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Two Fans Have Had Enough
2004-01-12 09:27
by Jon Weisman

From another longtimer, Dan Reines:

"He's not going to let a little thing like baseball get in the way of his owning a baseball team and the land it sits on."

Eesh. I couldn't agree more, Jon.

I know I'm overreacting. I know it. Still, I can't help but feel just as lousy and pissed off today as I did when they moved Piazza, and just as pessimistic as I did that day seven years ago this month when O'Malley put the team up for sale.

Guerrero. To the Angels.

Encarnacion. To the Dodgers.

Right island. Wrong guy.

You know, it's funny. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, equidistant from Dodger and Angel stadiums. I was a fan of both teams -- my favorite players were Rod Carew and Reggie Smith. But sometime around the late '80s, early '90s, I renounced my fandom with the Angels. I got tired of rooting for a team that made no apparent effort to win. I got tired of feeling like a rube. So I became a Dodger fan exclusively. And though I got nice and wistful when the Angels won it all, I didn't feel like I owned it. They weren't my team. Whatever.

I'm feeling the same way about the '04 Dodgers as I did about the '90 Angels. I don't know what to say. I wouldn't say I'm ready to give up on the team, but I'm definitely ready to ask for a trial separation. Unless they surprise the hell out of me between now and opening day, I'm done for a while. With the Dodgers and, probably, with baseball. Hey, I could use the extra time.

And if, down the line, the Dodgers start coming back, if they start running the team like a team with which I'd want to associate myself, then maybe I'll come back. But the thing is, I'm really not a rube. Or at least, I'm not as much of a rube as the Dodgers -- whoever "the Dodgers" are this week -- seem to believe I am.

We'll see. Maybe we'll work this out. But I'm not holding my breath.

I know there's a danger of these Dodger supporters coming across as fair-weather fans, but I don't think that's the case at all. I look at these reactions as

1) examples of tough love. I think they see a team spiraling out of control, like a family member gone south on drugs, and they don't want to be enablers. They will continue to advocate and hope for solutions, but they don't want to be part of the problem.

2) as Reines himself later indicated to me, a perception that "I've got better things to do with my time and my money than to spend either on an entertainment option that isn't actually trying to entertain me." In other words, Reines isn't abandoning the team - he feels that the team has abandoned him. "Not bothering to compete is not fun," Reines said. "I'll give a damn about the Dodgers when they demonstrate that they give a damn about the Dodgers."

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