Friday, March 16, 2007

Let's Talk About Sports Hatred

It seems like a good time. The NCAA Tournament's started up, and people are reveling in Duke's first round loss (expected though it may have been), and baseball's regular season is only a few weeks away, where the rivalries will be renewed. So I figured I'd ask what sports teams/players you hate/dislike and why? And how far does that dislike go? What I mean is, if you dislike Team X, and a player from that team joins your favorite team, do you root for them, or want them to crash, burn, and get lost?

I know a number of the Cardinals fans that read this blog seem to hate the Cubs. I get a little annoyed by their fans, but rooting for the Cubs is a lot like rooting for the Arizona Cardinals, so i guess I kind of get where they're coming from. When your team is pretty much always bad, false bravado and ragging on other teams is just about all you've got.

So I suppose my number one disliked team is the New York Mets. What can I say? I was raised as a Cardinals fan during the 1980s, who else am I supposed to hate (according to my father, Jeoffrey Leonard of the San Francisco Giants, but I don't remember him)? Arch-rivals of the cards during the mid-1980s, seemingly populated entirely by coke-snorting cheaters (Howard Johnson and his corked bat for instance), while the Cardinals were a good-spirited virtuous guys (having sent their trouble-maker to the Mets). What? I was like five years old, thus I was really stupid back then. Especially high on that list was Dwight Gooden, who managed to be phenomenal early enough in his career to block John Tudor from getting the 1985 Cy Young (far and away Tudor's career year). But it extended to the lesser players. Gregg Jeffries had a couple of pretty good seasons for the Cardinals (actually, the two best years of his career) in 1993 and 1994, was a godsend after the debacle that was Andres Galarraga in 1992, and I still wanted him gone. He was not only a stinking Met, he was a former Royal, so to hell with him. It's either because I've mellowed with age, or because players aren't identified as being from a certain team as much anymore, but I don't really do that much.

I dislike the Yankees in that "I'm tired of hearing about every little thing that happens with them" sense, but I don't really hate their players, or the team all that much. It is fun to watch them struggle, and I think their fans (and the media at large) are too hard on Alex Rodriguez, but it's not a feeling on the same level as what I felt towards the Mets.

I still can't stand the Cowboys, even though they aren't really all that good anymore. It's why I was overjoyed when they signed Owens last year, because I knew he'd help tear them apart, and I wanted to see it. It's why I was dismayed when Arizona signed Emmitt Smith in 2003, we didn't need broken down Cowboy running backs! (We did need some pass-rushers, but that's another issue) Watching them beat your favorite team roughly fifteen times in a row will do that to you. That's why that Jake Plummer-led playoff victory in the 1998 season is my favorite football game of all time, because they went into Dallas, and beat a Cowboy team that still had Emmitt, Aikman, Irvin, and Deion. Man, I didn't like Deion Sanders, hogging all the cornerback attention, some of which should have been Aeneas Williams'.

So, any teams you just despise, and why?