Morality of Changing Your Sports Team Loyalty

To my mind, supporting a team should not be dependant on success. Supporting a team should not be a business decision, with continued evaluations regarding value received dictating future “support”.

Besides, is there any other time you CAN be loyal to your team apart from when they are in a bad patch? It doesnt take much loyalty to stick around when they are winning.

Again, I realise there are cultural differences showing here, but I find it difficult to understand the concept of team support as a “product” to be bought and sold. In my personal experience your team is almost akin to your family. You stick with your family no matter what, whether they have won the lottery or they are flat broke, it doesn’t matter.

I technically switched loyalties on baseball teams. I was a fan of the Orioles when I was younger, just because I really liked Cal Ripken Jr. Whenever I played little league, my number was 8. But after he retired, I stopped paying attention to baseball and was sort of meh towards the entire sport.

That is, until I started dating a girl from Boston who is a die-hard Red Sox fan. And she made it clear that if I was to date her, I would become a Red Sox fan too. There were no ifs ands or buts about it. Lucky for her, I already hated the Yankees from my term as an Oriole fan, so I was already halfway there. We’re still dating, and yes, I am now a Red Sox fan. Not quite a full on fan yet, but I’m getting there.

However, she tried to get me to root for the Patriots…and that just didn’t go well. She still blames me for their loss because I chose to root for the underdog Giants instead during the Super Bowl. Whoops. And for the record, I’m a Jacksonville Jaguars football fan at heart…nothing’s going to change that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmm…sports teams akin to family, huh?

What’s the process for trading a brother?

I’m not a sports fan in general, so this concept is mindboggling to me.

My father has been a Blue Jays fan since the Jays were founded (the same year I was born, actually).

The current Blue Jays are, literally, a completely different team than the one he started out rooting for, aside from the name, and the fact they’re based in Toronto.

Different players, different managers, different owners, even a different stadium.

So, who is he being loyal to?

I gotta agree with this. The Nebraska Cornhuskers of the past 5 years are not the ones I grew up with for the past 30-something years. Heck, even 10 years ago.

1993-1997: 60 wins, 3 losses; 3 national titles
2004-2007: 27 wins, 22 losses; one ranked finish (#24)

The coach, offense, defense, talent, etc are not the team I grew up with. I could not remain loyal for loyalty’s sake. If more losses would lead to a changing of the guard, then it was my duty as a true fan to accelerate that change. (Okay, a bit melodramatic…)

Well, he’s being loyal to the same team. The Blue Jays he rooted for in 1980 were quite similar to the Jays he rooted for in 1977. The Jays he rooted for in 1983 were quite similar to those in 1980 and so on. Yes, the team completely changes over 30 years, but the year to year change is small enough that you tend to get 5 or more years of rooting for a core. As that one phases out, you’ve already started rooting for a new genesis of that core. Before long, every player is different, but you don’t care, because it still feels like your old team. As a lifelong Cubs fan, I can go from the Derrek Lee edition back to Sosa to Sandberg and with just those 3 cores I am back at 1984 when my love for the Cubs was born.

The only acceptable times to change allegiances are:

  1. The owner does something that’s a major screw you to the fan base: moving the team to a different state, intentionally tanking for a decade and then asking for a new stadium, or hiring Isiah Thomas in a management capacity.
  2. You are within 2 years of starting to root for a non-local team but then a local team starts up.

As I’ve said before on the boards, I used to be a Pats fan, but switched to the Chargers a few years back. I had picked the Pats more or less at random; they seemed like a stand-up team and I liked the fact that their fans gave Adam Vinatieri proper credit for the games he won with his foot. Then, they had to muck it all up by going and winning everything.

Normally that’s what a fan wants, and I cheered 'em on for the first two, but enough is enough. Invincible teams are boring. I didn’t like the mid-90’s Bulls for the same reason, and it’s why as a native (upstate) New Yorker I go for the Mets instead of the Yankees ('course I was born and raised a Mets fan too; that one’s never changing). Plus, the Pats fans I had enjoyed camaraderie with were starting to turn into, well, Yankees fans. That simply could not stand.

Given that my dad grew up in San Diego and has a lifelong devotion to the Chargers, plus the fact that they seemed underdog-y enough without being hopeless, I decided to toss my chips in that direction. It’s been very rewarding so far; they keep getting better every year, and I get to watch the games with my dad and celebrate the victories like any father and son should.

