With the Los Angeles Dodgers recently having been crowned Champions of the Galaxy (Baseball Division), a great many Deseret News readers will be looking enviously at those of us who are True Believers, wishing they, too, could become card-carrying members of the Los Angeles Dodgers Fan Club and Pasta-Eating Society. As bearer of Membership Card No. 0000000001, I am pleased to provide this case study in the public interest.

Certainly, you must have wondered how millions of Dodger fans got to be Dodger fans. And have you ever wondered how several dozen otherwise seemingly decent people ended up Giants fans? Probably you've wished many times that some wise, all-knowing person of exceptional good looks and charm would explain for you the laws of nature that produce not just Dodger fans and Giants fans, but also Cougar fans and Ute fans and Aggie fans.

Your answer is at hand: You see, mostly it goes back to your roots. Like, where are you from? Where did you go to school? What sports did you play in school? Which teams play nearest your home? And were you brainwashed by your dad?

There. Wasn't that easy? Ah, but what about the teams you really hate? How did that come to be? Well, you see, each of your favorite teams has certain natural enemies, right? If you like the University of Southern California (a k a USC), then you're obliged to loath the University of California at Los Angeles (better known as UCLA). If you root for the Banana Slugs you have to hate the Bivalve Mollusks.

Let me use True Dodger No. 0000000001 (my personal self) as an example. Your Humble and Most Obedient Servant was born in Idaho and grew up in Oregon. When he was 3 years old, his paternal father on his dad's side told him he could either be a True Dodger or move out of the house - the sort of reasoning and iron-clad logic that 0000000001 could readily understand and accept.

Later, Your Correspondent got a sheepskin at Cougarville in Provo, then moved to Los Angeles to get a master's degree at USC. While in California, he spent six years as a weekend warrior with the 185th Medium Slingshot Battalion. He stayed in the Los Angeles area for 15 years before accepting other work in Salt Lake City, where his boss turned out to be a Boston Red Sox fan.

And so His Esteemed Free-Lanceship stands before you today, a product of these eminently wholesome and edifying influences. In all modesty, I must add that I'm a Third-Degree-Black-Belt-Dodger-Fan, and also a Red Sox booster. I cheer for the Los Angeles Rams and the USC Trojans. I pull for the Lakers and the Jazz and the Celtics.

And, of course, I have a list of teams I love to hate: The San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees. Thrice daily I face east and revile the University of Utah Utes - then turn west to invoke similar maledictions upon Stanford. (I complete my oblations by turning east and calling down fire and brimstone and the Crimson Tide upon Notre Dame.)

I just love it when someone - anyone - thrashes the Denver Broncos. I delight to see someone - anyone - knock off any team from the Bay Area or New York City.

As True Dodger Believer No. 0000000001, I have a set of specific rules governing sports loyalties - rules I now respectfully submit and heartily recommend to you who desire to become True Dodgers and Otherwise Wonderful People.

Rule A-1. The Brooklyn (New York City area) Dodgers have been my first love ever since Dear Old Dad carefully explained the conditions for continued residence in his home, circa 1940.

Rule A-2. By extension of Rule A-1, all other New York baseball teams - the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets - were and are and irrevocably must always remain: The Enemy.

Rule A-3. It follows that any New York team that moves to another location remains The Enemy. If you hated the New York Giants, you also have to hate the San Francisco Giants.

A-3-a. There are many enemies, but none so hated as the San Francisco Giants.

Rule A-4. When they moved to Los Angeles, the Dodgers remained the One True Team, and by the Law of Proximity to Oregon, became even truer. (While they were in the New York City area, they were the True Team, but they were also . . . well . . . Almost New Yorkers.)

A-4-a. Loyalty to the Dodgers is absolute. But if a Dodger player apostatizes and goes of his own free will to another team, he becomes The Arch-Enemy. (Example: Tommy Ratfink John sold his Dodger soul to the Mephistopheles Yankees.)

