Doubling Down on My Sports Loyalties

The many childhood hours I spent rooting on my A's and Raiders is far in the rearview mirror, and living in Philadelphia means a steady dose of Phillies and Eagles coverage. That, plus less and less free time, has meant less and less available energy to expend in the direction of my two remaining sports loyalties.

But devotion to one's teams runs thick. And so I arise this morning with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder as a result of my teams and players receiving recent slights:

* The word on the street is that the Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to send a message to embattled quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has made some questionable decisions regarding his personal life, by threatening to trade him to the Raiders. Yes, the team that played in the Super Bowl barely seven years ago has become such a joke that the possibility of playing for it is now used as punishment.

* Arch villain Alex Rodriguez of the hated New York Yankees broke an unwritten rule of etiquette in baseball when, after returning to first base after a foul ball, he ran right across the pitcher's mound. A's pitcher Dallas Braden barked at him between pitches, and then, after inducing an inning-ending double play, continued to yell at Rodriguez, "Get off my mound," to which Rodriguez responded with a dismissive wave of the hand. When interviewed after the game, Rodriguez continued to be scornful: "I was a little surprised. I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I've never even heard of that in my career and I still don't know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually." Mr. Rodriguez, you may not want to get too comfortable the next time you're in the batter's box when Mr. Braden is pitching.

Following the Phillies and Eagles in the local press has been fun, especially given their recent successes. Everybody loves a winner, and team success means good things for the city, so they have my support. But recent media coverage about how my two teams are perceived by others in their leagues reminds me where my true sports loyalties lie.

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