Saturday, October 2


It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO A SECOND FAVORITE TEAM.

1. With the sad but, perhaps, inevitable demise of the Montreal Expos, now seemed as good as time as any to talk about second favorite teams. You see, Les Expos were Jose’s second favorite Major League Baseball Team, a distant second after a certain squad that plays near Kenmore Square. (Note: Don’t be a wise ass and say BU, BU doesn’t have a baseball team anymore.)

If Jose recalls correctly, Bill Simmons has argued that one cannot really root for two teams. Jose supposes that this is true. However, one can certainly root hard for one team and sort of, vaguely root for a second team. In other words, having a clear number two team, a team that is liked but not loved, is imminently possible. (Note: Though Jose has never taken so much abuse as the one time he wore an Expos cap to Fenway. The Sox weren’t playing the Expos; people just seemed incredulous that anyone would care enough about the Expos to wear one of their caps.

When Jose was growing up, he tended to base his secondary allegiances on two factors: the residence of a Melendez relative in a city and general ineptitude. The first led Jose to a certain fondness for The Washington Redskins; the second led to a fondness for the Houston Oilers and the two combined made the New Orleans Saints his true number two football team. But these were just a child’s inclinations, not real rules for the proper selection of a second team. As Jose has grown older, he has learned that it is far more fun to hate the teams who play where one’s relatives live. It leads to family squabbles that are far more amusing than disputes about who should inherit the family china. (Note: Though Jose doesn’t believe there has ever actually been a dispute about family china, the country of China or even former wrestling phenom Chyna in Jose’s family.)

The great thing about having a secondary team is that one can claim an interest, an affiliation even, but without the anguish that can result from making a serious emotional connection, the investment of time required to watch every or even many games, or even bothering to learn the names of players. Jose loves the Expos but who plays for them? Jose has no idea. (Note: Actually this is not quite true. Jose knows all of the former Red Sox in their organization. Tomo Okha, Sunny Kim, Rocky Biddle.)

2. For grown ups there are a few basic rules to be followed when choosing a secondary team. Jose will illustrate them using his four secondary teams: Les Expos, the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Hartford Whalers. Yes, Jose knows that the Whalers have not technically existed for a long time, and, if Jose recalls, their arena collapsed or burned down or something, but they still exist in Jose’s heart, and in the clarion tones of Brass Bonanza, the greatest fight song in history. Also, they still exist in NHL ’94 for Sega Genesis, not that Jose has a copy, or a Sega Genesis. Frankly, Jose isn’t a huge hockey guy, so he didn’t feel such an imperative to find a new secondary team, and the Whalers violated almost all of Jose’s rules. Still if forced to pick a new hockey team, Jose might go for the Columbus Bluejackets.

But on to the rules. Well, they’re not exactly rules, they’re more like guidelines. (Note: What is that from? Is it only Pirates of the Caribbean? This question has been driving Jose and his brother nuts.) The first rule is to pick a team that is in the opposite League or Conference from your favorite team. While this decreases the incidence of games between your favorite and your second favorite team, this is actually not such a big issue, as a good fan should always root for his favorite team in all circumstances. (Note: The only exception is if the second favorite team needs the game for the playoffs, the favorite team is mathematically eliminated and losing will help the favorite secure a better draft pick. The last time Jose did anything like this was in a Patriots-Saints game in 1993ish. Maybe it was 1994.)

The second rule is to pick a team that has a sort of pathetic history either due to a low payroll or even better, incompetent management. If Donald Sterling or Major League Baseball owns and operates your favorite team, it must be infuriating, (Note: Sort of like if Jeremy Jacobs…no…Jose is not a hockey guy, he will not go down that road) but if they own a team in which you have only modest interest, it can make the entire experience much richer. Just watching to see what bone headed move the owner makes next can make you feel better about your own teams management, and often it is simply funny. Paul Gaston was a lousy owner, but boy did he look good when compared with Donald Sterling. But even if a team’s ownership isn’t completely incompetent, it is essential that one’s second favorite team have a long history of poor play, and you must….MUST…set your allegiance when they are in a down cycle. For instance, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have been a great choice in the pre-Tony Dungy era, but to adopt them now, two years after a Super Bowl, would simply be wrong.

A corollary to this rule is that you may not pick a team with a long winning history for a second favorite. Anyone who’s second favorite team is the Yankees or Cowboys or Canadiens is a front runner and, frankly, a bad person. Even if a great organization is in a lengthy downward spiral, it is still inappropriate to adopt them. Sorry would be pseudo-Celtics fans.

The third rule is…actually there are only two. Two good rules.

3. So with these rules in mind, who should Jose adopt as his new second favorite baseball team? Well, we know it has to be in the National League so that narrows it down quite a bit, but what organization is futile enough to earn Jose’s support? Jose has it narrowed down to two candidates: The Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

--Terrible for many, many years, end not in sight
--Ballpark would be really neat to visit.
-Ugly uniform colors are sort of appealing.
-Great history as an organization. What’s happened to them is more sad than funny.
--Hate them for whining about the Brandon Lyon trade and pawning Scott Sauerbeck and Jeff Suppan off on the Sox last year.

--Despite two World Series appearances, no proud history.
--Theo Epstein connection.
--Getting better, but still bad almost every year.
--Also, ugly uniform colors.
--Jose Melendez played for them.
--Larry Lucchino Connection
-Petco Park is among stupidest stadium names.

Wow. This is tough. Jose is leaning Padres right now, though he was thinking Pirates before he made the list of pros and cons. Thankfully, Jose is going to have the whole off season to think about it. But in the event that Les Expos are renamed the Washington Senators, maybe Jose’s new second favorite will be the same as the old. After all, giving yet another team the name Senators, which has brought down two baseball teams and one (perhaps two soon) hockey teams, would be an ominous start for the new team. And for a second favorite, Jose likes that just fine.

I’m Jose Melendez and those are my KEYS TO A SECOND FAVORITE TEAM.


Anonymous said...

Good one, Jose.

It would be sort of fun doing a poll of 2. favorite teams.....My vote goes to the Cubs and Bears....both from Chicago, both in opposing leagues, both with kind of sad histories (well, only recently for the Bears, really, but anyway)...easy to remember for their common reference to the family Ursidae.

Don't care enough about Basketball or Hockey to pick a 2. favorite.

Manchild said...

Jose... I am glad I have found another Clippers fan who doesn't live in LA, especially now that the bandwagon has re-emptied. There was awhile back, when they had the Brand, Odom, Miles core where the Clippers seemed to be gaining popularity, and I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic. So here's to the playoffs!