A-4-b. Any person who speaks ill of The Dodgers becomes The Enemy until he or she makes amends in the form of sundry banana cream pies.

Rule A-5. Since the Dodgers are the One True Baseball Team, any other baseball teams in Southern California - the Angels, the Padres - become usurpers and pretenders, and are added to the list of The Enemy.

A-5-a. Exception: Since the boss is afflicted with a terminal case of Toxic Redsoxicoccus, and since I enjoy the regular visits of The Compensating Angel every 14th day, the Boston Red Sox become the One True American League Team.

A-5-a-1. If ever the Red Sox should play the Dodgers, Rules A-1 and A-4 would apply, and I would go looking for another job. (I will not debase Basic Truths.)

. PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL

Rule B-1. Since the Dodgers are in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Rams become the One True Professional Football Team.

Rule B-2. By extension, all other pro football teams in Southern California - the Raiders, the Chargers - become The Enemy.

B-2-a. This is doubly true of the Raiders, since they formerly were in the Bay Area, home of the doubly-loathed baseball Giants, formerly at home in thrice-loathed New York City (see Rule A-2).

B-2-b. Obviously, all teams from New York City - the Jets, the Mets, the Nets, the Vets, the Pets, the Wets and the football Giants - are The Enemy.

Rule B-3. Since Salt Lake City gets a weekly overdose of Denver Broncos football on television - instead of the vastly-more-to-be-desired Los Angeles Rams - the Broncos become The Enemy.

Rule B-4. All other pro football teams are irrelevant unless they are playing the Los Angeles Rams, whereupon they become The Temporary Enemy - unless they are playing the Broncos, the Chargers, the Raiders, the Jets or the Football Giants, whereupon they become the Temporary Good Guys.

. PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL

Rule D-1. Since the Lakers are in the same town as The Dodgers, they become the One True Basketball Team.

Rule D-2. Since the Utah Jazz are in Salt Lake City, where also resides Your 33rd-Degree Dodger Fan, the Jazz become the One Other True Basketball Team.

D-2-a. If the Jazz play the Lakers, Your Esteemed Author goes fishing.

D-2-b. Both the Jazz and the Lakers charge too much for tickets.

Rule D-3. Since the Boston Celtics are in the same town as my boss' Red Sox, and since the Celtics at game time look like BYU homecoming, I root for the Celtics.

D-3-a. If the Celtics play either the Lakers or the Jazz, His Pulitzer-Prize-Winnership goes mountain climbing.

. GENERAL RULES

Rule F-1. Always root for the underdog, unless doing so conflicts with any of the rules listed above.

Rule F-2. In the absence of other loyalties, root for the team with the oddest name: The Mud Ducks, Them Dawgs, the Terrapins, the Fire Ants, the Banana Slugs, the Duckbilled Platypi.

Rule F-3. All teams from Oregon are hopeless.

Rule F-4. It is acceptable for baseball players to scratch themselves in public.

Rule F-5. It is acceptable for baseball players to chew gum and blow bubbles in public.

Rule F-6. It is NOT acceptable for baseball players to chew horse manure and to spit it out in public. Offenders should be forced to swallow the whole plug.

F-6-a. Exception: Dodgers may scratch or spit or chew or do anything else they like. Dodgers is Dodgers

*** That's all there is to it. Those are the rules that made True Dodger Fan No. 0000000001 what he is today - handsome, humble, talented, wealthy, famous, a genuine sex symbol.

To those of my Gentle Readers who wish to go and do likewise, I say, "Welcome." Clearly, you are People of Quality - discriminating, affable, congenial, Benefactors of the Race, good and gentle people, devoid of significant failings.

As for those who choose to be San Francisco Giants fans: Please take a sheet of paper and jot down all your own personal preferences and biases, all your prejudices, all your wrong-headed, bull-necked, dim-witted, pig-headed attitudes.

Then hike west until your hat floats.