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Mike Chamernik’s Question of the Week (June 17-21)

Last week, we had the second of Mike Chamernik’s “Question of the Week” series, and again the response to that article was tremendous, and Mike is back again with his next question.

Question of the Week
by Mike Chamernik

Last week, the sale of the Utah Hockey Club – formerly the Arizona Coyotes – was made official, and the team’s color scheme, jerseys, and temporary name were revealed.

Understandably, hockey fans in Phoenix are somewhere between bummed and devastated. But, maybe they don’t all feel that way.

I’ve heard a million stories from people who gave up their fandom or even swore off the sport entirely when their team relocated. But I don’t want to hear that right now. I’m interested in the opposite: When your favorite team moved to a new city, why did you remain a fan? What was the experience like? Did friends, family, and others also stay loyal, or were you alone?

Probably a long shot, but I really want to hear the stories from people who stuck through an ugly departure. Any Thunder fans in Seattle? Hurricanes fans in Hartford? Titans fans in Houston?

And I suppose we can open it up a bit. If your favorite team moved, what would compel you to remain a fan? Again, if your answer is “Nothing, they’d be dead to me,” don’t chime in.

• • • • •

Thanks, Mike. This is definitely another great installment.

Readers? Fire away!

Comments (0)

    I can’t answer this – all of my teams are from my hometown (Blue Jays), relocated right before I was born (Avalanche), or both (Raptors – I know they were an expansion team, but close enough)!

    My guess is that you’re not going to get many, if any, answers to this question.

    Probably not but I am very curious in the stories of people who will share.

    Browns fan, and I fell off football for those 3 years in the late 90’s. Very thankful we retained the name, colors and history. I’d have rooted for whatever name and colors came back in 99, but this feels right to us. And no family or friends transferred the fandom to the Ravens. Ozzie Newsome becoming an excellent executive, Ray Lewis a destroyer and then the first SB win always hurt. Had we not gotten a team back, I feel like i’d become fairweather and just kind of root for shiny objects in the playoffs. Or maaaybe Bengals. If you can’t root for PIT or BAL, then an Orange Paul Brown team from Ohio i guess would have been a slow recovery over time.

    Love this feature!

    Mine is an interesting development. I grew up in Southern California, and loved the Rams in the late 80, and into the 90’s as they became unbearable to watch for most fans. But as a Uni-Watcher before I knew what it was, I wanted to watch every second of every game to see those blue and yellow unforms with the horns on the helmets and sleeves.
    I was in 7th grade in 1994 when they left for St. Louis. They still had a lot the same players that I loved, and I’m sure having recently divorced parents made the entire process more palatable and relatable for a 12 year old. A few years later I cheered them on as they won the Super Bowl!
    Cut to 2015 when a job brought me to St. Louis. What luck! This time the breakup wasn’t as clean, and hurt me a lot more. Add in the fact that they were wearing those navy and white monstrosities, and I no longer felt the connection to them that I did after their initial move. Interestingly, when the Rams wore the throwbacks during their recent Superbowl season, it got those old juices flowing, and I rooted for them like a teenager again every time they wore them.
    Long story short, I think the uniforms and the players are what keep a lot of the connection, and I can see how hard it would be to follow a team who creates a whole new identity.

    Completely opposite reaction to the Rams, who I grew up loving, when they moved to St Louis.

    I am a Baltimore native. I grew up worshipping the Colts beginning with Johnny Unitas in the late 50s. Although I’d moved to Houston and the Irsay regime had dimmed my flame some, the morning I woke up to see video of the Mayflower trucks remains a terribly painful memory. I knew I’d never ‘follow’ the team to their new home. Only my fantasy football league kept me interested in the NFL and that link was tenuous. I eventually tried being a Ravens fan but that didn’t take. When the Texans franchise was announced it was my opportunity to get back onboard the NFL train. Meanwhile I went from chatting the Colts to acceptance to the point they are just another team in the Texans division. Seeing that uniform, which I still think is among the best in sports, no longer feels like seeing your ‘exe’ with her new guy.

    Ditto here. Baltimore native, heart broken when the Colts snuck out of town in the middle of the night. I have despised them ever since, and still root against them.

    Ack, reading is fundamental. I missed the point. Just delete my comment. Blame it on my pain meds LOL

    It’s OK! I like reading the story. I’ll probably asked about spurned fans another time.

    To answer my own question: None of my teams have moved. But if the Bucks were to have moved to Seattle in 2014… I’m not sure how I’d react. The big factor is that I don’t live in Milwaukee, so it’s not like they’d no longer be local for me. But it’s the principle of it. I root for the “Milwaukee” Bucks. Not the Seattle whatevers. Then again latching onto a new team seems so … unnatural. And I love the NBA too much to stop following all together.

    Otherwise, my dad’s cousins grew up in Milwaukee but have remained Braves fans (made easier by TBS all those years). And writer Will Leitch is still a Football Cardinals fan even though they left St. Louis when he was a kid.

    I grew up around Utica, New York around the time Cal Ripken bought the Utica Blue Sox and moved them to Aberdeen, Maryland. Perhaps it speaks to why minor league baseball has never returned to Utica, but I remember nobody really caring all that much. Utica has a really successful and popular minor league hockey team these days, and I could see minor league baseball making a return someday beyond the collegiate league that has a team in the old stadium nowadays.

