Loria Purchases Mets, Holds Fire Sale, Moves Team To Sacramento

What would it take for me to stop being a Mets fan?

I started thinking about that after two other blogs made me think “If I weren’t a Mets fan, I could definitely see myself as a fan of the blanks“.

Wrigley Wax showed off 60 years of Cubs programs that got me thinking about the North Siders…

…and Tru School Sports got me thinking about the Rays.

Before I get into the teams I might get behind if I were no longer a fan of the Mets (or Orioles), I’m going to speculate what it would take to get me to stop being a Mets fan.

Some people would stop being a fan if their team left town, but I left town first and I live several hundred miles away, so that’s not really a factor.  I suppose if they moved out to the West Coast then games would start late at night for this East Coast boy, and I’d also have fewer chances to see them as the road team.  Sacramento is the largest west coast market without an MLB team, so I’ll pick on them for this exercise.

The Wilpons are not the greatest owners on the face of this Earth, but there’s always the “At least the Mets aren’t owned by Jeffrey Loria” factor… especially if the team holds a Marlins-style fire sale as part of the process.  Barring a clone of the late George Steinbrenner, this would be my greatest ownership fear.

Another nail in the coffin would be to get the uniforms designed by whomever it is at Nike who comes up with those constantly changing but unerringly fugly Oregon Ducks football uniforms.  I’m thinking black, silver, midnight green and blood red uniforms with chrome helmets.

Finally, to really drive me away, they’d have to pick some gimmicky name for the team like the SacTown RivvaHawkzz Of Sacramento.

OK, that was a lot of setup, let’s get to the main point… Which teams could I see myself being a fan of?

1)  Chicago Cubs
I gravitate towards underdogs, and from an underdog standpoint, are the Cubs really that much different from the Mets?

However, that’s not what makes me think it would be fun to be a Cubs fan.  It seems like the Cubs have always had a good relationship with their dedicated fanbase… Even if the on-field product is weak, they know how to treat the people who ultimately pay the bills.

1972 Topps Don Kessinger

There’s also those abso-freakin’-lutely beautiful program covers the Cubs had for three decades.

Not to mention Wrigley Field, known here as “Cadaco All-Star Baseball Field”.
Cadaco All Star Baseball

2)  Tampa Bay Rays

1979 Joe Maddon

I’ve mentioned that I like underdogs… So tell me what other team can, within the past 5 years,  have 5 straight winning seasons, play in a World Series, win the division twice and despite all that, still be underdogs?  Besides that, I just like the way they do business… They play the game right, run the team right, treat their few fans well.  What’s not to like?

3)  Minnesota Twins
1980 Topps Geoff Zahn

I’ve never been to Minnesota, but over the years it seems like a lot of players have taken less money to sign with the Twins, and that makes me think it must be a nice place to play… Plus I love the “TC” caps.

4)  Pittsburgh Pirates
1972 Topps Milt May
I’ve mentioned here numerous times before that I have a sort of mini-crush on the Pirates going back to childhood… And since I’m a Steelers fan, it wouldn’t be a stretch to switch to another Pittsburgh team… and unlike Minnesota, I’ve been to Pittsburgh.  Well, OK, fine… I drove through Pittsburgh.  Squirrel Hill Tunnel, baby!

5)  San Francisco Giants
1973 Topps Chris Speier

When I lived on Long Island, people would sometimes ask me what team I would’ve been a fan of had the Dodgers and Giants not left for the West Coast.  My answer has always been the Giants, mainly because my mother had been a Giants fan back in the day, and I just couldn’t picture myself as a Yankees or Dodgers fan.  It’s probably academic, because if the Dodgers & Giants hadn’t left town together, it was pretty likely that the Giants would’ve left by themselves, maybe to Minneapolis where their top farm team was in the 1950’s.  At any rate, I feel a tiny, tiny little connection to the Giants.

Honorable Mention:  I have friends who are fans of these teams, and through those friends I’ve seen the appeal of following these teams (in order by city):  Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays

So, what about you?  What would it take for you to stop cheering for your current team? If your team were to suddenly become the SacTown RivvaHawkzz or the Buffalo Snow, what would you do?

Ladies And Gentlemen, Your 1979 Tampa Bay Rays! (Wait, What?!?)

The card is a custom, but the photo is real. On June 30th, the Rays and Tigers will throwback to 1979.

You say the Rays didn’t exist in 1979?  Pfft.  Technicalities.

The original image was tweeted by the Rays on Wednesday.  The uniform is fun, but it is “inspired” by the late 1970’s Padres uniforms in the same way that Upper Deck Vintage was “inspired” by Topps – I’m sorry,  I meant O-Pee-Chee,  how silly of me – designs.  Check it out…
1979 Topps #679 - Derrel Thomas - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
The cap logo isn’t all that dissimilar from the Brewers logo of the same vintage.
1979 Topps #95 - Robin Yount - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
I expected the “fauxback” uniforms to be derivative, but this was a skosh more than I’d expected.  Even so, I’m glad the Rays are having fun with this.  I could so easily see myself as a Rays fan if I weren’t already a fan of the Mets and Orioles; the Rays stay competitive without buying mega free agents every year, they’ve got a great manager, likeable players, goofy promotions like this…  What’s not to like?

About the custom card:
I had already been working on a series of “Double throwback” customs – throwback uniforms on throwback cards – so when I saw the image of Joe Maddon, I said “Aw, HELL YEAH!!!”

This would technically be a custom 1979 Burger King card, because if I did a Joe Maddon 1979 Topps card, his photo would’ve been reduced to a little circle at the bottom of a team card, and what fun would that be?

Just for grins, I borrowed (and cloned to death) some background from the 1979 Len Randle card I used as source material, so Joe gets an authentic period tilted background. I point that out so that it gets the proper admiration it deserves.

The fonts used are Arial Black, which isn’t quite right but is close enough.  When all else fails, use Arial.

The blue in “Joe Maddon MGR”  is actually a lighter shade of blue than is used in “RAYS”;  I thought this would work out better than it did and reflect the colors in the fauxback, but it didn’t quite.  If I went back and did this over, I’d change the “Joe Maddon” color, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this one image.