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Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Love That Becomes Faith

Searching for something else on Google today I stumbled across Eric Neel's diary from 2002. Neel wrote this entry on September 10th, when the Dodgers were technically still in the hunt for the postseason, as were... the Angels:
Giants fans are loyal, and they have that peculiar L.A. loathing going for them, so they get a good rabid lather going at a time like this. Dodgers fans (despite what Skip Caray says about them) are schooled in the old ways and loyal to a fault. (They're sometimes cool, but they never waver -- call it the Vin Scully factor.) Your typical A's fan brings a little blue-collar love and anger to the park every night; he's righteous and rowdy.

But make no mistake, there is only one kind of fan worth being right now and that's an Angels fan. ...

It's simple, really: Giants, Dodgers and A's fans can summon stories and memories of past championship glory. They can talk Bobby Thomson, Kirk Gibson and Vida Blue. They can believe in their teams. On those cold, dark nights of doubt and despair, they can console themselves with the knowledge that good things have happened before and convince themselves that those things are the evidence, and the promise, of future glory.

The Angels and their fans, by contrast, have no world championships; they have never even been to a World Series. ... Which means that Angels fans' devotion is utter, pure; it does not lean on the easy proof of past glory, but flies blind and brave in the face of doubt and discouragement. The Angels fan holds on to the stuff of hope. He clings, as the Apostle Paul once said, to the "evidence of things not seen." He does not believe in his team; he has faith in them.

Being a Dodger fan is and has always been a lot easier than being an Angels fan, that's sure. It requires the patience of a saint to cheer for the Red Sox or Cubs. By that same yardstick, Tigers fans near canonization.

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