What do you do when the baseball team you pull for is forced to switch from the National League to the American League? I had to think through that question when it was announced late last year that the Houston Astros had been coerced into precisely that deplorable situation, despite the fact that in all of the team’s 50 years of history, it had been in the NL.
The problem is that I am a real fan of the NL, and I hate the way the AL plays, with the designated hitter making the thinking aspect of the game almost completely unnecessary.
So, if you’re an NL fan, and the only team you’ve ever loved is forced to move into the junior circuit, what do you do? Well, first thing is to get past the stage of complaining about the commissioner’s obvious bias in the situation, being that the team his family owns was the logical choice to move… *ahem* back to the AL, if anyone had to move at all. And that can take a while. But, once you’ve done that, you’ve got to decide — are you more an Astros fan or a National League fan?
That was something I had to consider. Not wanting to be unduly influenced, I didn’t want to get input from my dad — a much bigger baseball fan than I am — before making my decision, but I did want to get input from a couple of friends. Funny enough, I chose to ask friends who are not baseball fans at all, beyond the interest they take for my sake. One Singaporean and one Shanghainese. What was amusing was that both gave me almost exactly the same answer — they seemed to think it was a question of character (my character), and they were sure I wasn’t the sort of person who lacked character enough to change teams. They both based their answers on their assumptions about what it is to be a fan, placing that alongside what they think about my character.
To both of my friends, a fan sticks with the team, even when it plays poorly, and even when it has to make an unpopular move (or a move that doesn’t sit well with you personally). And knowing that I have no problem sticking with my team through the former, my friends assumed the latter would likewise be a non-issue for me.
And in actual fact, I knew they were exactly right on that. The only real question was, would I cease to be a baseball fan at all? When I asked my friends that question, once again both of them had precisely the same response.
They simply laughed, and that was the end of it.