Dodger Fan Douchecan

I am from Chicago. I am not from Los Angeles. There is no way in hell I am going to be a Los Angeles fan.

That means I do not like the Dodgers. I do not like the Angels either. Further, I cannot stand the Lakers (especially Kobe). The Kings are somewhat innocuous to me, but that’s because I just don’t care much about hockey. Lastly, I think it is absolutely pitiful that a major metropolitan does not have a football team. I also hate the Raiders and the Saints, though – which are apparently the default teams for citizens of southern California.

All that being said, I do not begrudge others for being fans of whatever team they hold allegiance to. When in Chicago, I do not begrudge people that are fans of the opposing teams, or rather that happen to live there but be fans of other areas for whatever the reason may be. My husband grew up in the suburbs of LA, so he is obviously an avid Lakers and Dodgers fan – we even have what he coins a “Dodger wall.” I could care less about the wall or the fanship, but I will not change my team allegiance just because I got married. And I wouldn’t expect him to either.

I know that fans can be ugly in other areas of the country, but I have never seen fans act so nasty and vicious as they do here in Los Angeles. At the first Dodger game I went to, a young woman walked across to her seat in a Giants t-shirt and there was so much food thrown at her that she couldn’t get in her seat without swiping it all on the ground. Another time we went to a game, the Cubs fans sitting in front of us had beer poured on them by Dodger fans in the deck above. Some of the most violent things have happened outside of Dodgers stadium after games as well: people have been stabbed, beat up, shot, and one person has even been killed. Lakers fans are just as bad – who riot if the Lakers lose or win.

So I was running errands today and standing in line at Target when this total douchecan wearing a Dodger hat cut in line in front of me to ask for a price check on a Brita water filter. The price on the screen came up differently than the price he had seen online, though, so we all had to stand there for about fifteen minutes while they argued over this price check. I was pretty annoyed. It wasn’t until about five minutes into the waiting that I realized I knew the guy – he is the husband of an ex-boyfriend’s friend. It’s been years since I was dating the guy (about a decade) so I was surprised I recognized him, but then again how could I forget him? We went on a “double date” one time to a baseball game at one of the local colleges.

I remember it well. He wore a Dodger hat then as well, I a White Sox hat. While it may or may not have been the same hat he was wearing today, he acted like just as much of a self-important dick then as today at Target. We were at a community college game and the guy kept screaming as if he owned the team and had a vested interest in them winning. At one point I remember someone behind us telling him to quiet down; to be honest I was surprised his screaming didn’t get us kicked out. At the end of the game, he capped off his little tirade with “the Dodgers never would play like this – what a sorry bunch of losers these guys are. They’re playing like the White Sox.” We all laughed, awkwardly and he looked at my hat and said “I’m fucking serious.” I remember thinking to myself just who in the fuck goes to a community college baseball game, on a double date no less, and acts like this? A Dodger Fan Douchecan, that’s who.

Ironically, I am going to a game tomorrow at Angel’s Stadium. The White Sox are coming to town and so (of course) we pulled out all of our team gear and are heading down for some beers and baseballs. We needed to find another White Sox shirt to take with, though, since most of what we have is cold-weather clothing and it’s going to be pretty warm tomorrow. So after my encounter with the Dodger Fan Douchecan, I went out searching for a team shirt … only to be confronted with even more Dodger Fan Douchecans in my community.

I went to every sporting goods store in the county: Sports Chalet, Sports Authority, Team Gear in the mall. Team Gear had the closest thing I could find to a non-California team shirt, but they were jerseys for the Heat and the Yankees. They had one Derrick Rose shirt marked down also, but someone was buying it while I was there. At Sports Chalet, I walked in and asked where the team shirts were. I was clearly speaking to another Dodger Fan Douchecan, though.

Me

Hi! Where’abouts in the store do you keep the team shirts?

Dodger Fan Douchecan

The wha?

Me

The team shirts … you know, like the sports teams.

Dodger Fan Douchecan

Oh … what team ‘choo lookin’ for? The Dodgers?

