The Nationals are despicable and I hate them, and anyway they’re out. The Orioles were the lousiest team in living memory this year. As a baseball fan in and from the broader D.C. area, I’m stranded in these playoffs, with no obvious rooting interest—except one: the joy of my dear coworkers’ sadness.
“It will make my coworkers sad” is the most compelling basis for any sports rooting arrangement, when you don’t think about it too hard or at all. The players are famous celebrities you don’t know and who don’t give a frig about you; the team itself, as an entity, is just a gym bag filled with matching shirts. The organization is a bunch of creepy and objectively awful business androids upon whom no decent person could ever wish success. The town? Like where you live or where you grew up? Whatever, that’s fine I guess—but, as a community, the people you work with are much nearer-by, and you know them a lot better than you know “the town.” You’re around them all day, virtually or physically. It makes a lot more sense to base your baseball rooting on this group of people than on any particular town.
I can hear you saying, But surely that’s a reason to root for the teams they like, right? Then you can bond over shared feelings! Then, if their team wins, they’ll be happy and you can be happy for them! Where the hell do you work? I work at Deadspin. That it’s bad for my dumpster colleagues to be happy for any reason is self-evident. If they’re happy, then they are not sad. I’m sorry, but that’s unacceptable.
Rooting against whatever outcome will bring a measure of pure childlike happiness into your coworkers’ hell-lives brings a satisfying diversity of textures to watching the baseball playoffs. Many people are rooting for, say, the Boston Red Sox; that’s just one repository of hope, for them. But my coworkers, respectively, are rooting for a smattering of different teams—the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Rockies, maybe even the Dodgers I think (and the Athletics right up until the A’s pooped their brains out and slipped on their pooped-out brains like banana peels and fell down a manhole into hell, hilariously). Since I’m rooting for all of them to be sad, I’m rooting for several different outcomes, each tuned to the specific miseries of each fan base; with the Red Sox and Yankees facing each other in the ALDS, I have a chance to get creative and/or apocalyptic in envisioning an outcome that will deliver maximum sadness to both sides. But I’m also rooting for any of them to be sad, and no matter what happens, at least someone will be sad. This rules.
Many commentators are calling this approach “sociopathic” and “evil” and “what is wrong with you,” but to them I say, I hope an alligator bites your damn leg off! This blog is over.