    There’s a great book about the 1983 Utica Blue Sox called Good Enough to Dream. Written by Roger Kahn who bought the team that year to write a book about minor league baseball.

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this! Sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation!!

    I wish the New York Jets would move and free me from their grasp.

    Not my own team, but my mom grew up in Erie, and is a huge Browns fan. She and my dad moved to MD right before I was born, so the Browns actually left Cleveland and moved TO her when I was 8 years old.

    She was not happy about it, however. Which was a big influence on me not becoming a Ravens fan as I grew up.

    Due to my dad’s influence I grew up a Rams fan, but was still pretty young when they moved to east. I don’t recall caring that much at the time because it wasn’t like we ever actually went to any games, and the team always sucked. However, my old man and I were completely ecstatic when they won the Super Bowl in St. Louis. because Kurt Warner was an all-time great sports story, the team played a beautiful brand of football, and there were still a number of players left from the L.A. days.

    Ironically, when the team moved back to L.A. and won another chip, like seemingly everyone else in the city, I didn’t care, having fallen out of love with football. Along those lines, I’d venture to say L.A. still has more Raider fans than Rams fans and Charger fans combined.

    I’m surprised no Raiders fans have chimed in yet, since I think we likely have the most transportable fanbase of any American sports team.

    I was born after they moved back to Oakland, but since I became a Raiders fan in the early 2010s (long story), I was a fan of the Raiders, not an Oakland fan. I’m from the Midwest, so I have no inherent connection to any specific city the Raiders are currently in or have been in historically.

    Point being, when the Raiders relocated to Vegas, I had no qualms about remaining a fan, and arguably being in Vegas they are even more accessible to me now. I’m sure Oakland- or LA-based fans may feel differently.

    Similar story for me. Grew up on Long Island but became a Raider fan when they beat Washington in the Super Bowl. (Side note: This was also my “uni-awakening” as I became a fan because of those silver and black unis.) When they moved to Oakland I had no trouble even thought it was weird to say the first few seasons. Despite having zero connection to Oakland, I was very disappointed when they moved to Vegas. (They should have renamed themselves the California Raiders and alternated between Oakland and LA every few years.) Unfortunately, I’m still a fan and always refer to them as the “Raiders” never “Las Vegas”.

    Funny. The reason you became a Raiders fan is the reason – or one of them, actually – why I’ve hated them for decades. Despite the fact that my affection for Washington dropped off considerably during the Snyder era, I’ve never forgiven the Raiders for that Super Bowl. I nearly moved to Vegas a couple years ago and many of my friends there LOVE them and loved them even before they moved there. I grudgingly acknowledge that their unis are among the best in sports, but I will never like that team.

    I live in DC and have to hang my hat on that Super Bowl when friends get to bashing the Raiders.

    I think someone being a fan of a team and they don’t live in that team’s city, and never lived there, is a different animal. For instance, there are many Raiders fans that live in the Central Valley, so the Raiders various moves haven’t really affected them.

    That’s the sense I got about the Raiders. Maybe part of it too is that they’ve moved several times.

    I thought you might get some Raiders fans comments on this. When the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers, were considering moving back to LA, there was a poll conducted. The Raiders still had a huge fan base there, and way outnumbered the combined fans of both the Rams and Chargers.

    Not sure if it’s confirmed true, but I heard that when planning the move back to LA, the Rams owner specifically did NOT want to share with the Raiders. He did all he could to make sure it was the Chargers. Didn’t want the silver and black to steal his thunder.

    Makes sense, though it would have been a better contrast. For me the Rams and Chargers have a similar vibe, even down to their colors and uniforms. And honestly, it was a crime to take the Chargers out of San Diego.

    I grew up outside Philadelphia and was way into soccer when I was a kid in the ’70s, and when Philly got an NASL team in ’78 I was ecstatic. (The Atoms were just a little before my time.) They were never very good but man I loved those uniforms. They played at the Vet, an awful stadium for soccer (and just about anything else), attendance was abysmal, but I was smitten. I wrote a fan letter to Tony Glavin, a Scottish midfielder on the team, and he replied with a handwritten note of thanks! It was also cool that the team was owned by rock’n’roll stars (Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman; remember, it was the ‘70s).

    Anyway, after three money-losing seasons, the team was sold to Molson and moved to Monteal, where it was renamed the Manic (named for the Manicouagan, a river in Quebec; not sure that name would fly today). I was heartbroken but yes, I continued to follow the team after the move. I guess it was because I knew who the players were, and there wasn’t another NASL franchise nearby to glom onto (lord knows I couldn’t root for the Cosmos). Even today, long after my soccer phase, I like to check in on Montreal’s MLS team (the blandly named CF Montréal) just to see how they’re doing. It was my only experience of a team I loved moving, and it’s not an experience I would wish on any other fan.

    If your favorite team moved, what would compel you to remain a fan?

    If the Orioles were to move (which seemed to actually be a possibility in the recent years), it would be tough to see a road jersey that didn’t say “Baltimore” while I’m watching the team. I would probably still root for the team. because I am used to the colors/logo and I have loyalty to “the brand”. If there are new logos/unis/colors or even a new team name, I think I would be less inclined to still root for the team.

