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Is it OK to be a fair-weather fan?


Derek Thompson of the Atlantic wrote an article that is probably going to piss a lot of you off. It’s about how being a fair-weather fan is, actually, the ethically superior position compared to being a loyal fan of your hometown nine. Or five. Or eleven or whatever.

Thompson grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs in the 1990s, but he became a Yankees, Colts and Heat fan, in large part because they were winning teams with likable stars. He’s apologized for being one of those guys — not as bad as being a Yankees-Cowboys-Bulls-Duke fan, but still a pretty good showing! — but now he’s done apologizing and is making the case that it’s an OK thing to do. Maybe even the best thing to do:

What I’m proposing here is a theory of fluid fandom that would encourage, as opposed to stigmatize, promiscuous sports allegiances. By permanently anchoring themselves to teams from their hometown or even an adopted town, sports fans consign themselves to needless misery. They also distort the marketplace by sending a signal to team owners that winning is orthogonal to fans’ long-term interests. Fluid fandom, I submit, is the emotionally, civically, and maybe even morally superior way to consume sports.

Given all of the stuff I’ve written about the ethics of ownership, the business of sports and the idea that we should take the players’ sides over that of management, I’m obviously amenable to this argument on some level. I don’t think I could actually bring myself to do that, of course — I remain a Braves fan and, at most, flirt with alternative and secondary fandom for various reasons — but I get where he’s coming from.

There are obvious problems with setting your sports fandom up this way, not the least of which involves it being pretty exhausting to keep ethical tabs on everyone and everything you take an interest in. Sure, I generally know which ballplayers are in legal trouble or which have said questionable things or have taken questionable ethical positions at any given time, but that’s because I do this for a living. Expecting sports fans to know if the guys they root for are as good, better or worse than the guy who owns the team in your hometown is a bit much. Say what you want about the tenets of rooting for laundry, but at least it’s a more easily assumable ethos.

Still, lots to chew on here. And, even if you don’t agree with Thompson, the chewing is pretty fun.

Clay Buchholz makes first major league start in over a year

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The Diamondbacks selected the contract of pitcher Clay Buchholz from Triple-A Reno ahead of Sunday’s game against the Mets. It marked Buchholz’s first major league start since April 11 last season (also against the Mets) when he was a member of the Phillies. Shortly after that start, he was diagnosed with a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass and he ended up not being able to pitch the rest of the season.

Buchholz signed a minor league deal with the Royals but he opted out of his contract at the beginning of this month. The Diamondbacks signed him to a minor league deal a few days later, needing depth with a depleted starting rotation. Buchholz made two starts for Reno before getting the call Sunday.

Buchholz, 33, pitched well on Sunday against the Mets, lasting five innings and limiting the opposition to a run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. His only blemish was allowing a solo home run to Amed Rosario leading off the sixth. He was immediately relieved by T.J. McFarland afterwards.

It is not yet clear if Buchholz will get another turn through the D-Backs’ rotation.