Welcome to Football Friday, a baseball column by Connor. Each week I will dive into the previous seven days of baseball news, shout my opinion into the void, discuss some things about the Colorado Rockies, and answer your emails. Some of them.
The best part about sports is the emotion.
You can try to say you are above it, that your fandom reaches a level that leaves you unable to experience the moments that capture our hearts. But, I don't believe you. I know that deep down you live for the crowd erupting during that Bautista home run, you rewind the videos of Holliday's slide in 2007 and watch the dugout pour over the fence to celebrate. I know deep down you live to see those moments. I know this, because it's what the core of fandom is.
The joy and elation that sports give us is nothing short of incredible. Here's this irrational thing, this live reality show where geometry and physics control just as much as the men we cheer for, and we go absolutely insane over it. I've hugged people I never knew and become friends with entire groups of people over sports, I've spent an entire night high fiving strangers over sports, and I make jokes about sports and actually think my life is fulfilling because of those jokes about sports.
But even better than joy or elation, even better than all the memories we've made when sports make us feel those things, is the hate. The pure, unrelenting fury that lives within us during the moments of pain. They say love is the greatest bond, and in the end that's true, but the second greatest bond is gorilla glue and the third greatest bond is hate.
Hate aligns us as allies regardless of anything else. Teens on social media practically become weaponized cluster bombs of hate when they all rally together to be angry at something. This is also true for sports fans.
I love the hate. I love to hate. And I hate freely. I let my hate flag fly, and I hold nothing back. I don't care if you think it's because I'm jealous, I don't care if you wish I could just appreciate a great team or a great player. I will hate and I will announce that hate until my dying breath.
This is the 2016 Map of Hate, a guide to hating the teams in the National League West:
Let's start with the two time defending champions of the division, the silver spoon SoCal goons themselves, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When it comes to the Dodgers, there's actually a lot to like. They have the greatest pitcher alive in Clayton Kershaw, an exciting fireball in Yasiel Puig, and some good young talent that will help promote the league. But what they also have is something I cannot allow. The Dodgers have money. Not just a little bit of money either; the Dodgers have Jordan Belfort an hour and 40 minutes into The Wolf of Wall Street money. They're crashing helicopters and buying up property in Miami just to destroy it.
Money is easy to hate, especially in sports. Money is a band aid for mistakes. It's not that small market teams CAN'T go pay high profile free agents, it's that they have no room for error if they do. The Rockies could sign a $200 million player, but if that guy sucks they might as well just light fields of cash on fire. The Dodgers don't have that razor's edge. It's an uneven playing ground, it makes sports feel unfair, and thus, hating it is easy.
The Dodgers have so much money they've practically created a system where they pay players to play against them. They've essentially laid the building blocks to creating a Harlem Globetrotter type league where they just put all the bad players on the other payrolls so they can send Corey Seager out there to hit a home run with a ball that splits in two so the confused umpire counts it as two runs.
Screw the Dodgers, the team from the city that built itself in such a way that it forgot public transportation might be a thing people need. Los Angeles is famous for making movies and traffic. I lived right outside Manhattan for 9 months and even I saw LA traffic and went "why would anyone live there?"
The Dodgers' only saving grace is that they've almost turned this money thing into a weird lovable losers story. We see them trying so hard to win that when they don't we can't help but feel a little sad for Clayton and Co. It just goes to show that no matter what happens, if you lose enough someone will feel bad for you.
The San Diego Padres
What's up, other bad California sports city? Someone once said that they couldn't think of a city that was less interested in getting an NFL franchise than Los Angeles, but they must've forgotten San Diego existed.
The Chargers ownership deserves no fans, no doubt. But the insane reality that the Chargers had to black out games this century to get fans to watch them is lunacy. The Raiders play in a crappy stadium and haven't been good in 13 years, so they had an excuse. But not San Diego.
The Padres are easy to hate, but not because they're good or anything. Hell, if it wasn't for them tripping over their stupid feet every season the Rockies might look even weirder out here. No, the Padres are easy to hate because they're the ones that the Rockies lose a ton of games to every single year. It's already started. The Padres haven't scored in five games this season, and they've played nine. Three of the other four games were in Colorado, where the Padres scored somewhere between 11 and 14 trillion runs on the Rockies.
Consider the players too, Matt Kemp hasn't hit a home run outside Colorado since the Bush Administration, but you can count on him for about a half dozen every season he's in San Diego. Cory Spangenberg must have a contract clause where if he doesn't ruin my life once a season the Padres get to cut off his toes. I've never seen someone so hellbent on destroying baseballs in Colorado before Cory and Matt and yet, once they hop on the plane to leave town they lose their special powers like some kind of opposite Superman situation.
