Being a free agent fan myself…I doff my ill-fitting Kirward Derby.
I’m finished being a sucker. Like many liberated fans, I no longer care about teams as much as individual players.
This is part of a gradual, but unmistakable shift that began decades ago when free agency set players loose and sports franchises started moving from one city to another. Until recently, however, fans were stuck with the local team and its roster.
Now, if you’re a Pujols fan in St. Louis, where he hit 445 homers and batted .328 over the last 11 years, you can root for him just as easily with his L.A. team. You can see every game he plays on satellite TV or computer and read details of his performance on Internet blogs. You can still have him on your fantasy baseball team. And you can frequent his website (Pujolsfive.com), like him on Facebook, or follow his tweets (@PujolsFive).
Many fans are still inclined to think of the local team as being “us,” in a civic-minded sort of way, overlooking the fact that pro athletes and their employers are in the entertainment business. Nothing wrong with that. But the notion that fans should slavishly root for a particular team no matter who it hires or where it opts to play is passé.
...But that’s it. I refuse to be part of, say, the Red Sox Nation as if it deserved the same allegiance as an actual country, and if the score disappoints me, I won’t bleed Dodger Blue.