What to do when your team isn’t local

So my little brother is heading to Arizona State for law school in the fall. I’m both happy for him and this opportunity, and a little sad that he’ll be across the country. But I’ll get used to it – the wife deals with siblings on both coasts and in between, so I can manage. But in his list of things to do, he mentions “Become an Arizona Cardinals fan”. This is where it’s clear that he needs some guidance from his older and wiser brother. I’m in a sort of similar situation. My football team is local (Well, sort of – they’d be local if the Washington Redskins actually played in Washington, but whatever), but my baseball team is not. The Orioles are far enough away that I can’t get to an evening game without leaving work early. But we have the Nationals. There are two important things about the Nationals that I think are nearly mirrored by the Cardinals. One, they’re terrible. They’ve pretty much been at the bottom of the standings since they were the Expos. And two, they have a beautiful stadium. What does this mean? Empty seats and a great place to watch the visiting team. The wife and I went to RFK before the Nats moved to watch the Nats play the Oakland A’s (As a baseball fan, I’ve of course read Moneyball, so of course I have a soft spot for the A’s. Plus they were my team in ’88 before McGwire was a cheater and when Eck and Stewart and Rickey were awesome). We saw Barry Zito before his arm fell off. A friend and I went to a game at RFK and watched Tom Glavine pitch for the Mets. Now, the Cardinals don’t really play anyone cool at home next year – they play the Redskins in Washington, they play in New England – with one exception. On October 12th, the Dallas Cowboys come to Tempe. This is a perfect opportunity. By attending the game as a Cowboys hater, you in effect become a Cardinals fan without disgracing your DC Metro Area roots by actually becoming a Cardinals fan. You’re free to root for the Cardinals, exchange high-fives with Cardinals fans, and generally have a good time rooting for the home team. But you get to keep your football soul. Everyone wins. Except the Cardinals. They never win.

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