The Other Home Team

by Chuck

By: Cameron Nelson

When you watch sports, you of course have a home team. Usually, it is your home team in the traditional sense; it’s the team closest to you, they’re likely on TV three or four times a week and maybe you get to a couple of games during the season.

Having lived the first twenty years of my life in both Kansas and Missouri, it was a given I’d become a fan of the Kansas City Royals. I was within driving distance of the stadium for years and the affinity for the team grew as my love for the game did. It’s just a natural thing. When you love sports, there’s always going to have that one team that holds a special place in your heart and who you stick with in good times and bad. And as a Royals fan, I got used to one of them pretty quick.

You’ve got three guesses as to which one and the first two don’t count.

Is it right to have “another home team”? This happens sometimes. When you have a second team that holds a place in your heart. Not as high as the first, but you still root for them unless they play your favorite.

The other home team is something that a lot of people don’t understand, I think. It’s your “backup” team for when your home team sucks. When you jump on the bandwagon and turn in your true colors. However, this isn’t the case for a true other home team. That team holds a place in your heart for a reason.

I have a home team and an other home team for every sport (except basketball). I’m a diehard Chicago Bulls fan and no team comes close to the passion I have for them and I can’t foresee any circumstance in which I would root for any other team.

In baseball, my “backup” team is the New York Yankees. You may think this odd, since the Yankees are by every stretch of the imagination, the anti-Royals. Big market, big money, big names, winning seasons, more World Series wins than you can shake a stick at, they have it all. How do you get that when you spend your time rooting for The Bad News Bears of the MLB?

I don’t consider myself a bandwagon jumper (OK, maybe with the Bulls). The reason the Yankees hold a special place in my heart because of my grandmother. I loved my grandmother obviously, and she was a big baseball fan. I know it seems like an odd explanation, but it’s the honest truth. A good other home team has a special reason why you like them, and for me it’s the common ground between me and my grandmother. Her husband was stationed in New York while he was in the Navy in the 1950s, right in the heyday of the Yankees. Her favorite player of all time is Mickey Mantle and she loved that team so much. Whenever I talked about baseball to her, she talked about Mickey and Yogi and the good old days. I loved those conversations and the history so much that it led me to love the Yankees themselves. It’s the team that brings my family joy and they’re just as much a part of us as Kansas City is. That’s why I root for them.

When you latch onto another “home” team, there’s usually one or two special moments that get you started. I like to call it “the bandwagon moment”. Sometimes it’s fleeting, but sometimes it catches you just enough for you to stay on the wagon just long enough to develop that secondary place in your heart.

For example, in college football, I am a Kansas Jayhawks fan first and foremost. As you can tell, I’m somewhat of a masochist when it comes to sports. But this year, I spent five months in a homeless shelter. You don’t spend five months in a place without getting a little attached to the residents there. In particular, there were three guys named Jeff, Chris, and Johnny who are diehard Notre Dame fans. I started watching the Irish this season and I had so much fun rooting for them with the guys there as the season went on. Now they’re the #1 team in the country and are set to play against the Alabama Crimson tide for the BCS National Championship, and I’m going to be rooting for the Irish as hard as I can. To me, it’s not a bandwagon moment. I didn’t cheer for them because they’re winning, but because I made friends through them.

The other home team is a strange phenomenon. It’s not something I believe to be particularly widespread, but it can be a great source of joy to those particular fans. Just because you don’t live in San Francisco doesn’t mean you can’t be a Giants fan (my #3 team, large family presence in the Bay Area). If someone gives you crap for being a fan of a team without being from there, just tell them it’s your other home team. They may not understand, but for you, it should be good enough.

I never saw Mickey Mantle play. I never knew future Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox actually played for the Yankees.

Because of my grandmother, I don’t care.

I never knew Mike Golic of ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” played for Notre Dame, or that he has two sons on this year’s team.

Because of my three new friends, I don’t care.

Do me one favor, though.

Don’t get me started on Wil Myers

18 Responses to “The Other Home Team”

  1. JohnBowen Says:

    Wonderful article, Cam. Glad to see you back!

  2. Len Says:

    Wow, a Royals/Yankees fan! That concept would have been inconceivable during the 1970’s-1980’s.

    It’s hard to remember now but the Royals vs. Yankees from 1976-1981 was one of the biggest and best rivalries in baseball. You could probably even stretch that to 1983 with the pine tar game. I’m not sure how old you are Cameron but I would think it would be hard to find any Royal fan from the 70’s to ever care about the Yankees.

