Years ago, I remember the New York Yankees fan base being criticized. The gist of the criticism was that they were spoiled, arrogant fans, for whom only championships mattered (and to which they were entitled). They didn't appreciate their players, only seeing them as a means to an end.
Now, bashing Yankees fans is a New England birth right. However, I've been thinking about that criticism a lot over the last few months, and am wondering if it applies equally to Boston fans. If so, is that a bad thing? Or, are titles the only reason why we watch sports?
I think that where you come down on that question -- are titles the only thing that is important -- probably heavily influences where you fall on the "trade Pierce and/or KG" debate. Many fans who only value titles are going to take a look at our current roster, coldly assess its championship chances, and decide that it's time to rebuild, hopefully transitioning to the next title team. Now, even among the "title only" fans, there can be disagreement; somebody may believe that this year's team has at least as good of a shot at winning a title as any rebuilding team is likely to have over the next 5-10 years. However, most of the "trade KG / Pierce" fans are doing it because they feel like a season without a title is a failure.
I'd submit that there's more to sports than winning championships. Sure, that's the ultimate goal. However, there's something to be said for watching all-time greats play. How many fans of losing franchises would kill to have the chance to watch KG play every night? How many fans of other franchises would love to cheer on the second and fourth leading scorers among active players?
For fans who love the game beyond just winning titles, turning on the TV and rooting their team on to a hard-fought victory is always going to be superior to rooting for their team to lose. Playoff games -- even if they result in first round exits -- are more fun to root for than ping pong balls.
There's a lot of criticism that fans who root with their hearts or with sentimentality are somehow missing the bigger picture. I don't think so. Watching the Captain hit a dagger against the Clippers or watching KG make a huge defensive play are always going to be enjoyable experiences, and there's nothing at all wrong with those fans who want to enjoy another season or two of that before we move on to the next phase. To many fans, it's infinitely more enjoyable to watch KG bleed green than it is to root for the next Gerald Green.