So, o arbiters of fandom, was my switch justifiable, or will the brand of Brady stick to me for the rest of my days? :smiley:

Growing up, I was a Redskins fan, because my aunt was. I was a Dodgers fan, because my dad was.

I moved across the country to San Francisco. I am now an Oakland As fan, because of the “Dollar Wednesday” promotion they did 10 or so years ago - dollar tickets and dogs on certain Wedneday day games. That goes a long way for a poor man.

Ironically, I’m now a Philadelphia Eagles fan, but wasn’t when I lived in Trenton, NJ, just across the river. Don’t know why I’m an Eagles fan, exactly.

My dad the Dodger fan is a fan because his father used to be. But in '58, when the Dodgers moved to LA, his dad rejected them. Then, in '69, he got swept up in the Miracle Mets, and, AFAIK, was a Mets fan until he died.


There are plenty of other things you are if you are either a Cowboys or Yankees fan under any circumstances. But this not being the pit, they cannot be mentioned.

I grew up a Minnesota North Stars fan, But they moved away and I was living in Western New York at the time, so I became a Buffalo Sabres fan. Then I moved to Los Angeles and while I tried to remian loyal only to the Sabres, I could wathc as much of the Kings as was available, so I did. Plus I love going to hockey games and going the one time a year the Sabres came to town wasn’t enough. So I would go to a dozen Kings games a year and eventually became a season ticket holder. While I still follow the Sabres closely, I am a true Kings fan now.

I think all these rules are stupid. The only rationale I cannot abide by is liking a team suddenly because they are really good. The bandwagon effect.

I grew up 30 miles from Boston (and 5 miles from Foxboro) and so have been a Red Sox / Patriots fan my whole life, through some very lean times. Celtics too, although I’m not much of a basketball fan.

After college I moved to Chicago. The BoSox and Pats were still my teams, and I still hated the Bears for Superbowl XX, but I adopted the White Sox as my local favorites. I would pull for them against any team except Boston. I still have some affection for the ChiSox.

Now I live in Nashville, so there is no MLB team to vie for my affection - I bleed Red Sox red. I’m vaguely fond of the Titans and wish them well, but still hope the Patriots crush them whenever they meet.

Now that the Sox and Pats are both winning teams, I’m always paranoid that people will think I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I always point out that I came by it honestly, growing up in Massachusetts.

I’m in Seattle, dating a woman in Boston, and with the small difference that I follow the Mariners rather than the Orioles, I know exactly what you mean.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Is it possible to be an anti-fan?

What I mean is, when I came to Japan, I found myself faced with a whole new league and no home team (I lived out in the sticks at first, though not so rural that they didn’t have a soccer team - Go Jubilo!). I first picked the Dragons, since they had a cool name, but their coach turned me off by being a thug asshole. I went to the Yokohama Baystars when I started working for the ad agency that named them, but that was just for one year a decade ago. Now, I’ve settled into “anyone the Tokyo Giants are playing against” which seems to have a fairly large following.

As far as Japan-league baseball is concerned, am I a fan?

ETA: my first loyalty is the Red Sox, having grown up in Boston. I was never into football, so I freely admit (and admitted during the last season) that I bandwagonned onto the Pats.

I have always considered myself to be a fan of the games themselves, not specific teams, so there is no question of team loyalty to me. I like players who play well, with skill and chemistry with their teammates, and I will follow players I like throughout their careers regardless of where they hang their cleats. I will cheer when I see a Hawaii-born or developed player. I am a fan of certain eras of specific teams, such as the mid-'90s Atlanta Braves, for their awesome starting pitching rotation. But I could never be a fan of a whole team for years on end just because they are the home team, or because my family roots for them.

The team is akin to a family member, not individual players. Trading a player away is like giving your buddy a shirt from your brother if his gets ripped up or whatever.

…or if you happen to be running for President.

…and then you can expect to have your ass kicked. Red Sox, huh Rudi? How’s that workin’ for ya? :smiley:

I agree with most of the “rules” in this thread. People who switch loyalties based on moving or win/loss records are not true fans in my book.

I’ve been a Cowboys fan forever. Some of my earliest memories are watching the Cowboys on TV with my dad and the “big folks.” I now live in the DC area and work right in the city. How could I even contemplate rooting for the hated Redskins just becasue I happened to move here?

