By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) While taking in my Twitter timeline the other night during what is often severe stretches of boredom during my shifts at the restaurant, I noticed one of my favorite follows and guys with whom I like to ball-bust, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, giving a brief lecture to an ignorant internet broseph (who also happened to be from Vancouver, so that’s kind of expected).
Goldstein was touching on one of my biggest sports pet peeves, and I was glad of it.
@dlbrows tweeted to @kevin_goldstein, “how many teams have Travis d’Arnaud? Boom. Now give us King Felix.”
Goldstein, who shares my joy of baiting the stupid, replied, “Who’s us?”
@dlbrows responded, “Travis d’Arnaud is in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.”
Goldstein then responded: “I’m well aware of that. But they’re not ‘us’.”
“You’re not us. You’re a reporter,” the fan from Vancouver replied.
To which Goldstein replied, “And you’re not a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. I hear D’Arnaud is though.”
So then I tweeted to Goldstein, “went off on the ‘we’ sports crowd a ways back. People get angry when you tell them not to use first person plural.”
That was in reference to a tweet I wrote after Mark Buehrle signed with the Miami Marlins, and I saw the outpouring of love from White Sox fans thanking him for bringing “us” a championship. My tweet was pretty much what Goldstein responded to me: “Only allowed if you get a paycheck from the team.”
As is typical of the end of the year, people begin to formulate their New Year’s resolutions that they will break by February (I don’t make them at all because I don’t understand why January 1st should be the designated time to stop smoking or go on a diet or quit selling erotic photos of 670 The Score personalities—only a few Mitch Rosens left in stock, by the way). If you want an easy one to not break and that will keep you from sounding like a moron, how about trying to stop using “we” and “us” when referring to your favorite sports teams?
See, this may be difficult to grasp, but you are not a member of the Chicago Bears. The Blackhawks do not care about you any more than you can give them money. So why do you feel that you can use first person plural when referring to them?
“But that’s why! I give them money! I can say what I want!”
Well, First Amendment-wise, I guess you’re right. Intelligence-wise, I guess you laugh at Dane Cook.
A team wins and loses games. You root for a team. There is no transitive property there, though.
Your individual rooting has no impact on the outcome of any game. You are not a part of the team, no matter how much an organization panders to your dumbassery by calling you “The Fourth Phase” or “The Twelfth Man” and not “The Idiot We Will Exploit For Financial Gain.”
And, yes, I understand that you buying tickets helps fund payroll. Sort of. Owners write the checks. Lots of fans showing up to games and making ownership money (which doesn’t always happen—many team owners lose money on their franchises regardless of wins and losses) might make the owner more willing to spend, but not necessarily.
Look at how much the Marlins have been willing to shell out this offseason. They were 24th in MLB payroll in 2011. The team was also 28th in attendance in 2011, selling just 48.8 percent of its seats. Money gets spent when those who have it want to spend it, so stop thinking that your ticket and hot dog and eights beers is really putting your favorite team over the hump.
Some of you “we” wees are the fanboy types, too, I know. You still try to get autographs as a grown person from other grown people. And while that is terribly sad, perhaps you have realized when lying to a guy that you’re getting this baseball and bat and pennant and jersey and picture and novelty bottle of wine and bobblehead and your boob signed for your nephew that when you also mention something akin to “When are we gonna sign dat one guy?” you get an odd look or an eye-roll from that athlete.
Athletes do not consider you a peer or pal or really anything more than the weirdo who wants their names on a piece of crap. They do not like you equating yourself with them by saying “we” and “us.” Almost all of them are too polite to really say that, but trust me on that one.
And I when you use those pronouns, do you have any idea how incredibly stupid you sound? Seriously. You know those people who play World of Dorkcraft or those trading card adventure games who really get into it so much to the point where they begin to refer to themselves as the characters in the games or discuss them as though they are real life? That’s you, just in a different environment. That’s your psyche screaming out to the intelligent people of the world “I really wanna be a Chicago Bull and I subconsciously hate my life and express that by living vicariously through entertainment outlets.”
You know when you hear a lady say to another “I can’t believe (Celebrity A) is dating (Celebrity B)” or “What is (Celebrity C) wearing? Is she insane?” That’s you, just in a different environment.
I am a fan of Quentin Tarantino films. I don’t go around saying “We really need to get working on that project that links Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and the Kill Bills into one long storyline.”
As a Kanye and Jay-Z fan, how would it sound if I said “We really should have given the album more of a structural identity”? About as crazy as Kanye, no?
And that reminds me—I rarely hear the “we” and “us” use when the referring to a team negatively, though. Everyone wants to play pretend only when it feels good. Interesting.
Ignorance certainly is bliss, and most stupid people do not understand they are stupid, which is why they remain stupid and produce stupid children, and the cycle perpetuates and reality television and Skip Bayless remain popular. Stupid people also get angry when you point out that they are stupid. It’s tough to grasp, realizing that much of your life has been a walking dry hump. The sooner you come to grips with your own stupidity in this matter, the sooner you will no longer be stupid (unless you enjoy being stupid, which makes you worthy of drowning in a vat of nacho cheese sauce).
So, please, for your own benefit and the benefit of the ears of non-foolish people, stop saying “we” and “us” and “our” and “ours” when referring to the teams you root for.
I’m only trying to help. You’re welcome, and Happy New Year.