Either With the Twins or Against Them
Someone asked me the other day if I was happy that the Twins could potentially make the playoffs while Johan Santana, their fantastic ex-pitcher and his new team the Mets, miss the playoffs. My answer was that yeah, I suppose so, but to be honest I really haven't been following Santana anymore. This surprised some people, but when it comes to baseball, I don't follow other teams closely.
Long before the Bush Doctrine, I had my own Max Univers Doctrine which applied to baseball players. Just as Bush unilaterally claims countries are either "with us or against us", I have long said that baseball players are either "playing for the Twins or against the Twins." What that means is that anyone who plays for the Twins is cool, and anyone who doesn't is a punk. Period.
And it doens't matter if a player used to play for the Twins, and has moved on elsewhere. One he leaves, he's dead to me at least in terms of rooting interest. For example, Jack Morris played for the Tigers for many years during the '80s, and pitched against the Twins in the 1987 playoffs. At the time, he was a bum. Then he played one year for the Twins and led them to a World Series title. For that one year, he was a great guy. Then he left and signed with Toronto, and he was a bum again. I remember booing him just seven months after his epic Game Seven performance for the Twins, purely because he was now the enemy.
My college roommate John will recall me turning my back on Chuck Knoblauch when he demanded a trade out of Minnesota. As the Twins best player, I had a Knoblauch poster on my dorm room wall (amongst other, more *ahem* collegiately appropriate wall decorations). The day he left the team for the Yankees, that poster came down. My memory is a little hazy, but I think I recall a game of Triple Play 98 on Playstation where I made the opponent play as the Twins, and then threw four consecutive pitches at Virtual Chuckster's head.
In more recent times, you have the cases of Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, both of whom departed over the offseason. In Hunter's case, I pretty much thought he was a punk even though he played for the Twins, due to his constant public ripping of teammates and management. In Santana's case, he got the Knoblauch treatment.
My Santana jersey t-shirt went to Goodwill in February. The next month, when I was playing against my brother in a game on the Wii, he played as the Mets. Santana blew out his elbow in the third inning, and I cheered. Doesn't matter that he is the greatest pitcher of his generation and his best years came with the Twins. He plays elsewhere now, so its of no concern to me.
That's why I can't play Fantasy Baseball (among other more sensible reasons, time being chief among them). I can't root for players on other teams. Not in baseball. No sir.