    I grew up outside of Baltimore a huge Orioles fan. I now live in South Carolina, so when the rumors of the O’s moving to Nashville were floating around I considered to continue being a fan. They’d be a southern team and I don’t live in MD anymore. As long as they kept the Orioles name, uniform, and colors. If they had moved and done a full rebrand I would have no reason to root for that team.

    That all makes sense. Keeping the name and colors helps a lot.

    Also for the Orioles, if they were to move soon (let’s hope not, knock on wood) then you’d also have attachments to a lot of young, exciting, good players. It’d be tougher to give that up.

    I was 10 years old when the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for the coast. To this day I despise them.
    I began following the Yankees at that point and to this day love my “Bronx Bombers”.
    My dad sort of drifted about and became a Mets fan in 1962.

    I have a slightly eclectic mix of pro sports loyalties, having lived on both costs, the Midwest, and now Colorado. I mostly root for the Denver teams and a few select L.A.-area franchises. None of my favorite teams moved from the city where I became a passionate fan of them, but I have a couple of imperfect analogs I can contribute to the conversation:

    Although I was born in Southern California and fell easily into cheering for several of the local teams – namely the Dodgers, Angels, and Lakers – I was never anything more than the most casual Rams fan. My dad, who grew up in Denver, imparted his Broncos fandom to me, so every other pro football team was fighting for a very distant second place in terms of my affections.

    I maintained pretty much all of those loyalties as my family moved to Iowa when I was growing up, and then when I moved to Washington, DC, for my first job out of college. While I was in DC, the Rams moved to St. Louis. I was no big fan of the move, but it didn’t have much affect on me because I barely paid attention to the hapless franchise at that point.

    Around the time I moved back to Iowa for grad school, Kurt Warner made the Rams’ roster. Warner and I graduated from different high schools three miles from one another in Cedar Rapids. He was a fairly well-known athlete in town, so I had kept tabs on him as he worked his way up the depth chart at Northern Iowa and then for the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena League. When he ascended to the starting role after Trent Green’s preseason injury, the Rams instantly shot up the list of teams I paid close attention to – still behind the Broncos, but a strong second. So I was actually a bigger fan of the St. Louis Rams than I’d ever been when they (and I) were in California.

    My affection didn’t last long, though. After Mike Martz did Warner dirty and forced him out of St. Louis, the Rams tumbled back down the list of teams I don’t care about. So when they moved back to L.A., I was once again largely indifferent (although I did feel bad for the jilted St. Louis fans). But then they acquired Von Miller from the Broncos and they jumped back into that ever-changing “second favorite team” spot for me. That lasted until Miller left for Buffalo in free agency.

    My heart has never really been tied to the Rams as a franchise as much as it was to a few of my favorite players who landed with them. But in each of the Rams’ moves during my lifetime, I’ve found a reason to root for them despite their relocation – at least for a while.

    This has turned into a longer post than I anticipated, so I’ll add the other team in a follow-up comment. Coming soon….

    The only other team that I have rooted for through a relocation is the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche. I developed my interest in hockey much later than I had the other “Big Four” pro sports in North America, so I cycled through a number of different franchise while trying to find “my” team.

    I was a teenage living in Iowa when I started watching hockey on ESPN on a regular basis. The Edmonton Oilers and Wayne Gretzky were the dominant force in the sport at that point, but I didn’t want to jump on that bandwagon out of concern for being considered a fair-weather fan. I developed a mild affection for the Los Angeles Kings since I was a fan of several other L.A. teams, but they were almost never on TV and weren’t that good, so they didn’t develop into a favorite.

    I cycled through flirtations with the Flyers, the Flames, the Kings again (this time with Gretzky) the Rangers and the Capitals, but nothing really took hold. One team that caught my eye and that I kept coming back to, however, was the Nordiques.

    My family had recently taken a trip to Ontario and Quebec for a summer vacation, where I got to practice my rudimentary French skills, and I’d been dazzled by the beauty and history of Quebec City. Although they bounced around the standings quite a bit and had some lean years, they had some exciting talent in the Stastny Brothers, Michel Goulet, and (eventually) a young Joe Sakic. Plus, as a budding uni-watcher, I loved their uniforms (link).

    I’d developed into enough of a Nordiques fan that I was actively following their strong 1994-95 regular season and hoping for a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs before they flamed out in the first round. The rumors had already popped up that the franchise was going to leave Quebec, so it was not a huge surprise when they announced their plans to relocate to Denver.

    I had mixed feelings about the move. On the one hand, I already knew they would become the team I followed most closely because of my loyalties to other Colorado teams (all of my family having moved back there when I was in college or shortly after). On the other hand, I loved the charm of a team playing in the tiny, francophone Quebec City market and was sad to see it end. Not to mention that I was already mourning the loss of the team’s name and uniforms! It didn’t help that the new ownership stumbled out of the gate by almost renaming the team the Rocky Mountain Extreme (link).

