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Welcome to Snyder's Soapbox! Here I pontificate about a matter related to Major League Baseball on a weekly basis. Some of the topics will be pressing matters, some might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things and most will be somewhere in between. The good thing about this website is it's free and you are allowed to click away. If you stay, you'll get smarter, though, that's a money-back guarantee. Let's get to it.

Spring training baseball has arrived. Some people are very excited, while others can't quite work themselves into the type of zeal reserved until the games actually matter (I'm in the latter group). As we get closer to the regular season, we'll be doing things like predictions. Unfortunately, there are a decent number of teams that are going to be terrible this season. 

We could name specifics like the A's or White Sox, but that's not really why I'm here today. 


I'm here because I've had it with this loser mentality that has swept its way through sports fandom these last several decades. I generally loathe "back in the old days ... " yearning, but I can safely say that when I was a child, there were never people outwardly rooting against their "favorite" teams for the purposes of tanking. It's a relatively new phenomenon. 

And tank-rooting is rampant now. If that's you, you should feel dirty. You've sullied your sports fan soul. 

This is a problem across all pro sports at this point. In fact, it's probably at its worst in the NFL.

For example: This past season, one of my friends said he was going to root against his favorite team because he wanted them to get better positioning in order to draft Georgia tight end Brock Bowers. My brother and I let him have it. My specific point was that George Kittle was a fifth rounder, Travis Kelce was a third rounder, Vernon Davis went sixth overall and Kyle Pitts was drafted fourth overall -- meaning that drafting tight ends is such a crapshoot. There's no reason to tank-root. My general point is YOU SHOULD NEVER ROOT AGAINST YOUR TEAM. 

It's wrong. It's dirty. It's a violation of your duty as a die-hard sports fan. 

The good news in that case was my friend came around and listened to me. And his team won that night. 

Seriously, though, I do understand the mindset. It's not lost on me. The worse a bad team is, the better the chances are at the top draft pick and those can be franchise-altering selections. In baseball, it's probably centered around being bad in the first half so a team will unload its quality veteran players for better prospects. 

One issue here is what a crapshoot prospects and draft picks can be in baseball. Hell, I already touched on how tough it is in football, too, and that's where most tank-rooting comes from. 

Let's also keep in mind how many playoff teams there are now and that an 84-win squad that was 60-60 in the middle of August ended up in the World Series. Very few teams are ever truly out of the race until late in the season. 

The biggest issue, though, is the point of sports fandom is to root for your favorite team. Rooting against them doesn't increase their chances of losing, just as rooting for them doesn't impact things, either, on the field. What it does is make you "That Person" who roots against their so-called favorite team. 

Do you really want to be "That Person?" You claim the Colorado Rockies are your favorite team, yet you're sitting there saying "I want the Rockies to lose!" Get outta here. Wouldn't you much rather be the fan who gets happy the 55 or so times a year your awful team wins? That's far better and it doesn't taint your sports fan soul. 

Are there Phillies fans out there who rooted for the Phillies to lose during the 2015 season? Yeah, the top overall pick in the 2016 draft was Mickey Moniak. Was it really worth violating the karmic laws of sports fandom for Moniak? Talk about selling your soul. If you are out there, 2015 Phillies tank-rooter, you should feel shame for the rest of your life. 

Remember when the Reds fell out of the race in 2015 and dealt Johnny Cueto for ... wait for it ... prospects? Woo hoo! Prospects!! The return was Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed and John Lamb, who combined for -0.2 WAR in their time with the Reds. If you are a Reds fan and rooted against them in 2015 so they'd deal Cueto for "prospects," congrats on committing sacrilege for that. That's a demon that needs to be exorcised, as far as I'm concerned.

Wait, didn't I just cherry pick bad examples while ignoring the Orioles getting Adley Rutschman? Of course! But also, the Orioles didn't lose all those games because their fans were rooting against the team. Fans rooting against their favorite team doesn't help said team tank, but it defiles every natural aspect of fandom. 

Hey, no one is perfect. We're all works in progress. I'm certain I've tank-rooted in the past, but I'm done with that. I will not stain my sport fan soul for the purpose of going crazy over prospects or draft picks. 

Please join me. We'll all be better fans together.