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John Oliver: ‘Being a Yankee fan was the wrong thing to do morally’


Like a lot of Americans who are looking for a sport to follow when it’s not baseball season, I have dipped my toe in soccer on occasion over the years. I’ve never really gotten into it because I simply seem to be unable to find room in my life, brain and heart for a second sport at this point in my life, but I’ve come closer to picking up the English Premier League as a habit than anything else in the past few years.

Of course, the issue every American faces when they want to get into soccer from another country is what team to root for. And there are a number of theories and a lot of advice big time soccer fans will give newbies when it comes to picking an allegience.

Some will try to make analogies to baseball teams, such as, “If you like the Dodgers you should like Arsenal because both are usually pretty good but both tend to disappoint you in the end.” Some suggest that, if you have any ancestry in England you can pick a club near where your roots are. I’ve got British blood on both sides of my family, but the most recent relative from there is a great grandmother who was born in West Bromwich in the West Midlands. The problem there is that the West Brom club (a) got relegated last year and failed to make it back to the Premier League this year; and (b) I’m told they are rather boring and tedious to watch in any event. So, sorry great grandma Alice, I won’t be picking them up either.

Beyond those sorts of considerations, the thing you hear most often is that you can’t root for certain clubs because it’s simply wrong to do it. I’ve heard this about Manchester United, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, and Liverpool on various occasions, with all of them being compared either to the Yankees or the Red Sox. Whether that’s because of their success, their financial dominance or, in the case of Liverpool, having the same dang ownership group as Boston, I’ve been told that it’s simply morally wrong to pick up one of those teams. They don’t need new fans, I’m told, or my support and backing of them would make me a frontrunner or something. I don’t have any idea how valid those notions are — I’m sure some EPL fans will explain it all in the comments — but you hear them a lot.

And now we learn that it goes both ways.

Talk show host and actor John Oliver was at the Mets game yesterday wearing a Mets cap and the crew came down to interview him. Oliver is English, has only been in this country for 13 years and was not any sort of a baseball fan before coming here. He has since married an American and lives here permanently, so like any smart person he has become a baseball fan. Good job, John!

But why a Mets fan?

As the kids say today: where is the lie?

Report: Martinez, Nationals agree to contract extension

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WASHINGTON — Manager Dave Martinez and the Washington Nationals have agreed to work out a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the club beyond next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

Martinez led the Nationals to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 2019, his second season as the team’s skipper.

When he initially was hired, Martinez signed a three-year deal with a club option for 2021 that had not yet been picked up by the Nationals.

After a title defense slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, Washington was 23-34 and last in the NL East before facing the New York Mets on Friday night.

It’s the second game of a season-ending four-game series at Nationals Park.

Martinez was sporting his World Series ring on his right hand when he spoke to reporters via a video chat before word emerged Friday afternoon of a change to his contract.

“The coaching staff and myself decided to wear it for the last week of the season, so we’ve been wearing it this whole week. It’s kind of cool,” Martinez said about his ring. “Come Sunday, it goes off and goes back in its little shiny box. But it’s kind of nice to look down and look at it.”

Asked earlier in the week whether he would like his up-in-the-air contract status resolved before the season ends, Martinez said his agent and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had been discussing the matter.

“I love it here. I don’t see myself going anywhere else,” Martinez said then. “I appreciate the family. I appreciate this organization. We’ve built a special relationship here, so I hope I get a chance to stay for many, many years.”

Then he paused for five seconds before adding: “The sooner, the better, though.”