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Monday, April 12, 2004

A Lesson in Rooting For a Horrible Team 

I'm not advocating that anyone give up hope in the 2004 Mariners. There's still a LOT of baseball left to be played. But I realize that some readers may have already thrown in the towel, so to speak, on the M's this year. As a service to what I'm sure is a minority of readers, I would like to share my experiences rooting for another (for the most part) futile sporting institution, Washington State University. Cougar basketball, long in decline since the days of Kelvin Sampson, has been pretty pathetic in recent years. Things just haven't been the same since Blue Jays pitcher (and ex-Coug baller) Mark Hendrickson graduated. Attending Cougar basketball games, however, remains an enjoyable experience.

The key, I've found, to enjoying a Cougar game, and by analogy, the games of any lousy team, is to place undue emphasis on the performance of a randomly selected benchwarmer. On the rare occasion that your seat saver gets into the action, act like the championship hangs in the balance and that the only player that can determine its outcome is your guy. If your guy dunks, blocks a shot, gets a steal, whatever, go bananas. Yell. Scream. Wave your arms willy-nilly. Share awkward man-hugs with the guys you came to the game with. The score of the game doesn't matter, live it up, because your guy just made good.

The reason that I bring this up is that I've got an idea brewing. A Quinton McCracken fan club. We can call ourselves the McCracken Heads. Just imagine a group of eight or ten fans in a section wearing their McCracken Head t-shirts

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and going nuts every time Q fields a routine fly ball or takes a pitch for a ball. Q ropes a sure double in BP? The McCracken Heads high five and buy a beer. Q flawlessly handles the ceremonial first pitch? The McCracken Heads rejoyce. Q gets a knock, a REAL, HONEST-TO-GOODNESS base knock, in the REAL game? The McCracken Heads are jumping out of their seats and being warned to cool it by the usher.

I'm still confident that the M's will pull together at least a superficially competitive season, so I'm not quite ready to call myself a McCracken Head yet. But for those of you that feel that all hope is lost, instead of brooding over how great it must be to be an Angels fan or an A's fan, consider my suggestion. I will even let you take my sharp t-shirt design, free of charge.

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