On the surface Jerry is right, fans are cheering for a set of clothing. When one player moves from one team to the next...no matter how much he was loved at one time he is now hated or at the very least disliked. T.O. is a die hard Cardinal fan and I can tell you that despite all of the amazing things Albert Pujols did for the Cardinals Taylor would tell you that present day Albert Pujols is "dead to him". Taylor will admit that he is grateful for the time that Pujols played for the red birds but now that he is living in South California playing for the irrelevant L.A. Angels he doesn't care and will cheer against him - in everything but a quiet manner.
The one piece that Jerry is missing here is that in some cases fans will still cheer for their cloths but depending on why a player is with a different team the fans will still cheer for them. A perfect example - Peyton Manning. This is an extreme example because in the case of Indianapolis I would say about 70% of the city are Colts fans who are also Peyton fans and 30% are Peyton Manning fans who just happened to cheer for the Colts because he played for them. That 30% now cheers on the Broncos. What is interesting is that the 70% that are Colts fans still LOVE Manning and cheer him on all season long. They even give him a ceremony before a home game...but then they go back to cheering on their clothes - the Indianapolis Colts.
The only logical explanation for this is because of the way each player left their team. If you look at their records Pujols brought home two championships and Manning brought home one. Both players where MVP's in multiple seasons and both are all-star players. The only real difference is the reason behind why they left town. Pujols left his team for money and the big lights. Manning left his team because he and the owner came to the agreement that staying in Indy wasn't the best for Manning or the Colts.
So what makes sports fans so loyal? What makes sports fans cheer for a specific set of clothing? This is something that I have been struggling with for some time. I grew up a New York fan my entire childhood. Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bills, New York Yankees, Syracuse Basketball. Now that I have been in Indy I have become a huge Indiana fan - Colts, Pacers, Indians and Ice. Soon I will be cheering on the Indy Eleven and Indiana Fuel. As I have become an Indians fan I have also become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan because the Indians are the triple A affiliate to the Pirates. I know every player on the Pirates and have cheered for them over the past 5 seasons here in Indy. The issue is I feel terrible for not staying loyal to the white and blue stripes of New York. Yet as Jerry points out those are just clothes.
Except for Jeter there is no one on the Yankees that I grew up cheering for, "idolizing" and adoring. All of my childhood hero's have retired or have been traded away. Now that I have grown up and can make decisions for myself I have found the current Yankee organization, meaning the front office, insulting. I still appreciate the history of baseball and the history of the Yankees but now that I don't live in New York I am not surrounded by Yankee fans, I can't see them on TV every day and I can't get them on the radio. Here in Indianapolis I watch, listen and read up on the Indianapolis Indians every day. Now that the majority of the players I started watching 5 years ago with the Indians are on the Pirates I find myself following the Pirates like I use to follow the Yankees. I follow up on every game, follow them via social media, online radio and sports blogs. Pittsburgh isn't that much closer then New York but the player development is in my city and that is why I have transitioned.
It is also not only my adoration for the Pirate players but also for the development of their team. I have watched the Yankees buy, buy, buy, buy, buy and buy some more. Living in a small town that can't buy has made my appreciation for building a team grow by leaps and bounds. The fact that seven out of the eight position players came through Indianapolis and the farm system means a lot to me. The Yankees can only say that about a small hand full of players - Jeter being one of them. I will cheer Jeter on to retirement and he will be my favorite player of all time but in terms of a team - Go Pirates! Live, love and play like there is no tomorrow - thanks for reading!
The Marris Minute