The Washington Post Sunday

Rooting for the losing teams

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I would argue that it is up to team management to even the playing field, not Major League Baseball, as Margaret Moorman suggested in her Sept. 7 Tuesday Opinion column, “There’s no crying in baseball, but there is too much losing.” You cannot attribute the Baltimore Orioles’ losses to their low payroll, as the Tampa Bay Rays join them in the bottom five in that area and are ahead of them by 43 games.

I started watching baseball games as a 7-year-old in 1966, enjoying being a fan of a team, the New York Mets, that had been a loser like no other. In that year, the Baltimore Orioles began an 18-year run in which they finished first or second for 15 of them. Growing up with the Orioles being baseball’s perennial winners (I confess their 1969 World Series loss was my joy), I am jarred to see the extent of that reversal.

Loyalty does not depend on winning. The Orioles were not leaders in bringing in fans during the successful run I noted above — that changed in the 1990s with a great ballpark. In Chicago, the White Sox, currently 10 games ahead in first, cannot outdraw the Cubs, 20 games out of first, at the gate.

If winning were everything, as a New Yorker, I would have chosen to be a Yankees fan. This may be a rationaliz­ation, but maybe those of us who usually lose appreciate our success more.

Jeffrey B. Freedman, New York

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