    I really liked the Royals back in the day. It’s hard to believe now but the Royals from 1975-1989 were one of the best teams in baseball who also played in one of the best ballparks in MLB. It’s unimaginable now, but I think the Royals actually had several seasons where they had the highest payroll in baseball. They would often be showcased on national television broadcasts. They also had mostly home grown terrific players during that time period: Brett, Mcrae, Otis, Wilson, White, Quisenberry, Saberhagen, Gubiza, Leonard, Leibrandt, Splitorff, Mayberry, Patek, Gura, Porter, Busby, Cowens, Seitzer, B. Black and D. Jackson.

    Then it all seemed to fall apart so quickly in 1990 with the M. Davis, S. Davis and Richard Dotson free agent debacle and then the old guard got really old quite quickly. Then it didn’t help that Schurholtz made two horrible trades a few year before trading Cone & D. Jackson for basically nothing.

    Other than an outlier season in 1994, the Royals have only had one team over a .520 win % since 1990. Even since 1995, the Royals have only had one team (2003 Royals) to be over .500.

  3. Raul Says:

    And I’m a Yankees fan who recently took a liking to the Royals because being a Yankees fan just isn’t fun.
    And if I’m going to bitch about how poorly run a team is, I’d rather they legitimately suck, instead of win 95 games.

    Anyway, the Dodgers will have a payroll higher than NYY this year.
    Maybe they become the evil empire.

  4. JohnBowen Says:

    …and they just acquired Skip Schumaker. So pencil in basically another 50 HR.

  5. Chuck Says:

    Yankees-Phillies

    Knicks-Suns

    Rangers-Coyotes

    Jets-Browns

  6. Raul Says:

    I was going to say that Skip is a stupid name, but then I found out his real name is Jared.
    My condolences.

  7. Bob Says:

    1. Red Sox-Tigers
    2. Bruins-Red Wings
    3. Dolphins-Lions
    4. Celtics-Pistons

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    Phillies? Not Dbacks?

    Don’t really have a second favorite baseball team. I like the Padres, I guess – great stadium, very fan-friendly.

    My second favorite football team is whatever helps my fantasy team that week. But I’d go with the Bills.

    Hockey, I became a Bruins fan because of a lot of friends. But I don’t pretend to actually care about hockey. Lockout? Oh well.

    College Football and Basketball, I have multiple teams…

    NCAA-F: Navy, Wisconsin
    NCAA-B: Marquette, Wisconsin, UWM, Maryland

  9. Cameron Says:

    For the full record for me.

    MLB: Royals-Yankees
    NFL: Chiefs-Giants
    NBA: Bulls (no real second team, closest is the Thunder)
    NCAA-F: Kansas-Notre Dame
    NCAA-B: Kansas (no second team)

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    Oh yeah, NBA. Also forgettable for me. But I’m Bucks/Thunder.

  11. Chuck Says:

    I was a Phillies fan before I was a Yankees fan..I remember Allen and Johnny Callison, Tony Taylor, Chris Short, etc.

  12. Raul Says:

    A bruins fan. Dear lord. You might as well tattoo douchebag on your arm.

    I’d respect a Devils fan more. At least then you could do that Seinfeld episode with Puddy. The DEVILS!!!!

  13. JohnBowen Says:

    Haha. Off the top of my head, I think I can name two Bruins. Or maybe they’re free agents. Or playing in a hockey league that’s actually playing hockey. I really don’t know.

  14. Bob Says:

    1. Orr
    2. Cheevers
    3. Really want to impress your friends?
    4. Rick Middleton
    5. Wayne Cashman

  15. Chuck Says:

    Johnny Bucyk, Terry O’Reilly, Mike Milbury, Derek Sanderson….

  16. Chuck Says:

    “A bruins fan. Dear lord. You might as well tattoo douchebag on your arm.”

    ++++++++

  17. Chuck Says:

    One of the worst sports experiences I’ve ever had was watching my favorite all-time Ranger, Jean Ratelle, wearing a Bruins jersey.

    I could throw Brad Park in there too, but it wasn’t the same as Ratelle.

  18. Mike Felber Says:

    Very well done Cameron. Rooting interests & passion need not be rational, & attaching them to good experiences, friends, & other + associations is fun & healthy.

    Even drinking the tribal hateraide (sic) can be harmless fun if not taken seriously/personal pathologies not attached.

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