Me

No. I was looking for the White Sox.

Dodger Fan Douchecan

The who?

Me

The Chicago White Sox

Dodger Fan Douchecan

Aw, no man. Only Doyers an’ Angels represented up in here.

Me

Hmm. Okay, well thanks.

Dodger Fan Douchecan to his coworker as I walked out

Man, the nerve. E’rbody know only Angels and Dodger fans allowed up in here. Pssh.

Indeed.

After hitting up the remainder of the stores in the area and getting the same, exact response from all of them, I see now that he’s right. Only Dodgers and Angels fans are allowed up in here.

I suppose in some sense I get it: if the population is primarily made up of a particular fan base, they’d only be losing money to carry merchandise that no one would buy. That really isn’t the point, though. The point is that my experience with Dodger Fan Douchecans is such that I get the impression these people think the Dodgers are where its at in all walks of life. I’m not saying that the Dodgers make people douchecans like this – assholes that will dump beer on someone sitting in front of them, stab a non-fan in the parking lot, and act like a totally self-centered prick in general life. Those people are just assholes, irrespective of the team. But this happens a lot with Lakers fans too, and I presume Angels fans. So is it that these teams attract douchecans?

I’ve only been to Angels stadium once, actually, so it will be interesting to see if they are just as arrogant and pompous as the rest of these people. Given their record this year, I’d hope they know better.

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Well, we can file this under ‘Reasons to Hate the Lakers’

My favorite time of the year has officially begun: basketball season.

Having grown up with my father – a sports writer – I generally dislike most sports. It isn’t that I have a misunderstanding of sports, or that I prefer girly things to the sweaty, meaty masculinity of it all. It’s that I feel like I have been overexposed. My father has written numerous books, countless academic journals and encyclopedia entries, and has published more newspaper articles than even he can count. And the sports he has covered (and thus overexposed me to) have not been discriminating – growing up, I was forced to attend and be an active part of almost every sport you can imagine (with the exception of ping pong). I will never forget the Chicago winters when Friday after Friday I was bundled up to sit for hours in the locker room with my eyes covered; as well as the countless sunburns I got sitting in the aluminum bleachers. So to say that I have been “overexposed” is probably an understatement. Much to my own chagrin, I know more about the ins-and-outs of most sporting events played in the United States than I want to, which is why I generally dislike the majority of them.

Except – of course – basketball. Something about basketball stuck with me through the years. Possibly it is my love of the Chicago Bulls. Very likely it is all the things other than the ball that the game represents. Whatever it is, I love it and now that the lockout is over, the season is upon us.

If it sounds like I’m bragging or rambling – I’m not. Possibly I’m rambling, but really I feel the need to qualify. In my experience, sports have and always will be male-dominated; that includes in the commentary. (And for those of you planning on commenting off on a rail about some random female sports reporter showcased on ESPN: spare me. A few women – bombshells, I might add, for the mainstream male audience to salivate over – does not change the unambiguous fact that sports in America are relatively male dominated.) Even at home I feel like every man in the room pompously believes I don’t understand or know anything about what’s on the television – even when they know my experiences with my dad as a sports writer. Nothing makes me laugh more hysterically (inside, of course) when someone tries to explain to me something about sports as quite a few have referred to “in layman’s terms.” I don’t mean to be as pompous as them and act like I know everything; I mean it is hilarious that I get stereotyped as someone who would know nothing and need to be talked down to.

So we’ve established: I’m at least marginally qualified to talk about this. On to the Los Angeles Lakers, in layman’s terms.

One of the reasons why I love basketball so much is because of the potential it has to help guys get off the streets and out of gangs. You can always tell when a guy has gone from “rags to riches” in the NBA – not only because of the PR campaign telling you about it, but because of the amount he gives back. Nothing is more beautiful than seeing these big, lovable guys giving back to the communities from whence they came. Unlike a lot of other sports, basketball combines more qualities than are even imaginable. Where other sports require skill and passion, basketball is a combination of skill, finesse, agility, talent, personality, respect, philanthropy, and passion. And while the players make an obscene amount of money, and the franchises do need funds to run the teams – the almighty dollar really has little to do with the sport, itself.

