There are five keys to getting the most from a bad team. For those who have never known one, or those who have forgotten, here they are.
...Hate the right players
Maybe a player doesn’t hustle; maybe he hustles ostentatiously. He might have a dumb habit, like bouncing curves in the dirt with runners on third, or reaching over across the plate and into the other batter’s box for sliders. Whatever it is, when your team is good, you can’t abandon yourself to your loathing, because you want him to do well.
When your team is bad, though, you have full license to hope he does poorly. Do David Robertson’s high socks drive you mad? Have you had to restrain yourself from rushing at Joba Chamberlain with a razor and shaving off his mustache? Openly pulling for them to blow the game could be satisfying.
Harbor secret fantasies
There’s nothing wrong with looking at the standings in the morning and quickly figuring how soon your team can reach its magic number when they’re 10 games up in the standings going into September. There’s even less wrong with doing math showing how they could win a division title when they’re down 20 in late May.
Similarly, calling into WFAN proposing a Travis Hafner plus minor prospects for Miguel Cabrera deal when your team is cruising to another playoff berth just feels crass. Doing the same when they’re on the verge of mathematical elimination—and touting figures that show the trade could, if everything works out just right, win them the second wild-card spot—is something different.