Michael Schwimer Wrote a Letter to Grantland Asking if it was OK to be a New York Giants Fan

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This happened.

Katie Baker, the former Deadspin contributor who was poached by Bill Simmons for his Grantland dream team, writes a weekly mailbag on the ESPN-backed site. In yesterday’s column, in which a picture of Eli Manning headlined the lengthy read, the final letter Baker addressed was from a Michael S.

OK– so what?

Michael S., a Yankees, Giants, and Knicks fan… who was called up by the Phillies last year.

Hello, Schwim.


Here’s what he wrote: [Grantland.com]

My dad was born and raised in the heart of New York City. He is a diehard fan of the Yankees, Giants, and Knicks. Just like any other kid with a diehard New York sports fan dad, I was brainwashed from a very early age to live and die with New York sports. My dad and I bond the most over sports and going to events. We went to Lambeau Field for the 2007 NFC Championship game, and now to this Super Bowl.

Long story short, I got drafted by the Phillies, and got called up for a month and a half this past season. My love for the Yankees has disappeared but my love for the Giants and Knicks is as strong as ever. I also have fallen in love with the city of Philadelphia and truly believe they are the best baseball fans in the country. The last thing I ever want to do is lose support from these fans, but I love the Giants. So am I allowed to outwardly root for the G-MEN or do I have to keep that to myself because I happen to be employed by the Phillies?

— Michael S.

Baker offered a response in which she compared Schwim’s conundrum to Sister Wives. So, between that reality and the fact that she’s a Mets fan, I’m declaring her unqualified to weigh in on such provincial manners.

My response to Schwim is after the jump.

In short, yes. Thank you for writing me. I know we’ve had our differences, Michael. Like that one time where you Twitter scolded me for misspelling your name in a post about your smoking hot bodybuilder girlfriend. But we move on, and I applaud you for caring about such irrational, yet necessary, matters.

Perhaps you’ve seen the negative reaction some in this city have had to otherwise capable athletes like Mike Richards (Yankees hats), Shane Victorino (Cowboys Tweets), or, more recently, James van Riemsdyk (Eli Manning Tweets) and DeSean Jackson (Lakers and Kings gear at a Sixers games). 

I’m sure that I’m leaving out a few, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. 

Perhaps the insults and obscenities hurled toward those folks spooked you. After all, you’re still trying to cement your spot with the big club, and the last thing a middle reliever wants to do is piss off a demanding, dare I say “fickle,” fan base.

But your situation is different from most mentioned above. I’ve been known to take issue with those folks for their seemingly arbitrary rooting interests. We had a problem with Mike Richards wearing Yankees caps, because he had no – zero, none, zilch – connection to New York. He just wore them because they were cool, even though he and his buds routinely attended Phillies games.

We had a problem with Shane Victorino’s Cowboys Tweets. Why? Because Shane Victorino is from Hawaii. His only rationale for being a Cowboys fan was their pretty star and that whole "America’s Team" thing. Total violation.

More recently, DeSean Jackson, a Los Angeles native, showed up at a Sixers game in Lakers and Kings gear. There would be no issue with him pulling for his hometown team if he wasn’t, generally speaking, a jackass. He’s done little, if anything, to show that he gives two shits about or understands the fans in this town. He seemingly has been given courtside tickets by the team, denied a fluffy interview request from Matt Cord (who was going to walk-him-in softballs), and then, on Monday, showed up looking like a thug in Lakers gear, completely oblivious to the fact that he was already on thin ice with fans.

You, Michael, aren’t from New York, but were raised by your father to be a fan of his hometown teams. We can relate. Such familial influences are often the main reason why we’re sports fans, Philly fans. So I applaud your caring. 

Many folks will think such questions or cares are completely unfounded and based in irrationalities– they are, but so are all things sports. The very fact that anyone is reading this, is, in and of itself, irrational. We pay thousands of dollars and spend countless emotional capital rooting for people from around the globe who we will likely never meet. All in the name of what? An arbitrary confirmation of our irrational wants and desires. As such, the folks who invest their hard-earned time and emotions into teams and players would like to know that the people on the receiving end give a couple of shits about their feelings. Which it seems like you do, Michael. And for that, we thank you. Just don’t go tweeting about how great Eli is… because then things might get ugly.


Baker’s response is below:

"Long Story Short, I Got Drafted by the Phillies" sounds like Bill Bryson's next work of participatory journalism (which I would excitedly preorder, obviously), but I'll also accept it as a throwaway line in my first mailbag letter from a professional athlete. Hello there! Not sure if you and/or anyone else watches Sister Wives, but it had a great reality show wrinkle in time a season or so back during which they spent numerous episodes agonizing about whether or not to "go public" with their polygamy — when, clearly, they obviously already had gone public or else how would I be watching them agonize about it on a show called Sister Wives in the first place, you know? Anyway, my point is, your question kind of reminds me of Sister Wives: You're already out in the open and now there's no point in hiding it.

Sooner or later, everyone has to learn that there are two types of sports fans: those who intrinsically understand that it's unreasonable to assume any particular athlete would have grown up as a fan of their team; and those who are certain to spit things like "He stinks. He's a Giants fan, what do you expect?" in angry earnest down the road. But regardless of whom you're dealing with, it's best at this point to remain gracious in victory, because it's hard to say how long it will endure. I say this not as any sort of reverse jinx, but rather because any fan of any NFC East team knows this much to be true: No one lasts too long on top. There's as good a chance as any that the Eagles could knock the Big Blue right down to size next season. And if/when that happens, it's going to be annoying enough without a horde of I-told-you-so-ing Philly fans getting all up in your face. (Just don't wear a Giants shirt into a Wawa.)