    Despite those initial misgivings, I was hooked by the time they traded for Patrick Roy. I might have felt a pang of guilt for the Quebec fans when the Avalanche hoisted the Stanley Cup at the end of their first year in Denver, but not enough to dampen my excitement for a championship-starved city to claim its first major pro sports championship. (I mean, that Denver Dynamite victory in the first Arena Bowl was nice and all – link – but still…)

    So I think this one might be a little closer to what Mike is asking about if not quite an exact fit. The Nordiques went from the top of my list of teams I fondly if casually followed in the NHL to the absolute, unquestioned favorite hockey team in the span of a calendar year. They’re still there to this day. I don’t know how the old Nordiques fans feel when the Avs break out Nordiques throwbacks or fauxbacks from time to time (link), but I can tell you that most Colorado fans are genuinely respectful of the team’s Quebec history. And I am too, because I had actually followed them before the move.

    Had the Houston Oilers not:

    * Signed Jack Tatum and Ken Stabler
    * Hired Jerry Glanvillle and Buddy Ryan
    * Switched to white helmets

    I gladly would have rooted for them in Memphis and Nashville. Actually, I still rooted for them until they traded Dan Pastorini, but they weren’t my favorites after they dropped the blue helmets.

    Before and after Conrad Dobler, I was a Cardinals fan as well. The move to Phoenix didn’t bother me. In fact (wish I could find the photo of me in it) I had a Phoenix Cardinals sweatshirt.

    Regionality usually doesn’t factor into my fandom.

    Regionality usually doesn’t factor into my fandom.

    Interesting! I know a handful of fans for whom that’s true – including a diehard Bills fan who’s never lived closer than 700 miles from Buffalo – but having ties to city or region have always been crucial to my fandom for certain teams taking root, even if I don’t live there anymore. For example, I became a fan of MLB’s expansion Colorado Rockies and the relocated Colorado Avalanche, even though I was not living in Denver at the time, because of my family’s connections to the state.

    I mentioned in posts below that I’ve flirted with casual fandom of teams in areas where I don’t have connections, but those flirtations rarely last. I’m still a “fan” of certain teams from the past that I don’t have a connection to – the ’87 Twins, the late ’80s and early ’90s Blue Jays, and the ’94 New York Rangers among them – but I’m not necessarily a current fan of those franchises.

    I also have certain players that are such favorites for me that whatever team they’re on becomes a secondary “favorite” for me. That included the Kurt Warner-led St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals (though not the Giants for some reason) and currently includes the San Francisco 49ers (I love Brock Purdy because I went to Iowa State).

    With all that said, I have a core of favorite teams and all of them are from areas where I currently live or have lived in the past. Interestingly, Denver is the only city where I’ve adopted the teams when I wasn’t even living there. Other regions, like the greater L.A. area – has seen teams arrive after I left – e.g., the Anaheim Ducks, several MLS teams, and a few relocated franchises – and none of those have “taken” with me. It’s just the teams that were in L.A. when I was a kid that have stuck.

    I do follow Pittsburgh teams because of a little bit of loyalty to where my parents were born.
    But I was born in Ohio, and the only team I rooted for here was the Cavs. In between LeBron’s time, and in Richfield. Now I’m more into the Timberwolves, and that’s just for the unis.

    Just thought of another one.
    When the Baltimore Stallions had to move, I continued to cheer for them as the new Montreal Alouettes.
    Still wish I had my Baltimore CFL Colts cap. I got rid of it because it had a white crown which was hard to keep clean. I should have kept it and worn it only in the Winter.

    So I have remained a Rams fan from when they were in LA then to St Louis and now back home again. I say home, I actually live in Hertfordshire, England so I suppose it is a little different for me. I am not directly connected with the city. If my ‘football’ team (Tottenham Hotspur) were to relocate I suppose I would still support them. It would break my heart but I couldn’t see myself supporting anyone else. As an aside, it is widely recognised that the most universally hated team in England are the MK Dons. All that hatred comes purely from the fact that they relocated from Wimbledon around 20ish years ago. It did NOT go down well with supporters of the beautiful game over here!

    This is prob the most American question ever: Do English soccer teams move?

    Almost never. They may move to new grounds in general area, but very rarely from one city or region to another. The most well-known example of this infrequent occurrence is when Wimbledon F.C., a mid-tier team from southwest London, moved about 80 miles away to Milton Keynes, a new-ish suburban city between London and Birmingham, in 2003 to become the MK Dons (link).

    The move was virtually unheard of in English soccer at the time, and it was quite controversial. The relocated club and its supporters were considered something of pariahs in the English soccer league system for several years after the move. I’m guessing the furor has died down in the 20+ years since it happened, but English soccer fans have long memories, and I get the impression that the loss of the original Wimbledon club is still a sore spot for some the older fans.

    Oh, and one more…
    I still root for the Giants, even though they moved to New Jersey. Unlike the Cavaliers, whom I dropped when they moved from Richfield to downtown Cleveland.

    Being a resident of SE Michigan, I have often wondered if St Louis can lose two NFL franchises (Cardinals and Rams), why can’t we lose the Lions?

    On a scale of the Coyotes/Yetis to the Lakers and Yankees, I wonder where the Lions would rank in terms of a shocking move. Probably pretty high up there.

