Sunday, January 13, 2008

An admission of biases


Granted, it's January, but I've got baseball on the brain, and rather than taint that other blog with non-music related topics, I figured why not give the baseball rants their own space? Voila, The Bottom of the Order. Welcome, salut, etc.

Rather than attempt to cover all of baseball in an objective measure, I'll just cop to my prejudices right off the bat. Easier for all concerned, no?

Allegiances are a tangled subject. They are arrived at in a convoluted manner, and mine are no different...

As a child, I remember being terribly, terribly conflicted in a way that will be familiar to many, many Canadians: Blue Jays or Expos? Luckily, in the pre-interleague play era, you could have your cake and eat it too. And so, I wore two hats. In '92 and'93, I was out of my head and over the moon; in '94 I was nearly in heaven. And though, in the wake of that disastrously aborted season, the Expos began their slow and sad march to Washington, it was easy to keep them close to the heart because I lived in Ottawa, home of their triple A affiliate.

Now, of course, the Expos are no more, and I am not a Nationals fan. That makes Toronto my #1. Go, Jays, go.

But what of the National League? I hear you ask. Good question. First off, let me explain something: I love ballparks. Love 'em. The older the better. Heaven, Valhalla, paradise, or whatever you wish to call it is, in my personal estimation, one ceaseless evening at the ballpark, box seats, beer, dogs, a tight game... and though I love baseball so much that I have enjoyed many games at both The Big O and SkyDome/Rogers Centre, it goes without saying that old and authentic ballyards are preferable to futuristic plastic concoctions. The point is (and I know I'm rambling here, but bear with me) that I am not immune to allowing my feelings for certain ballparks to colour my feelings for the teams that call them home. And so, to answer your original question, due to having gone to Wrigley Field and loving the whole damn experience, and since they were the first team I ever saw the Expos play, and because presumably I am a sucker for punishment, and also I am fond of Ron Santo's dadaist take on the role of colour man, and besides, who doesn't love afternoon baseball, the Chicago Cubs are my designated National League team. That means I pull for them in every circumstance barring the highly hypothetical interleague Jays-Cubs matchup and, obviously, the nigh on impossible (as in sign of the coming apocalypse impossible) Jays-Cubs World Series.

So, that leaves only my West Coast team, a luxury I have decided to allow myself since Jays games only take up part of the evening, and thanks to the wonders of satellite TV, I can enjoy, on average, two games a night. My West Coast team? Why, the Seattle Mariners, that's who.

The reasons for that one are as follows:

1) Ichiro blows my mind.
2) Safeco Field is a beauty, perhaps the loveliest of the modern parks.
3) I have a deep and largely inexplicable affection for the city of Seattle.

There you have them, my biases, laid bare. I should also mention that I anticipate harbouring a fondness for Ottawa's new-for-2008 (and as yet unnamed) entry in the Can-Am League, just as I loved the late Lynx before them. The point of The Bottom of the Order is to allow me a venue for ranting about baseball in general, but you can expect those three MLB teams and one independent minor league squad to account for the bulk of the entries.

There are reserved seats in your name, down the first base line, all the footlongs you can eat, and plenty of cold beer, so settle in and enjoy the game. I'm glad you could make it.

1 comment:

Ben Wideman said...

Not to mention that the M's are our expansion cousins.

Great article.