July 3, 2012

What Constitutes a "Real Fan"?

One of the more defining aspects of a team is their fan-base. Everyone knows that the Phillies have a historically judgmental fanbase. One that is as brutal to the opposing team as they are to their star player going through a tough spell.
2-Time Cy Young Winner's are not Heckle-Exempt

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Oakland A's or the Florida Marlins of the past few years (now the Miami Marlins). Both teams are more well known for a lack of fans. 
And someone in between there, you have the bandwagoners. These people tend to stick to the standards. The Yankee's, Red Sox, or, for the more masochistic people, the Cubs. These people deserve very little respect. I say very little because the fact that they are even pretending to watch baseball is admirable and at least they won't distract you from a game.

To put it a little more simply, and take note that this is one man's opinion
A REAL FAN takes an interest in his teams goings-ons throughout the year, even if it is just checking in every couple of weeks
A FAKE FAN waits to see if there team will make the playoffs and gets excited about there team if they are doing well
A REAL FAN has a reason for being a fan. Daniel comes from a Red Sox centered family because in Buffalo, you are a Yankee's fan or a Red Sox fan, and since South Buffalo is predominately Irish, they have the Boston connection (same with a lot of my family). Even if your reason is that you played for the Marlins in tee ball and have followed that team since then, you have license to rep that team, as long as you stick through the tough times.
A FAKE FAN, when asked why they are a fan of a team, will respond with "I just am" or even "Wild Thing is my favorite player of all time". This excludes people who are fans of local team. Thats just expected.
A REAL FAN engages is a somewhat intelligent discussion about which team is better, usually biased, but never resulting in lasting animosity.
A FAKE FAN yells unintelligibly at people wearing the colors of the opposite team and go to games, not to watch their favorite player, but to pick fights to show how much "tougher they are".

The main reason I decided to clarify a real fan is that, a little over a year ago today, on Opening Day 2011, a man by the name of Bryan Stow was viciously blindsided by what is believed to be two people in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, wearing his San Francisco Giants gear like a real fan. As a Dodger fan, I heard about how vicious and violent all Dodger fans are. Let me start this off by saying was happened to Mr. Stow is in no way excusable and literally makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it. But let me also add that the two men who attacked Mr. Stow are in no way Dodger fans. They may tell people that they are "hardcore" Dodger fans, but that is not the case. You see, I was there that night. I sat with two friends and my dad in front of a group of Giants fans. We might have made one or two snide remarks, but for the most part, I talked about how much I think James Loney is a bum and he discussed his distaste for one Giant's player or another. It was casual and friendly. This is how rival fans should act.

Now I understand that when two friends are fans of rival teams, it can get a little more hostile. That being said, team affiliations should never affect a friendship. A real fan of the game would understand that baseball, and all sports for that matter, are something to be mutually enjoyed. So whether you are a die hard fan who reads every box score 100 times over, or someone who goes to a game with Instagram already pulled up your phone, go to have fun, make memories, and enjoy your life.


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