On DC Fanhood

What is a Baltimorean to do when it comes to rooting interests in the NBA, NHL and MLS?  This is a question that I have long pondered and what better to forum to address it than Bohs and O’s.  A place where leading Baltimore sports exports come to share analysis and ideas.  A place where being bandwagon is about the worse insult once can receive.  So I pose the question to the forum.

Here is my analysis of the situation.  I was admittedly a bandwagon fan of the Capitals last year.  I attended one game, watched a few more, but did not follow them religiously until the playoffs and have only watched one game so far this season.  The Baltimore sports gods made my pay dearly for my transgressions when the Capitals lost to another team from Pittsburgh.  That made two playoff losses to Pittsburgh in a 6 month span.  I clearly learned my lesson.

Is it possible for us to be true fans of DC teams?  Does that fact they are not from Baltimore mean are rooting interests are inherently bandwagon?  They are the closest teams to us geographically, but it is not quite the same as having Baltimore on the jersey.  They don’t represent us in the way that the Orioles and Ravens do.  I know the Terps play just outside of DC, but they are the MARYLAND Terps so they represent us as well.  How can we root for a Hockey team from DC when we despise the football team?  We will never really fit in with the rest of the fan base.  The Caps game that I attended last year was the Thursday before the Ravens-Skins matchup and we got in several altercations with Redskins fans.  We know little about the DC and its sports history, which are vital parts of being a sports fan.  How could you ever fit in as a Baltimore sports fan if you did not know the story of the Colts skipping town?  Your whole mindset would not be in sync with the rest of the community.

I also wonder if I even have room in my heart or on my schedule for another team.  If there was a Baltimore hockey team would be as diehard about it as the Ravens, Orioles, and Terps?  Right now I have three teams whose schedules fit perfectly so I can have a team to root for at all times during the year.  Maybe this is why Baltimore sports fans are so much better than sports fans from Boston and DC.  Our passion for our teams is more focused and not spread out between 5 or 6 teams.  If the Ravens are struggling we can’t turn NBA or NHL teams and hop on that bandwagon instead.  We are stuck with our teams whether they have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons or are have 13 straight losing seasons.

Bohs and O’s contributors and readers please share with me your thoughts on Baltimoreans’ fanhood of DC sports teams.  Can we ever be true fans?  As Baltimore sports fans should we even try to root for DC teams or should we focus on our own teams?  This may lead to the broader question of what it means to be a true Baltimore sports fan.

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5 responses to “On DC Fanhood

  1. Personally I think it’s acceptable to root for the Caps, but I think it would be inappropriate to consider them “my” team. Like you alluded to before I don’t know much about the history of the Caps; I’ve followed them from a distance since my childhood and can name some of the more prominent players from the past like Peter Bondra or Olaf Kolzig, but am hardly connected to the team the way I am with the O’s or Ravens. When the caps lose does it really bring me down? Do I yearn for the day the Caps win a Stanley Cup and I can be part of the parade? The answer to both is no, which is why I would never consider the Caps to be my team. I think the NHL is a great league and hockey is a great sport to watch so it’s important to at least keep tabs on one team, but I don’t commit myself to them any more than that.

    Regarding the NBA I would recommend that Baltimoreans take the approach I have for choosing a team to root for: just go with whichever team Carmelo Anthony is playing for (currently the Nuggets). I’ll be the first one to acknowledge that this is hardly true fanhood, but the NBA sucks and barely has any true fans so who cares what they think. I, like many Baltimoreans, have been following Melo’s career from Towson Catholic to Oak Hill to Syracuse and now to the NBA and have decided that instead of showing allegiance to any one team I would rather support my favorite player instead.

  2. I could never consider a DC team to be “my” team. The reason that I love my sports teams so much is that I feel they represent me in that they bare the name of my city, state, or alma mater across the front of their jerseys. Even though DC is only an hour away, it may as well be across the country in terms of how connected I feel to the sports teams there. It’s painful to me when the O’s and Ravens lose, and when they win I feel as if I were a member of the team. When DC teams win or lose I feel nothing except joy when the Skins lose because their fans suck almost as much as Steelers fans.

  3. Bringing up Carmelo reminded me of the awesome video of him and Lebron playing one another in high school. Can you imagine these guys playing a Baltimore private school team.

  4. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I grew up going to Washington Wizards games and I do consider them “my” NBA Team. Granted, they were so much sicker when they were the Bullets and played at USAir Arena, and even sicker when they were the Baltimore Bulletts, but I still hold a place for them in my heart. However, the NBA sucks, so I’d definitely trade a Wizards championship title now for two consecutive Orioles regular season wins against the Red Sox.

    I’d also like to touch on another great Baltimore team that hasn’t yet gotten much coverage on this site–Johns Hopkins lacrosse. The Jays are a Baltimore institution with as much history and more championships than any other team in the city. Expect some articles on them, as well plenty of NCAA lacrosse coverage, as spring approaches.

  5. i guess it’s all personal, and has a lot to do with how invested you are in the sport in question, but i don’t think there’s anything wrong with considering DC teams ‘our’ teams. after all, the O’s were the area baseball team for years, and even after the arrival of the nationals there are still diehard O’s fans in DC and northern virginia (not to mention they yell O during the national anthem at caps games).

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