    I’m a Brit who’s been a fan of the Charlotte Hornets since 1991. When they moved to New Orleans, I tried to carry on following them, but it just didn’t feel the same. That move, combined with other factors in my life essentially caused me to stop following the NBA altogether for a few years and when I did get back into it in the late 2000s I decided to pick a new team. Only problem was I’d spent a big chunk of my life rooting against those teams, and it didn’t feel right choosing N.O., so I kind of gravitated towards the Bobcats by default, even though I hated the logos and uniforms. Of course, within a few years they rebranded as Hornets 2.0 so it’s come full circle.

    There are talks of the KC Royals and Chiefs possibly moving. While I think their current stadiums are fine, and they are exploring options in KC including across the border into the state of Kansas, there does remain the possibility of them moving to another area, so I have thought about this.

    For me it all comes down to where they move to. If I have a positive reception of the new city, I can see myself keeping with the team, otherwise I’ll have to find some other team I can attach to. I think it will also depend on how much of the old team remains. only a small part would be about the layers, I’ve got to be familiar with them as they change frequently, but more so the name of the team, and the colors, logos, and the rest. If they adopt a new identity completely as in the case of the Arizona Coyotes becoming the Utah Hockey Team, there isn’t a lot to hold on to.

    If the Kansas City Royals become the Omaha Royals ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶w̶e̶i̶r̶d̶ I would be sad, but remain a fan, whereas if they become the St Louis Browns V2.0, then its time for me personally to find a new team

    Good stuff everyone! Somewhat narrow question this week but I was really curious about it.

    I live in Chicago — last summer there were reports about the White Sox exploring a move to Nashville. I’m not sure how many fans would follow, but I do know that only a small, small number would become Cubs fans.

    For me, it’s one guy: Nick Collison.

    I grew up in Kansas City, so I always had hometown NFL and MLB teams, but never an NBA team. I was a big University of Kansas men’s basketball fan, which sent some players to the NBA, and “my” NBA teams were ones where KU guys ended up playing, especially guys who stayed with the same team for a long time (eg: Paul Pierce on the Celtics).

    I attended KU, and I was a freshman when Nick Collison (and Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden) were also freshmen, so I was especially connected with those guys. After KU, Collison was drafted by Seattle, and coincidentally, my first job out of school was also in Seattle. Two reasons for me to be a Sonics fan: I finally lived in a city with an NBA team, and it had a Jayhawk (from my class!) on it.

    And then they moved.

    I hadn’t been a longtime Sonics fan to feel the betrayal that everyone else felt. Sure, I was disappointed, but it was still the team with Nick Collison on it. And, the team moved to a city in a neighboring state to Kansas City, and there was a lot of resentment in Seattle about the team moving to a “flyover state”. As someone from a fellow “flyover state”, I felt belittled. Now, I had two reasons to be a Thunder fan: Nick Collison, and solidarity with the “flyover states”.

    Collison ended up staying with the Thunder for his entire career (retiring in 2018). He also kept a house here in Seattle the entire time, which was a nice parallel to me: you can live in Seattle and play/cheer for the Thunder.

    I happened to be at the Royals @ Mariners game in 2018 when Nick Collison threw out the first pitch. The PA announcer acknowledged his recent retirement, his loyalty to the franchise, his current hometown of Seattle, and the jumbotron made sure to only show pictures of him wearing his Sonics uniforms. He was definitely cheered!

    I grew up in Seattle and am
    A die hard fan of all the teams there. I say to this day, that the Sonics were stolen by Clay Bennet and crew.

    I feel they will be back in a few years, until then I will continue to band wagon teams. Lol.

    My favorite NFL team has moved 3 times since their inception in 1960. I have been a Raiders fan since 1978 and have never been to California or Nevada. My allegiance is to them regardless where they call home.

    Former Winnipegger here. I had a share of Jets 1.0 season tickets their last year.

    Coyotes weren’t our team. I knew a few people who followed them and took roadtrips to Phoenix to see them play, but I didn’t buy into that. I did enjoy rooting for ex-Jets (Selanne, Doan) but not the Coyotes.

    Right after the Jets moved, they were laying the foundation for a new team, including buying the Moose and building the arena. It seemed like a matter of time before we got the team back (took about 14 years in the end).

    I moved to Calgary, parked my support with the Flames until we got the Jets back.

    I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for Phoenix fans. You stole our team and Utah stole it from you.

    How exactly did the fans steal your team? I don’t think Average Joe Coyote Fan played any role in the team moving. Seems like kind of an unfair accusation.

    I grew up in LA in the 1980’s so the Raiders were my favorite team. When they moved back to Oakland I was pretty disappointed and switched my allegiance to the Bears because my cousins were from Chicago. I still sort of root for the Raiders because my sister stayed a Raiders fan and I bust out my Tim Brown jersey when we went to a couple Raiders games in San Diego. My sister has stayed a die hard Raiders fans and has enjoyed traveling about once a year to catch a home game.

    My dad also has a story about his favorite team moving. He grew up in the 1940’s/50’s in LA as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. When he was 16 years old, he was listening to the radio when he found out his favorite team was on the move. Obviously he stayed a fan and was suddenly joined by a lot more new Dodgers fan in his neighborhood.

