: I did not end the sentence with a preposition.

  11. ()-

    I think the ‘also’ has altered your perceptions (aren’t you glad Morrison’s group didn’t call themselves The Alsos?)

    ‘There are books on the floor.’

    ‘There is books on the floor.’

    Better pick up those books before (((Wife))) sees the mess you made.

  12. Ric: I stand in awe of the decades (not quite centuries) of grammatical experience. Thanks.

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