I never thought I’d have a favorite baseball team or be interested in regular season games, but I now find myself actually caring about America’s slowest big four sport.
I’ve never considered myself a baseball fan. I watch the playoffs and the World Series but rarely pay attention to the regular season outside of ESPN highlights. I’ve never had a favorite team so it’s always been hard for me to invest my time in the sport when I don’t care about the outcomes. I love the MLB The Show series but I usually just play the Road To The Show mode or start my new franchise with a fantasy draft.
The one year I really put some time and money into baseball was when the NHL went into a lockout in 2004-2005. Every year I order the NHL Center Ice package so I can watch every Colorado Avalanche game. Due to the lockout that year, I had money to spend on sports. My cable provider didn’t offer the NFL package and my dad wasn’t going to pay for the NBA package since I didn’t have a favorite team and he doesn’t like basketball. So we settled on the MLB package. Neither of us supported a team, but my dad likes to watch baseball and actually knew some players.
What a waste of money that turned out to be.
We didn’t fall in love with a team, which means we barely watched any games unless there was nothing else on. And even if there was nothing else on, we opted to watch Blue Streak for the 500th time rather than baseball. The best thing I can say about having the MLB package was that, anytime I was feeling tired, I knew I could put on a game to help me fall asleep.
Things changed this year though thanks to my good friends Todd Bergman and Steve Cook. While doing a baseball preview podcast, where I contributed next to nothing thanks to my limited knowledge of the players and teams, Bergman and Cook more or less convinced me to become a Cincinnati Reds fan, which happens to be the team they both support.
So I got on the Reds bandwagon before the season started. I didn’t have high expectations though. Not for the team, who Cook and Bergman told me would be good this year, but for myself. I figured that I would check the score of the game on ESPN and half-heartedly pretend that I cared. I surprised myself though with just how much I paid attention to the team. I have the luxury of having three TVs in the Man Cave, so if I want to watch something, chances are I’ll be able to put it on one of my TVs. It’s even easier with sporting events because it’s not a must to listen to the commentary, so I can mute the TV that the game is on and pay attention to one of the other TVs. Amazingly, I’ve watched just about every single Reds game this season, and when I haven’t been around a television, I’ve constantly checked my phone for updates. I’ve also been tweeting throughout Reds games, which has surely annoyed some of my followers who only expect MMA and Taylor Swift tweets.
To learn the team and players better, I even started a MLB The Show 12 and iOOTP 12 franchise with the Reds. I’ve come to find out that MLB The Show really is so real that it’s unreal, as I can’t seem to score runs to save my life, which is a problem the real Reds seem to be having early this season. Although recently we’ve both turned things around a bit. Thank God for series against the Cubs.
Whether or not I continue my high level support of the Reds throughout the entire 162 game season remains to be seen. I know that I won’t be able to watch games as much as I’ve been able to during the early stages of the season since the Reds aren’t my local affiliate and they won’t be on national TV every week, which could stunt my fan growth. But I am planning a trip to the Great American Ballpark to hang out with Cook and Bergman during the summer and catch a game or series. Plus, thanks to 2012 technology, it’s pretty easy to keep up with games even if you’re not able to watch them live.
I’ll go ahead and put this on record as well: If the Reds make the playoffs, I’ll purchase a Joey Votto jersey as proof of my commitment to this team for the foreseeable future.