    The Capitals are my second favorite DC team after the Nationals because I like baseball more than hockey. However, I was pretty upset about the prospect of them leaving D.C. for Alexandria, the city I have lived since 2007. The Potomac Yard arena was a solution in search of a problem that probably would have had more negative impact on my city, Alexandria, than positive and would have hurt D.C. a lot.

    The Capitals arena is the best possible location in the entire greater Washington D.C. region with it being on top of three Metro lines and about five blocks from the other three. Chinatown (or what used to be Chinatown) was a lively neighborhood pre-pandemic that I enjoyed working in and traveling to for games. Only Madison Square Garden has a more accessible location by transit.

    A move to Potomac Yard would have hurt D.C. and not really helped Alexandria. I was relieved the deal collapsed under the laziness, arrogance and/or general ineptitude of the governor.

    Also, there is a lot of noise on social media about how many “fans” gave up on the Washington-area NFL franchise when they dropped the long-time name. My theory is those people complaining in every social media post about it:

    – don’t live in DC and never even visit it
    – weren’t going to games anyway
    – are still watching every week

    Meanwhile, I have seen more kids wearing post-2019 gear than we’re wearing the Old Name gear prior to the change. Small sample size and all, but the old name was hurting the growth of the fan base, though 30 years of losing and scandal are probably a bigger factor.

    Transplants to the DC area used to jump in the burgundy and gold bandwagon and that hasn’t been happening. The Nats and Caps have certainly done okay with new arrivals getting on board.

    Browns fan here. Since the Browns never technically moved the Baltimore — like the Coyotes, they were simply deactivated and their players and staff transferred to an expansion team — I didn’t have to worry about “remaining a fan.” The Browns stayed in Cleveland, and we just had to wait for them to re-enter the League using the Ravens’ expansion slot.

    But in the 3 years that the Browns didn’t field a team, I had to root for someone. I tried staying in Ohio and rooting for the Bengals, but it was just weird (although I loved QB Jeff Blake). So I relied on the team that since Thanksgiving 1987 I had deemed my #2 team: the Minnesota Vikings (because 10-year old me in ’87 though “their helmets are cool”).

    For those three years, “my” Vikings compiled a 35-18 overall record, but because I’m a Browns fan, they purple-and-gold did their best orange-and-brown impersonation from my childhood, and had a stellar season where they may have been the best team in the League, but fell short in the Conference Championship Game (thanks to the announcer jinxing Gary Anderson, who had been perfect on FGs and XPs all season to that point). It was a very Browns ending to an otherwise amazing Vikings season.

    So that’s how I coped: I let another team disappoint me for 3 years while I waited for my real team to find players to wear their uniforms again.

    thanks to the announcer jinxing Gary Anderson, who had been perfect on FGs and XPs all season to that point

    At some point during every no-hitter, long streak of free throws, field goals or hits, someone has mentioned it in one way or another.
    And many announcers during the 1972 season said “The Dolphins are still undefeated after ___ weeks.” Turned out okay for them.
    Announcers and fans don’t “jinx” athletes.

    When the Browns moved, was it official that the New Browns would be back for 1999? Or was there uncertainty?

    When the Sonics moved it seemed like Seattle would get a new team soon, but here we are 16 years later.

    Jim – Yes, I know the ref didn’t actually “jinx” the kick. But I’m a sports fan and as such, I reserve the right to not use logic when my team loses. ;)

    Mike – Yes, it was part of the deal that allowed Modell to take the Browns players to his new team. It turned out that he wasn’t legally allowed to move the Browns, so he found a workaround that fit the “letter of the law” while still violating its spirit, and all the city of Cleveland and Browns fans could do was accept it. That’s why the history, colors, trophies, etc, stayed in Cleveland. Same way everything the Coyotes/(original) Jets have accomplished is staying in Arizona while the “Utah Hockey Club” is technically an expansion. If and when the Coyotes resume play, they’ll basically be using Utah’s expansion slot, the same way the Browns did with Baltimore’s.

    The difference between the Browns/Coyotes situation and Sonics situation is that the Sonics’ history moved to OKC. So while Jim Brown, Otto Graham, and Bernie Kosar have zero connection to the Ravens, Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and Jack Sikma played for the team that now resides in Oklahoma. I suppose they could do a “retcon” like what the Hornets & Bobcats did, and “transfer” the pre-move Sonics history to a new team in Seattle, but that kind of after-the-fact action asks the fan to ignore what actually happened. We know that Hornets moved to New Orleans, played a couple split seasons in NOLA and OKC, and then changed their name to the Pelicans. We know that the Bobcats, an entirely new franchise, then changed their name to the Hornets. Had they created a whole new franchise for the Pelicans and then transferred the Hornets players, with the Hornets to be “reactivated” later, then we could say with truth that Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, and Mugsy Bogues played for the same team that plays in Charlotte today. But we all know that they actually played for the team that wears Mardi Gras uniforms from time to time these days.