I’ve also been a Cubs fan since the early '80s. No real reason–I’ve only been to Chicago once in my life. As a kid, spending summers with my dad in Florida, I had a lot of time to watch TV in the daytime. My dad had something my mom did not. Cable. WGN. Watched the Cubs every day. Got to know the players, the announcers. Became a fan. A *diehard * fan. In fact, I’m posting this from work right now streaming the Cubs game over the internet.

Washington now has the Nationals. Sure I’d like them to win. When I read the paper in the morning I check to see how they did. If they win, great. If they lose, no big deal. I did get out to RFK last year to see a game. Against the Cubs. I went to root against the Nationals of course.

I’m glad for this exception b/c I can relate to this wrt to the NBA. I haven’t watched an NBA game since the strike season (1994?). For various reasons the NBA holds no appeal for me at all since then. As a kid, though, I was a big Celtics fan. Bird, McHale, DJ, Parish–that was my team. I have two college basketball teams I follow with a fanatical pasison. Memphis State and LSU. Back in the early 90’s, the Orlando Magic drafted Shaquille O’Neal (who I watched live at LSU) and then Anfernee Hardaway who I really liked, from Memphis State. So I became a Magic fan to watch my favorite college players on the same NBA team.

College football. I live and breathe LSU purple and gold. When they lose it’s like a little piece of me dies. A kick to the stomach. Waking up in the middle of the night with that immediate sense that maybe that loss from earlier was just a terrible dream! They really didn’t lose! But then it sets in that, yes, they did (say, in triple overtime) and you toss and turn for the rest of the night.

You telling me that I could all of a sudden start rooting for, say, Maryland?? I can not even comprehend such a thing.

As this isn’t the pit, this born and raised Dallas area Cowboys fan won’t say anything.

Except that you just wish you could have an ‘excuse’ to root for them. :cool:

I have committed ‘Sports Bigamy’ once. When I was a wee lad, my parents took me to see Bob Hope at the North Carolina State Fair. It was the Fall of '71, and I was vaguely aware that the World Series was happening, but being a wee lad, was not impressed with the Gravity Of The Situation. Anyway, Bob asked who had won the game that afternoon (shocking, I know, but rumor has it that World Series games used to end before sundown! Who knew?), and a crowd member yelled ‘Baltimore.’ Bob said, “Good, I hope they win.” which brought a loud cheer from the crowd.

Now, being a wee lad of some fairness, I thought that it was unfair that the Pirates didn’t have anyone pulling for them, so I decided, at that instant, that at least the Pirates would have one person rooting for them. So, I was a loyal Pittsburgh Pirate fan up until the Day of My Shame.

  1. A decade later. Cable television finally made its way to my hometown. The next thing I know, I was seduced by Dale Murphy and the Braves. My high school chorus also went that spring to Atlanta where we saw a Braves game in person. Skip Caray and Pete van Weiren (long time Braves announcers) became the voices of baseball to me. So, with sadness in my heart, I committed my Sports Bigamy - I became a Braves fan. Just in time to suffer through the late 80s, when the Bravos were routinely dropping 100+ games a year. Yep. Sometimes Sports Bigamy has its Timing Perils.

But I stuck it out. And in the early 90s the Braves and the Bucs played two excruciating seven game NLCSes, and I have to say, I was never once tempted to pull for the Bucs. So, I suppose this time it’s for real. Anyway, I feel much better now that I have admitted my Fall.

Go Braves!

Little known fact: Hope was part owner of the Cleveland Indians.

Even more obscure fact: Bing Crosby was part owner of the Pirates.

Why may be why Hope said he wanted Pittsburgh to lose. :slight_smile:

May I ask a question? [Abbot and Costello]Fellow Dopers, I love baseball.[/A & C] However, I moved back to Pittsburgh two days after the last baseball strike started and, I think, 1 year after the last season in which they finished over .500. Now, when I moved back, I swore off baseball for life, even though I love the sport. Then an employer gave me tickets to a game which were about 15 rows back on the 1st base line. I watched Aramis Ramirez hit his first major league home run, and the Pirates won it in the bottom of the ninth. I was hooked again. The Pirates have now had 15 losing seasons in a row. May I please renounce my loyalty to them? I understand about sticking by your team. I’m marrying a Detroit Lions fan, after all, and I remained a Steelers fan through the 1980s, but this is ridiculous.

How many straight losing seasons must a person endure before she may legitimately be permitted to give up on her team? I’d like to root for a baseball team with a winning season before I die.:frowning: