My name is Parker Fleming. I’m a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan. Not to worry, I’m no champion of “The Cardinal Way” or one of the Best Fans in Baseballtm, I just was born and raised wearing Cardinal Red. I watch on average perhaps six to ten baseball games a week during the summers, and I live for the season.
As of late, I’ve arrived at a precarious juncture in my baseball fandom. After four straight years of the club with whom I nominally affiliate making the National League Championship series, I’ve taken struggle in baseball for granted. Sure, my Cardinals had their share of tight spots, rallies, and moments of despair, but as the results of the last four season have demonstrated, their success was never truly in doubt. And so, as this caliber of performance, this “Devil Magic” that the Cardinals possess and prove consistently became a staple of the sport, I found my appreciation of the League at large growing, and I allowed myself to indulge briefly in a few storylines. I watched Buck and the Orioles to see what Machado would do next. I watched the A’s dominance late at night (I’m in CST) all last year. I watched the Rangers, attempting to bond with my college friends and their allegiances. Ultimately, those interests have been fleeting and flippant, easily dismissed.
But this year I’ve decided to take on the League in a new fashion.
I’m not renouncing my Cardinals fandom – far from it – but I am attempting to see Major League Baseball through a few different lenses. In an effort to inspect the League at large, I will live this season as a devoted follower and fan of the Colorado Rockies organization. I will watch or listen to as many Rockies games as humanly possible, attempting to walk in another organization’s shoes.
Now, after last season, this isn’t a sexy pick – I easily could’ve been rewarded more by appropriating the Chicago teams, or the Nationals, or even the Mariners – and so I hope that my attempt will come in earnest. I want to live through the struggles and joys of another club just to come into contact with another fan base. I did come up with a dismissive list of why other teams didn’t work out for me.
- All AL teams – I am staunchly opposed to the Designated Hitter. Pitchers should have to stand in and take pitches. It’s part of manhood, or something.
- NL Central – The only team I truly flirted with in this division was the Pirates, just because Kang Jung-Ho is so darn adorable, and Cutch (the man I literally wrote in on my ballot in the most recent local election… in Tennessee). Otherwise, they can all go wallow in their misery alone.
- The Dodgers are somewhat of a tough sell – I always appreciate an excuse to listen to more Vin Scully, but also I just can’t get used to the taste of a team from such a large, non-baseball city.
- The Diamondbacks: I’m not trying to let Tony LaRussa back into my life.
- San Diego actually offered me a deal to play CF, so, conflict of interest.
- Dam the Giants.
- I refuse to root for a Mets team without Endy Chavez on it.
- The Nationals are too good. That’s band-wagoning.
- The Marlins are actually a superb storyline this year. Maybe I should – (sees the dancing outfield display) – nope, I have a bit of decency left.
I really did pick the Rockies for three main reasons.
- One of my best friends and maybe one of three real baseball fans who live in my city is a lifelong and informed fan.
- They are the bottom of the barrel. There’s no posturing, no pretense, just an authentic group of hope-holders, looking for a reclamation of a fleeting and distantly past glory.
- Rockies twitter is easily one of the weirdest and most entertaining sects of the Internet.
Additionally, my aim is not to meander through more “cutting edge” statistical takes or to simply provide an overload of insignificant facts and figures to impress readers. No, my purpose is to dust off the simple joy of following a baseball club, of appreciating a striking sunset over Coors Field as the home team takes the field, of watching young pitchers enter a struggle for relevance and permanence in the league, and to empathize with losses, mistakes, and strife. Weekly, I’ll discuss freely a notable moment from the week, big questions, and my favorite social media interactions. I hope to capture the salient emotions, observations, and amusement that come with living and dying by a baseball team.
I’m looking forward to enjoying this year of baseball with all of you, and I’m especially excited about being afforded the opportunity to borrow your collective perspective and lens as fans of the Colorado Rockies.