|Former Sounder Mike Fucito|
(Courtesy of SBnation.com)
This past February, while at a party with a group of my girlfriends, one of them handed me a glass of wine and told me she had some news to share as soon the glass was empty. The wine was unnecessary as I had already heard the news-- Mike Fucito, my favorite feisty forward, had been traded away from Seattle to the expansion Montreal Impact. While Fucito had not been given protected status during the expansion draft he had survived it and looked set to suit up for another season in Seattle. But, things change. And bringing Eddie Johnson to town was too good an opportunity to pass up.
So I had settled into the idea that my sentimental favorite was going to be playing for Montreal. Not great, but-- hey-- it could have been worse. Famous... last... thoughts.
On April 20th ‘worse’ is exactly what happened. Mike Fucito was traded to the Portland Timbers.
As I’ve shared in previous posts, I grew up in New England which means I grew up as a Red Sox fan. There’s a well known saying that when you’re a Red Sox fan you have two favorite teams: 1) The Red Sox and 2) Whoever is playing the Yankees. So I’m no stranger to the feeling of, blind, intense, deeply rooted sports rivalry. In fact, I need it. I find it difficult to fathom how it would feel to support one team without a complementary feeling of loathing toward another. So as a Sounders fan, I don’t really need to know or care ‘who’ is playing for Portland to know that I’m going to dislike and disparage them. It’s a matter of pride and principle. End of story.
As a kid I remember going to Fenway with fingers crossed that it was a day that Roger Clemens would appear on the mound. He was young and his talent was, presumably (or would it be allegedly?), free from chemical enhancement. He was a true superstar and, despite his cocky attitude and contempt for the fans, we loved him. And he was ours. Until he wasn’t. He, too, was sent first to a Canadian team before landing himself on the dark side. From Boston to Toronto and then to New York. It was hard to accept but by then, honestly, I had lost interest in the day to day business of baseball. I was in college and the sting of the trade was largely a blow to my sense of nostalgia and my childhood memories.
But this is now. To see Fucito in Timbers green will be... well, it won’t be good. Fucito wasn’t the crown jewel of the Sounders franchise. What he was, though, was a fan favorite who worked hard every time he was on the field and quite often made something good happen as a result. He smiled. He hustled. He followed shots. He was scrappy. And we loved him for it.
I will be interested to see how fans react to Fucito in Timbers green. Obviously as part of the whole, I’ll be rooting for defeat. But as an individual, I wish him the best.