I pledge allegiance to ?

I don't know what's happened to me.

I used to be a very loyal sports fan. If I picked a team, I'd live and die with every game they'd play.

Now, I find myself caring less and less how my favorite teams are doing. In fact, I'm not even sure I have a favorite team anymore.

Could it be because I've been trained as a sportswriter to be impartial, and that's bled into my viewing habits? It certainly seems plausable, seeing as how my rooting interests have waned in the last 15 years -- the same length of time as my sportswriting career.

Could it be because I've grown weary of rooting for certain teams? Let's be honest: it's hard to root for a team that has no chance of making the playoffs every year. For example, I call myself a Cleveland Browns fan because that's who I rooted for since I was a kid. But when the original Browns moved to Baltimore a decade ago, there was a three-year period where I had no one to root for. Then when the Browns came back, they were so bad that it was a chore to remain interested in them. Add in the fact that there is almost no local coverage of them, and it's little wonder why I my love affair with the Browns is on the rocks.

Another example: I stopped rooting for the New York Yankees after they traded for Alex Rodriguez three years ago because I thought it was a frivolous move to acquire the best shortstop in baseball to play third base. I figured if the Yankees were only interested in building an all-star team, it made more sense to root for any other team to beat them. After all, who wants to see the favorite win all the time? That's why I started rooting for the Mets -- the team that has played second fiddle to the Yanks since joining the league in 1962. Sure, they have acquired their fair share superstars (Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine), but they've also developed some great players who should be a lot of fun to watch the next several years (Jose Reyes, David Wright, Lastings Milledge). I'd rather root for a team like that than a team like the Yankees.

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