Let me preface this by saying I have an undying and unhealthy love for both the New York Yankees, as well as the New York Giants. But, the key is, my awkward, stalker-ish love is for the pinstripes or the Giant blue, not the players themselves. If Derek Jeter wants $22 million a year after this season, maybe it's time to pull the plug, bring in/up a spot filler and look for the next Jeter. Thanks for the memories Jete! I understand the mindset that he wants to retire as a Yankee. But he has that option; it is all up to him, just ask for what you're worth as an old short stop. The feeling that the Yankees must pay him whatever he asks for is absurd.
A similar instance happened with my boys in blue last week. With all the Ben Roethlisberger news, 'people' were throwing out ideas of where the Steelers could trade him and someone said to trade him to the Giants for Eli Manning...and I loved the idea! I have no emotional attachment to Eli. We won a superbowl with his arm behind center, and it was fantastic, yet I want the Giants to win again; I could not care less whether Eli himself wins another ring.
This obsession with loving the players on 'your team' unconditionally just because they happened to be on the team when you started following, or the owner happened to make a move to get them is an odd bit of human nature in my opinion. By all means, root for these guys, but not because you care about them specifically, because you shouldn't. Root for them because they are on YOUR team.
I feel this working the opposite way with fans as well. I, as a Yankee fan, must hate the Red Sox, and I do. I currently dislike greatly every player on their team. However, I don't hate Manny Ramirez. I used to, believe me. But now? Who cares? He's on the Dodgers, a team I have no feelings towards one way or the other. I don't know Manny personally, I only used to hate him because of the uniform he wore. That should be that. Similarly, if my football Giants traded for heated rival Marion Barber tomorrow, I would throw my hands up in celebration. I root against Barber every week, because he is on the Cowboys, and for no other reason.
I guess the bottom line is to root for the laundry. If you have favorite players, and I do, don't worry about what uniform they wear. My favorite players have never played on my teams. Not sure I did this on purpose or consciously, but it happened that way, and I find the whole thing much easier to tolerate. Now, when a trade or release goes down, I just check the facts. Was it a good trade for my team? Did we improve? Oh, we got rid of a fan-favorite...so what? I just love the laundry.