When the Sox dropped the World Series in 1986, while I tried to wash away the pain with Spiderman comics and soda (hey, I was under 21 at the time), my man Pat had an altogether different reaction.

He became an Indians fan.

“I’m done with the Sox,” I vaguely recall him saying, and we laughed and smiled and nodded because it seemed the perfectly reactionary thing to say after being dragged through an emotional minefield. But when the 1987 season started, there he was in his Cleveland cap and his Andre “Thunder” Thornton puffy hand and we shrugged and figured, okay, this might take a while.

Last year, in the 2007 ALCS, he was still rooting for the Injuns.

The reason this story popped into my head last night is I was talking to a coworker who moved to New York from Chicago when she got married and explained how she “became a Mets fan” after growing up a diehard Cubbie. And I started wondering exactly how someone can switch allegiances like that.

Is it the need to go native? The desire to blend in with the crowd? To not seem out of place shuffling down Beacon Hill’s narrow streets in your Maicer Izturis jersey?

If I got transferred to the goddam moon, the first thing I’d do is hoist a Red Sox flag, then go about finding a place where I could watch the Sox game (although, on the moon, you can bet your ass I’d be paying through the nose for their ridiculous cover charges, those f#$king moon-based businesses.) So, personally, I can’t understand how someone flips the switch (beyond, for example, rooting for, say, the Mariners to beat the Yankees during a particularly critical late September series). But it happens, and it seems such an interesting phenomenon to me.