as a lifelong san diego padre fan, my heart is going out to my texas ranger fan friends these days. i’m feeling your angst.
padre fans and ranger fans are different. way different. even though i have slowly become a ranger fan through the years, i will never be a true ranger fan. not because i don’t want to be or because they are not worthy of my fanaticism. no way. i’m just saying i’m as much a ranger fan as i am capable of being.
(by the way, this year finally pushed me over the top. with the acquisition of vlad and the great benji molina, i finally drank the koolaid. who can’t root for a team that signs a catcher with my personal body “type”??)
i see team support through the lens of a padre fan. it’s totally different. a completely unique way of cheering for your team, yet keeping reality in perspective…not to mention the value of being able to keep your health, sanity, attitude, and total enjoyment of the great game.
so from my heart to yours, o loyal fans of your beloved rangers, i want to give you some tips for how to have greater enjoyment, better sleep, better television watching, better bowel movements and better marriages down the stretch of this pennant race.
i want to channel my inner padre fan to you. your life will be better and healthier if you listen carefully.
learn to enjoy the whole experience. for my whole life, the padre’s represented so much more than winning and losing: a hoodie and some hot chocolate on a chilly summer night…getting to see great players (from other teams) play in The Murph every year…the mega-talented peanut vendor…the world famous san diego chicken! ranger fans, you are too focused on the performance of your team! open your eyes, broaden your perspective, become a mascot.
have an outlet for your disappointment. in san diego, if the padres start playing bad, you go to the beach. problems seem to fade when you listen to the sound of crashing waves, the blowing mist of salt water, and the crispy heat of a 70 degree sunny day. ranger fans, after three losses down the stretch, maybe you need to go hang out at Jerry World or take a drive to abilene or pflugerville. you have to learn to let go of the bad and embrace the beauty of your surroundings.
re-think the “we’re texas…we’re bigger, better, and badder than everybody” attitude…when it comes to the rangers. a padre fan never believes the hype about the padres. mostly because there is never any hype about the padres. we have fully embraced our small-market reality. we know the yankees are better. with that payroll, they’re supposed to be, for crying out loud! dear ranger friends, you need to accept that your beloved rangers might not be as good as you want them to be. it’s ok. it doesn’t make you any less loyal. it doesn’t mean you cheer any less. it doesn’t mean you don’t continue to hope. i’m just saying that a padre fan harbors no illusions of superiority. ( for the record, i am slowly but surely warming up to the idea of succeeding from the union…starting to make a lot of sense).
embrace and accept your limitations. the rest of the sports world does not care about san diego. sportscenter doesn’t factor them into the pennant race. they have predicted their demise since the beginning of the season. there’s not much love from the sports media for the rangers, either. it’s ok. really. it’s ok.
figure out a rivalry and let that be your world series. no matter how bad the padre’s season is going, we always get to play the doggers…and the nocal giants. it makes my year. it gives me something realistic to cheer for each season. it’s our world series every year. and if we lose this year, we’re back next year. it’s awesome. ranger fans, pick something smaller and learn to be happy with it. it might just be me, but i would consider adding the kansas city royals to your rivalry list. it’s a little closer than seattle. you might even make a road trip once in a while. there’s nothing like cheering for your homies on the enemy’s turf…
work on your public persona. padre fans never trash talk. we know better. we never gloat over a win, but we quietly enjoy the moment. we proudly wear our colors in the good and the bad. we are always optimistic. we think we can win every game. we just don’t necessarily expect it. we always look for the good in our little friars and extol the positives to anyone who asks. we don’t talk bad about our team to a rival or an enemy. we are kind of like a family…i can talk bad about my kids, but you better not. ranger fans, stop trashing your own team! love them. embrace them. give “wash” a hug. stop saying michael young sucks as a third baseman. quit showing love to cliff lee when he does well and harpooning him like a beached seal when he throws a stinker. they’re your fam. practice upbuilding encouragement.
finally, let go of your cynicism. it’s deadly. it’s toxic. it gives ulcers and wrinkles. it makes your friends just want to give you a hug, too. don’t ever stop hoping. this is baseball…the greatest game. this is all about bull durham and the bad news bears and the natural and field of dreams. it’s about believing and cheering and loving your team no matter what.
ranger fans: stop thinking your team is going to throw away this seven-game lead. stop thinking “wash” is going to leave another pitcher in too long. stop obsessing over the loss of josh hamilton. you’ve got julio borbon in center! quit wishing you still had adrian gonzalez patrolling first base. you’ve got mitch moreland and his mom is really proud of him. you should be also.
the padre’s are a half a game out of first place. i’m ecstatic. nobody expected them to be there. but they are. if they don’t win the west pennant, it will be okay. san diego fans will grab a fish taco and start looking forward to next year. no lost sleep. no angst. limited disappointment. totally loyal. no spewing of anger, disgust and despair. just happy to be baseball fan.
ranger fans, you are still seven games up. live it. breathe it. enjoy it. stop with the whole negative nancy thing.
learn from padre fans. i’m open for counseling most afternoons.