Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why She's Probably Rooting Against You

In the beginning of Major League, Indians’ General Manager Charlie Donovan meets with new owner Rachel Phelps to hear her vision for the team.  As he tries to wrap his head around her outrageous plan to decrease attendance to the point where she could opt out of her lease and relocate the team to Miami, it hits the heart-broken Donovan like a 95-mph fastball to the ribs.

“What are you saying? You want us to lose?”

Phelps isn’t the first woman to secretly root against the team she’s supposed to love.  And she won’t be the last.  After all, it’s sound strategy for girlfriends who – let’s be honest – can only take so much baseball.  Losing leads to sadness, and sadness leads to disinterest.   

And disinterest leads to her getting the clicker.

On a night the Mets win, I excitedly stay tuned for the postgame, pore over the box score, and even tolerate Baseball Tonight

But on nights they lose, I check out completely.  “Sure, babe, turn on Anthony Bourdain.  Heck, turn on Real Housewives.  It’s fine.  I’ll read the paper.”

The game doesn’t even need to be over for our interest to wane.  My friend Chad has what he calls “the 3-run rule”: He stops watching the Red Sox if they fall behind 3 runs or more.  “It’s just not enjoyable,” he says.  My threshold’s slightly higher than that, but still, other than hearing Keith, Ron, and Gary take calls from Jimmy in Long Island and Seth in White Plains, there’s not much to love about games the Mets are getting pummeled.

(Does this make us fair-weather fans, by the way?  I don’t think so.  It's like when your dog cuts himself and has to wear a lampshade on his head so he won’t lick the wound.  You still love him – you’d just prefer not to see him that way.) 

In the end, of course, the too-heartwarming-to-fail Indians turn things around, fans come out in droves, and Phelps’ devious plan is foiled.  But the average girlfriend isn’t thinking so big.  She doesn’t want to steal your team.  She doesn’t even want you to be sad.  All she wants is a night without baseball.

Can you really blame her for that?