There are many similarities between baseball and football in the Palmetto State. In both sports, the Gamecocks and Tigers have nationally ranked programs. Clemson has a national title in football, and Carolina has two in baseball. Both consistently make each sport’s post-season and recruit well for the future. In other words, both schools are good in both sports!
The fan bases of garnet and orange seem to be comfortable with this notion in baseball. My friends of orange ilk and I seem to talk differently in the spring to each other. The tone is relaxed, enjoyable and we all seem to be secure enough in our own team to be objective about our rivals. Unlike football, a positive comment about one team doesn’t automatically have to be answered by a similar comment about the other team. (A fun experiment I have done many times if you are skeptical)
Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean there is “no rivalry” in baseball. The crowds are bigger and rowdier when the 2 teams meet and the players and coaches get after it as they should. I just don’t see the “nastiness” in the spring that flows in the fall. Baseball has it right.
Granted, football is and always will be King in the South, so it’s not surprising that there is a higher level of passion on the gridiron. College baseball has advanced light years in popularity in my lifetime, but it still is a distant 2nd to football. That is not going to change, and that’s fine. But why is it just so ugly and nasty all the time in football?
If you don’t think this is true, just check Facebook or Twitter during football season. When one team loses a game, here is what you’ll see lots of from the other fans: “Where are all the ____ fans now? They are sure quiet now. HA HA HA!” Then when their team loses, you see back the same thing in return. Then the original person says something like, “I just don’t understand why ____ fans take such pleasure in my team losing!” And let me clear up any doubt, both sides do it equally even though both fan bases believe that the other team’s fans do it more. They’re both wrong! (Side note: You people who pull for your rival to lose more than for your team to win, seriously consider getting help or finding a new hobby!)
Seriously, if both teams stay consistently good in football, this problem may take care of itself. Over time, the baseball rivalry tone may become the norm for kickoffs also. I hope so. There is just no need for it to be so dadgum personal. I have seen friendships and families affected by it and that is just sad.
When I started this blog, one of my goals was to illustrate through example how you can poke fun at your rival without getting all dark and mean about it. I have my Moo U articles every week to do this, and they have been a big success with both sets of fans. I have only had one “formal” negative complaint from a Tiger so far and it wasn’t even about a Moo U article. Thanks to everyone, Garnet, Orange and other who read The Cockabooster! I will continue to show you can have the passion and fun without the hate. J