    So, TL;DR:
    Browns, est. 1946
    Ravens, est. 1996
    Thunder, est. 1967
    Utah Hockey Club, est. 2024
    Coyotes, est. 1972
    Hornets, est. “1988,” but really 2004
    Pelicans, est. “2002,” but really 1988

    I grew up in the DC area until I was 10 years old, and I was a huge Senators fan (Ted Williams managing, Frank Howard…). We moved to southern CA in 1972, and the Senators moved to Texas that same year and became the Rangers. Chalk it up to the naivete of childhood, but rather than become a fan of the Dodgers or the Angels, my loyalties stayed with the Rangers. I moved back to the DC area after I graduated college, and became a huge Capitals fan (and continued to be a fan of the football team), but stayed a fan of the Rangers (never really fell in love with the Bullets/Wizards).

    I’m in Colorado now, and my favorite teams are all over the place: DC (Capitals, Commanders), Colorado (Nuggets), and Texas (Rangers). I’m not as intense a Commanders fan as I used to be – not because of the name (which does truly stink), but because of the owner, so it will be interesting to see if I become a bigger fan again when I don’t hate the ownership.

    As an aside, the ownership thing is the same reason I just can’t embrace the Rockies – hard to be a fan of a team when you know the owners don’t care about winning.

    hard to be a fan of a team when you know the owners don’t care about winning

    The team I rooted for the longest was the Pittsburgh Pirates. I always said as long as Dad is alive, that’s my team.

    Fortunately Dad is still with me, but I’m not with the Bucs anymore…until Nutting sells the team.

    The worst part is that the Monforts will probably never sell the Rockies – they averaged 32K attendance last year (with a 103-loss team), and are at 28K this year at 25-47. As long as the stadium is gorgeous and the beer is cold, people keep showing up. However, they are running a promotion now where you paid $39.99/month and can attend as many games as you want, so maybe they are getting nervous about the fan base.

    Denver resident here. I love the Rockies, but not the Monforts. The $39.99 per month promotion would not be worth it to me based on the current state of the franchise.

    I was a Montreal Expos fan from 1977 until the bitter end and now cheer for the Nationals. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s because they moved to Washington, DC at the same time I did.

    I’ve also been a Chargers fan since the Air Coryell days, but their move didn’t affect me as much seeing as how they aren’t a local team. “Los Angeles Chargers” still sounds wrong to me, though.

    Good stuff!

    I was wondering about the Chargers. The most vocal fans have probably given up on them, but I wonder if a lot of casual San Diego football fans just kinda rolled with it and stuck with them in LA.

    I’ve been a Charger fan since 1979 and had no problem with them moving to L.A. because that’s where they started in 1960. I know they only were in L.A. for a year before moving to San Diego, but at least they moved back to where they started. It would have been harder had they moved to a totally different area.

    I think I still watched Basketball when I first came up to the PNW from Denver (cheered for the #8 Nuggets when they beat the #1 Sonics). Came up to Seattle, watched a couple of Sonics games and then very quickly the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City and soured on the NBA as I watched a weak Coffee Magnate in Howard Schultz get run over by two Oil hucksters from Oklahoma City.

    I haven’t watched an NBA Game since.

    I haven’t properly ranked it, but I’m putting the Brooklyn Dodgers and Seattle Supersonics on the top list of most acrimonious relocations.

    I have lived near Boston (1959-84) and Philadelphia (1984-present). In the late 90s the Patriots were ready to move to Hartford Connecticut. I would have still cheered for them but I am not sure if people living near Boston would have.

    The Eagles almost moved from Philly to Phoenix after the 1984 season. I can state with certainty that almost nobody here would have remained Eagles fans had that move gone through (Thank you Norman Braman who besides keeping the team in Philly was a truly awful owner.).

    I never knew the Eagles-to-Phoenix story! Maybe for me it was just blended in with all the other teams who flirted with Arizona in the 1980s. The Colts were thinking of going there.

    I remember the Eagles flirting with Phoenix. Wish they would have done it so the Cardinals would have stayed put.

    I’ve mentioned this before…worth saying again:
    1980-something ChrisH held out hope that the Eagles would have left Philly, leaving my hometown rooting interest – the Philadelphia Stars – as the only pro football option. I really thought a merger was going to happen too. Instead, the Birds got their Vet renovations, the Stars packed up for ‘Baltimore’, and the USFL went kaput.
    I remained a fan after the move…and remain one today even though they’re history.

    “…Norman Braman who besides keeping the team in Philly was a truly awful owner”
    Well…the uniform overhaul which the Eagles throw back to these days (and which the fans love) occurred under his ownership. OK, so he made players pay for their own socks – but is that awful?

    “…Norman Braman who besides keeping the team in Philly was a truly awful owner”
    Well…the uniform overhaul which the Eagles throw back to these days (and which the fans love) occurred under his ownership. OK, so he made players pay for their own socks – but is that awful?

    I had a lot of friends and family who were gutted and basically lost interest in NFL altogether during the Browns void of 1996-98.

    Closest I can come to this is the Cincinnati Royals moving to KC-Omaha. Was already disappointed they had traded Lucas to SF and Big O to the Bucks in previous seasons leading up to this, so it wasn’t as big of a blow as it would have been had they still been with the Royals at the time of the move.

    I don’t really follow NBA anymore and I don’t live near Cincy, but everyone I know of around here (Columbus) that watches NBA is a Cavs fan.

