In 2014, the American League Central will look to bring the World...
On Favorite Players
Last night the Mariners beat down Phil Hughes and knocked him out of the first inning. Raul Ibanez even hit a grand slam off of him. The Mariners went on to win by a score of 12-2, and normally a win like this is something special, but this win was something extra special. Why you might ask? Is it because they beat the Yankees? Yes that is special but not extra special. Is it because the Mariners are now tied for second in the AL West? No, although that is exciting it is still very early in the season and the Mariners are still a ways behind the Rangers. The reason it was extra special, is because Phil Hughes is a close friends favorite baseball player. Suck it Tario!
Now your immediate thought is why the hell would anyone’s favorite baseball player be Phil Hughes? He is not very good, he has never had a big moment in a big game, and he is not particularly special in any way. He is even a pretty moderately handsome guy. He is nothing special.
That’s the beauty of favorite players. Oftentimes they are not the best looking, big game hitting, best overall players around. They oftentimes are those players, but if you think about all your friends and their favorite players, you will without a doubt come upon a no name dime-a-dozen replacement quality player amongst the bunch. I can think right now and tell you one friend of mine had Jeff Cirillo as his favorite player until he left the league, then had Jeremy Reed as his favorite player. Not only were these players short lived Mariners, but they were both horrible Mariners as well.
So let’s look at some of the reasons why people choose their favorite players.
First and foremost, people can choose their favorite ballplayers because they are winners. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Felix Hernandez, Ken Griffey Jr. All of these players are the best at what they do, or were the best at what they did. They are all good looking guys and win baseball games. (Felix wins guys, I swear) It is pretty simple why someone would choose these types of players as their favorite, they get to feel good every time these players do something good, which is more than the rest of the league. If Jeter was my favorite player, I would feel like I won a bunch of championships and dated the hottest women on the planet to some degree, those are nice feelings.
Second, people choose favorite ballplayers because they share a similarity to them. For a while I was very fond of Mike Lieberthal. He never played for my favorite team and never was that great of a player but, he was a defensive Jewish catcher, and that was the type of player I was. It was as if a future version of me was playing for the Phillies. For other people its simpler. They might look like that player, they might play their favorite position on their favorite team, or they might have come from the same city or neighborhood. Again it makes us as fans feel good when these players do something good. If I’m similar to these players than it’s almost like I did these awesome things.
Third, there are moments that create favorite players. The first game Mike Cameron played as a Mariner was a huge one for him. He was involved in the trade that sent Griffey to the Reds and he needed to do something to make Mariners fans not hate him. Early on in the game, Cameron robbed a home run. From that moment on he was a favorite among mariners fans. He also had a four home run game later in his Mariners career which also contributed to him being many fans’ favorite player. Moments like these- a walk off home run, a great catch in the outfield, striking out 15 in a game- can create favorite players. This type of player is all about remembering the past and not being connected to the player in the future. You already have your feel good moment or moments.
Lastly, you have your no connection at all, no explanation given for why a player is a fan’s favorite. These are tough to describe. Some, like Phil Hughes or Jeremy Reed, seem like they could fall under this category, but both of my friends had their moments, and similarities to them. However, these type of favorites do exist. Next time someone tells you their favorite player is some no name 40 man roster call up, ask them why. If they cant tell you a reason then this is it. Fandom and liking things or people are not always explainable, there will be times in your life when you have know idea why you feel a certain way but you know you feel that way nonetheless. Don’t try to explain it, just go with it. Feelings do not need to be explained, especially about some silly sport where a wooden stick and leather coated ball are involved. I know I can’t explain truly why I love this sport so much and I don’t feel the need to try to explain it, but I do love baseball still.