Here's a recent and relevant precedent that you can use in your favor, if needed: The Giants' own resident salsa dancer, Victor "they're not booing, they're saying" Cruuuuuz,not only outed himself as a longtime Cowboys fan this December, he did so in the most potentially damaging way possible: by lamenting how he "was pretty upset when we lost to the Giants a couple of years back when I was in college." That's right, He used the "loyal we." The sound bite made headlines, but Giants fans were secure enough to know it really wasn't that big a deal. And after the Giants won the Super Bowl, the New York Rangers' Brian Boyle, a noted New Englander, was revealed to have obviously engaged in a pro-Patriots bet. Rangers fans understood. So you've got leverage over Philly fans in that respect: If they give you any trouble, it's just proof that they're vastly inferior to their counterparts in New York. Let's go Mets!


33 Responses

  1. This site is nothing but gossip. Its really starting to irk me. If theres no news, then shut the fuck up. Surprised you haven’t resurrected the Sandusky case.

  2. The Cuz is a tool bag, who cares what he thinks. Schwimer appears to get it, so I applaud him. Desean doesn’t, it’s one thing to root for your team, it’s another to flaunt it in the faces of your current city’s fan.
    As for Victorino, since Hawaii has no pro football team, he should be free to root for whatever team he wants.

  3. Anyone who gives a shit who these players cheer for is a total fucking douche.
    No Love,
    Beez Nutz

  4. Nobody should be forced to be an Eagles fan.
    With this current regime the only reason most Eagles fans go to the game is to get loaded and yell insults at fans from other teams. Don’t be a phony, if your family is from New York or New Orleans or wherever cheer for your team.

  5. I love the fact that he asked for permission, he’ll gain more fans out of this…as he should. I can’t think of a better way to go about it.

  6. I would applaud him for sticking to his roots, however he is asking some chick abotu fandom advice and has thus lost all credibility.

  7. @MIke K – Do you realize if you do not like the site, you don’t have to read it baby??????????

  8. Schwimmer is 6’8″ and built like a football player. Who’s going to tell him he can’t root for his hometown football team? As long as he’s true to the Phillies and doesn’t suck, he’s cool with me.
    DeSean on the other hand just comes off as a poser with revolving rooting interests. Because he’s a poser mostly. La Dodgers or NY Yankees DeSean? Which baseball team do you like? I bet he doesn’t know the difference between a double switch and a discount double check. Betcha.

  9. i think that in between the lines all we care about is sincerity, heart, and effort. if you got those you’ll be alright in philly.

  10. This is some fucking TMZ shit, sightings and who do you root for? And yes, i like the sight and visit several times a day, that gives me the right.

  11. @MM: I also like the sight and visit the sight several times a day. In fact, I think we all like the sight, as well as many other websights.

  12. Its always annoying when someone like DeSean, whose one of the extravagant celebrity types of athlete, roots for the most popular team. Especially someone like DeSean who seems like he plays for the number on the back, not the logo on the front (err…helmet?). Just comes off like a fuckin douche.

  13. Kyle,
    You’re a stupid asshole. Bake-Shop gave a totally valid response in the first place, short of explaining how badly it’s received when other Philly athletes root anti-philly in other sports. You wasted everyone’s time with your attempt at humor or whatever you call half-assed snarky blog writing. There is irony dripping from that sentence. And that one. Don’t write stories unless you legitimately have something interesting to contribute.

  14. As corny and trite as this sounds, I only care about an athlete’s rooting interests if they conflict with the team whose uniform he currently wears. This incessant need to mollycoddle the rabid Philly fan contingent with declarations of “how great we are” makes us sound like whiny children who need constant reassurance to keep the mercurial feelings at bay.

  15. I love the tools that come on here to rip Kyle for this being a gossip “sight” and everything else people bitch about. If you don’t like the site or any of the posts on here why in the great blue fuck do you waste your time clicking on the link?
    All you retards realize Kyle gets the last laugh right? Everytime you click on this site, dude gets paid. So hate on you nitwits…Kyle is laughing all the way to the bank.
    I’m sure you all could do a better job than Kyle can at running a blog, right? Well why don’t you guys grow a pair, start your own blog and stay off of this one.

  16. @Adam, think your missing the point, what’s newsy or gossipy about Amaro drinking milk and Bob going to a sporting event? nothing, so wheres the story?
    Schwimmer, a marginal reliever likes to root for the giants? why does anyone care who he roots for? he’s not rootin for the mets.

  17. Honestly idc who players root for. as long as they bleed th colors of the team they play for. Schwims a new yorker…root for them go ahead. like he said hes lost his love for the yankees (ie- hes changed his allegiance to whatever team he plays for in this case the phils) bleed your teams colors. respect the fans and who your fans root for. which is why i have a problem w/ desean he doesnt care about the fans and doesnt respect who we root for. he flaunts teams that we hate in our face without a care. playful stuff like jvr rooting for eli and jokingly (sort of) tweeting about it is not thats ame as basically telling philly fans to fuck themselves like desean

  18. On the next episode of “Trolling in Real Life”, commenter Vick Torino eats lunch at the same restaurant every day just so he can complain to all the other patrons about how much he hates the food.
    Check your local listings.

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