    I had a lot of friends and family who were gutted and basically lost interest in NFL altogether during the Browns void of 1996-98.

    Some fans shifted their loyalty to the Packers. All of a sudden I’d see Packers sports bars popping up in NE Ohio.
    The Browns’ flagship radio station switched to airing Steelers games. Great for me and Dad at the time, but for a lot of people in the area it must have been torture to hear Myron Cope’s dulcit tones on 50,000 watts of radio.

    “The Browns’ flagship radio station switched to airing Steelers games.”

    Whew. Talk about adding insult to injury…

    Had the Philadelphia Phantoms kept the purple when they left the Spectrum ice for Glen Falls, I might have continued to follow and root for them. But they didn’t…so I didn’t – and still don’t bother with them even though they are back in the area. Good night and good hockey!

    I had the misfortune to live in Wisconsin when the Braves left Milwaukee for Atlanta and live in Minneapolis when the North Stars fled to Dallas. I always root against the both Braves and the Stars. In addition, Norm Still Sucks!

    I had to think pretty hard about this when the Pittsburgh Penguins were considering a move to Kansas City. I’m originally from Pittsburgh (though I have long since moved away), so my loyalty to the team is for local reasons, and it would be hard to root for a team in a city I don’t particularly care about (no offense to KC!). But I also wouldn’t hold any animosity towards Kansas City as a whole or their fans. That seems juvenile and short-sighted.

    Having lived in Denver in the late ’90s, I developed a fairly strong secondary loyalty to the Avalanche, so I would probably just hitch my wagon to them if the Penguins ever moved.

    Mine is a SoCal football story too. I grew up in Southern California in the 80s and 90s, and never got into either the Rams or the Raiders much. I actually rooted for the Eagles for a good portion of my childhood because Randall Cunningham was from my hometown and I used to play youth basketball with his nephews. But I was a huge LA sports fan otherwise, especially for the Dodgers and Lakers.

    The Rams and Raiders moved away in 1995, and it barely registered for me. But I left for the East Coast for college in 1997, and I realized that I needed an NFL team to call my own. As an LA sports fan on the East Coast, I picked the closest available thing at the time: the Chargers. Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson joined the team shortly thereafter, and my Chargers fandom was sealed.

    As time went on and rumors that the Chargers might relocate picked up steam, I began rooting hard for them to move to Los Angeles, which is the true geographic base of my fandom. Rooting for a San Diego team was, in all honesty, awkward. I like to think that I’m among a very select group of people who were actually hoping the Chargers would leave San Diego for Los Angeles, and that select group does not include most of the population of Los Angeles, judging from attendance at Charger home games.

    So now the Chargers are at SoFi Stadium, and my Los Angeles fandom from afar (I still reside on the East Coast) is much more internally consistent. Even if being a Chargers fan is a predominantly miserable existence!

    As a Coyotes fan who grew up in Utah, I’m only bummed that they’re doing it now when I live halfway across the country.

    I’m a die hard Raiders fan, grew up in LA while they played here, fell in love with them. When they moved to Oakland in my teens, I’m not gonna lie I was mad. I tried to not be a fan, I couldn’t do it, it lasted a few weeks tops. So besides that couple weeks that I actually “tried” to not be a fan, my Raider love remained and always will. I couldn’t care less where they end up. All my other teams are Southern California teams, and if I had to rank my love for my teams, Raiders would be #1, and not even close. Even over my Alma mater USC.

    I know it’s not the same thing, but my town had the Braves AA team for years. The Greenville Braves. I went to so many of those games when I was a kid and some of my best memories are tied to those games. When I was in high school the city of Greenville had a falling out with the Braves due to some conflicts over the stadium and the Braves moved their AA team to Mississippi. Greenville would eventually get another MiLB team, but it is single A and certainly not the same level of competition. I still followed the AA team for a few seasons in Mississippi thanks to the internet, but my fandom eventually wore off which ultimately led to my fandom of MiLB to fade as well. Interestingly enough, I also became less of a fan of the big league team for awhile as well. I was pretty bitter that they treated my hometown bad. Last year those feelings of losing that AA team came back when the Braves announced that they moving the team from Mississippi to Columbus, GA. I felt so bad for those same kids in Peal, MS that are going through the grief that I went through in the early 00’s.

    I grew up in Houston in the 70s & 80s. I was in college when the Oilers moved to Tennessee. We were left with only one NFL team in Texas, the Dallas Cowboys.

    The whole time growing up, we Oilers fans saw the Cowboys as the more famous, more accomplished older sibling to our beloved Oilers. Once the Oilers left, we had permission to officially root for the Cowboys. In fact, I remember local media leaning into the idea of cheering for our one Texas NFL team.

    So, while I did begin to actively follow and support the Cowboys, I never stopped following and supporting the Tennessee Oilers/Titans, because of the players I’d known when they still played in Houston.

    In my personal circle, I’d say most Houstonians switched their allegiance to the Cowboys, still embittered by the Oilers’ move. I myself moved to the Dallas area in 1999, three years before the Houston Texans entered the NFL, so I feel no connection to that team, nor its fandom. I’ve been a loyal Cowboys fan for over a quarter century now. I also stopped following the Titans when the last of the original Oilers players moved on or retired.

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