Is it really that hard to be a fan of more than one team in a sport?
It seems in past sports history, fans were less fickle and more diehard for their team. In contemporary times, it’s a whole new ballgame for fans.
It shouldn’t be that hard to be a fan of multiple teams in one sport.
Having more than one team to root for means more chances to be on the winning side. Fantasy teams, the culture of fashion (hats, jackets, etc.), and following college players into the pros are just some reasons for fans to latch onto another pro team.
Being a fan of more than one team can be most convenient when the teams share the same arena or stadium. In the NBA, the Lakers and Clippers share the Staples Center. In MLS, Chivas USA and the Galaxy share. And, for New York football fans, there have been two teams sharing a stadium together for decades.
In the case of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, some fans can make the case to only root for one of the teams. Fans can choose their side and act pissed off at each other all season long, but there’s not a lot of sense in it.
The history of the two teams come from similar places in New York. The Jets are rooted from the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium. The Giants have several years more history, including stints also at the Polo Grounds and at Yankee stadium for home games.
The teams play in different conferences and can only meet up in the Super Bowl, if they both reach the playoffs in the same year.
In some places with multiple teams of one sport, it is reasonable to understand why emotions run high between fans of the teams and why it’s hard or even next to impossible to root for that other team. For instance, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs fans rarely will root for the other. Fans typically take a side because they either come from the South side (Sox) or they don’t (Cub).
But even with these two historic MLB teams, a case can be made to root for the other up until a potential World Series matchup or during the annual Interleague play. The teams come from different Leagues, the American and National Leagues, in which one uses a designated hitter and the other doesn’t.
In the Bay Area of Oakland and San Francisco, people will often live in both areas at some point in their lives. It’s true that when these NFL teams play each other, the “Crazies” come out and try to out-macho the other fans for pride. Sensible fans may choose a side for this one game, but they may also root for both the Raiders and 49ers during the rest of the season.
The same can be said for the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants and the LA Dodgers-Angels.
The best part of having two teams to root for is when one team is lousy for the season and the other team is playing pretty good. That is the case this year for basketball fans in Los Angeles.
Lakers fans don’t have to switch allegiances entirely, but they can be accepting of little brother finally having some success. It really shouldn’t be that hard for Lakers fans to root for the Clippers. The talent is better on the Clippers. They are the more entertaining team to watch.
This is the Southern California reality for now.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com