So when I see teams like the Los Angeles Lakers – a franchise that is way too big and far too wealthy for its own good – I thoroughly expect to see a good deal of generosity, philanthropy, and (at the very least) fairness in their activities on as well as off court. And while many of them as individuals (e.g. Gasol, Fisher) are among the better people playing in the NBA right now, it is undeniable that the team and the franchise is not any of those things. When I moved to California, rather than seeing an awesome powerhouse of a team that combined skill with general goodness, I saw a bunch of numbskulls cheating on their wives, shouting homophobic slurs during the game, doing very little for the community, and all-around acting like big, overpaid babies.

So what’s new that we can we file under ‘Reasons to Hate the Lakers,’ you ask? Simple: the CP3 scandal.

If you were awake at all yesterday, you know that there was a bit of a scandal over the Lakers franchise deciding to trade Odom and Gasol to acquire Chris Paul (otherwise known as CP3). Of course this was discussed for a while and – while Paul has questionable knee problems – this still seems relatively good for the Lakers, primarily because it would put them in the position of potentially acquiring Dwight Howard as well. The question that was on the tip of my tongue, though, when I learned of this trade was simply: why would the Lakers trade two guys formerly considered ‘franchise superstars’ for one guy that is only so-so?

I’ll tell you why: money and unfairness.

A part of the post-lockout deal was that money paid in luxury taxes for player contracts would be diverted to smaller NBA teams to help even the playing field a little. It is no surprise that there are big teams and small teams and – much in the way our economy becomes more and more divided and seemingly unfair – money continues to create a larger gap between teams that may otherwise be excellent contenders against one another. So while I don’t doubt that the Phil-Kobe franchise wanted to cut costs a little to make some wiggle room for the likes of Dwight Howard to come in, it cannot be denied that an added benefit to the Lakers was to weasel their way out of that $21 million luxury tax that was being paid out on Odom and Gasol’s contracts. As it stands, Dwight was not a given, and even more compelling is that the tax on his and CP3’s contracts would still have amounted to far less than Gasol and Odom’s. Trade two superstars for a guy people call “questionable” to save some money and keep the place on the throne of the NBA? Sounds like a good deal to me! (For the Lakers, that is.)

Of course this is all very conspiracy theory, or at the very least a little overanalytical of the situation. Such ideas wouldn’t come into play, though, if it weren’t for all of the other colossal reasons the Lakers are what is wrong with professional sports to begin with. If they didn’t have a laundry list of negatives (from Kobe’s blatant homophobia, to dirty playing, to acting like poor sports when they encounter a team unequivocally better than them, to Kobe referring to Michael Jordan’s record as “that aint shit,” to the fans that riot for no reason…the list goes on), then people wouldn’t jump to assume just more of the same from the team that has over 11 million Facebook fans, and yet not one unscarred thing about them.

The best part in all of this is that the Laker fans only know how to defend the Lakers and this bogus blunder of an attempted-trade on one of three levels.

First, they try and defend the capitalist aspect (“…well, if the owner wants to cut costs, he should be able to!”), which brings to mind a simple reminder that while basketball is business-like, basketball is and never has been a business (which means it doesn’t get to play by business standards).

When that fails, they move on to innocuous and illogical attacks on anyone speaking against the team – like “Laker hater in the house” or “you so stupid!!” Sure guys…

And then, as a last resort, Laker fans respond when someone says something that is in opposition to and/or is very likely the truth about their team by saying absolutely nothing. I have never heard more silence from Laker fans than when I’ve said something that is without a doubt a pejorative truth about the downsides of the Los Angeles franchise. Keep quiet, ignore the truth; and we never have to admit flaws in our beloved purple and gold.

As a result, I fully expect this blog to go uncommented. But what do I know? I am just a layman, and a woman to boot. I don’t have any experience with basketball, or sports in general at all . . .