Arizona has long been the low key hate factory of the NL West. With Kirk Gibson as manager, the team tried to utilize core tenets of the old baseball workbook to win games. This led to them getting in numerous scuffles due to their grit being mistaken for what most people see as "being giant ass holes".
Now grit free, Arizona has decided to make a significant run at the division powers. They signed Zack Grienke, they acquired Shelby Miller, they have a fearsome lineup headed by Paul Goldschmidt. On top of all their annoying grit-based past, they're now easily hated because they have good players. You might think a team being good is a silly reason to hate them, but I would argue that a team being good is actually the only way to hate them. If the Rockies trounced the Diamondbacks 16 times a year would anyone care about them? I would wager no.
Plus, Chase Field is an underrated garbage can of a ballpark. It's a giant box that they dropped a baseball field in.
[Nick Cannon Wild 'N' Out voice] Oooooooooooooooooooh here we go!
The Giants are the Joker to my Batman, the disgusting ketchup to my otherwise perfect hot dog. The San Francisco Giants were created in a lab where they tortured me with images to find the things I hated the most.
It's not just that the Giants are a great team, it's not that they've made a habit of beating the Rockies in the stupidest ways, it's not even that Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey have decided to open up a branch of the No Fun Police in San Francisco.
It's all of these things combined. I've dealt with great teams before, I've dealt with the No Fun Police before, but the Giants are all of these things. They're a whirlwind of pain. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy looks outside her window during the tornado to see the cruel Miss Gulch laughing next to her. If that was me instead of Dorothy I would look outside to see Buster Posey hitting a walk off single that takes a 921-foot bounce over Arenado's head.
Posey is the central core of my hate. This handsome clutch monster from the black lagoon has destroyed countless dreams of mine. He's a career .364 hitter against the Rockies with 17 home runs in just over 300 ABs against the team. You could place his stats against the Rockies as a half season of statistics and he'd be dominating the MVP race. It's even worse at Coors Field, where Posey is a .387 hitter with a 1.067 OPS. There's not a moment in my life where I didn't look at Posey coming to bat and immediately wanted to jump off a bridge. He's only 29, too so we're probably entering the worst time to hate Buster Posey, the peak years where he hits .450/.600/1.400 against us with 70 home runs.
The San Francisco Giants are easy to hate and I will continue to hate them with the fury of a thousand suns forever. I watched the movie San Andreas where AT&T Park gets wrecked by an earthquake, and I CHEERED. I celebrated the destruction of that ballpark. That is how much I hate this team and this franchise. Nothing good for you, San Francisco. Nothing good for you.
★ ★ ★
Has Connor Been Owned (by someone other than Thomas Wilson)? (Celebrity Edition)
Each week, our team of investigators and officials here at Connor, Inc. will look into whether or not Connor was the victim of an "own." For the uneducated, an own is often a comeback or put down that renders the person speechless and unable to turn the conversation around. It's also described as a "serve" or "savage." I'm a medical miracle in that at no point in my life have I been owned by anyone not named Thomas Wilson.
This week is our second ever Celebrity Edition of Has Connor Been Owned? with yet another verified account throwing their hat into the ring to attempt to own me. This week, it's former NFL quarterback and current ESPN bad opinion machine Danny Kanell.
@rockiesVSconnor damn. I see u already won the gold for worst avatar— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) April 9, 2016
Oh screw you, Danny!
First off, it's a good as hell avatar. Seinfeld is great and I'm playing off the rap motto "Thug Life" because instead of being addicted to thuggin, I'm addicted to Seinfeld. It's a quality joke that led to double digit likes on Instagram so you can take your crap and shove it.
Second, here's your career line as an NFL quarterback:
Oh, real solid stuff there Danny.
You might rebuttal with something like "At least I made the NFL, not many people can say that!" And yeah, congratulations on working hard and becoming a professional athlete. Real good... congrats. But you and I both know that doesn't mean you can start throwing around what makes a good avi and what doesn't. Let's create a rule right now that you have to have a completion percentage above 55% to be able to throw around avatar burns like you invented the avatar.
I watched your starts with Denver when Jake Plummer got hurt and I gotta tell you, Danny, you're missing your second read a lot. Maybe it's just the speed of the game that gets to you. I could see that. You're pretty slow with the comebacks too. Maybe I'll remember that you couldn't read corner zone the next time I think about throwing a diss your way.
The committee has ruled unanimously that I was not owned.
Eat it, Kanell.