If Your Team Isn’t Playing on the Field, You Better Leave Your Jersey At Home

June 27, 2012 | Andrew Tomlinson

Last night’s debacle of a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels reminded me of one of my biggest pet peeves in sports, no not a pitcher failing to throw quality pitches with two strikes, but fans who wear jerseys of teams not playing in games.

I flipped on the tube yesterday just in time to see Brian Matusz fail to throw quality pitches with two strikes, I lied that is one of my biggest sports pet peeves, and a man seated behind home plate in a Minnesota Twins jersey. Now, I already disliked the Twins before this, but the attire selection really made me scratch my head. I mean, neither team playing was in the Twins’ division, the Twins aren’t challenging for a playoff spot and J.J. Hardy is really the only former Twin of note I can think of who was playing in the game.

The puzzling attire choice is one I see all too often at sports stadiums across the nation. Jerseys of the wrong team and even wrong sports donned by faithful as they settle into their seats. Often times I want to pull these offenders of my own rule to the side and ask them what possessed them to wear something to support a team that isn’t even in 50-miles of their current location. To me, when I attend an event my team isn’t playing in, I usually pick a rooting interest. As a result, why would I wear apparel from one of my teams if I plan on cheering for another one? And if I don’t even have a light rooting interest in who is playing, why am I paying to attend the game at all?

Now, hats are something I will let slide. Mainly because I enjoy wearing hats and I don’t think they are as egregious of an error, I mean people have to keep the sun out of their eyes. The jersey question though, is one that will always puzzle me. Even more puzzling, are the people who wear the jersey for a player who is on the field, but the jersey is from their previous team.

I mean, if said player is really your favorite ever, as many claim, wouldn’t it be worth it to pony up the 30 bucks to buy at least a new jersey t-shirt? If not, then it would be hard for me to accept your reasoning as valid.

Maybe this sounds sports elitist to some, but really it sounds like sports sensibility to me. I have lived in the DC area for the better part of four years now and I have attended an occasional Nats game. While they weren’t my favorite team, I lightly supported them, if only because I payed money to watch them play. As a result, I’d wear something red and lightly cheer and have a good time at the game. It seems sensible to me, to not necessarily buy merchandise for the team, but at least wear their colors.

Nothing is weirder to me than a camera pan of Camden Yards showing the sea of black and orange, or Red and White if the Red Sox are in town, and out of nowhere there is some guy in a blue Chicago Cubs jersey. I mean, the Cubs aren’t even the same league, what the heck is their jersey doing at an O’s game?

So be warned, if I see you at a game and your team isn’t playing, but nevertheless, there is that Texas Rangers t-shirt on your back, I am going to judge you. You paid to see the two teams on the field, at least wear the colors of one of them.