Posted on 19 March 2013.
The second issue at hand after the fallout of Jeff Passan’s article is are US fans bad?
I discuss whether they are boring or not here. A completely separate issues is if they are bad or not. Boring doesn’t necessarily make you a bad fan.
So, are US fans boring? Generally yes. Are US fans bad? Generally no.
Just as we state that we don’t encompass all US fans into the boring column, we have to do the same with the bad column. Generally US fans are not bad. How can you call St. Louis Cardinals fans bad? Believe me I wish I could after Game 6 in 2011. Trust me if I could make the point that Cardinals fans that root for David Freese were bad, I would. But that’s just the anger that is still there from 2011. No matter how bad I want them to be, they aren’t. Believe me I try not to hold grudges, but I am still trying to forgive Lonnie Smith for falling for the fake double play at second base in 1991. One day I’ll get over it, but not today.
Are all fans great? Heck no!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve cheered on the Atlanta Braves. I grew up as a Dale Murphy fan, and he is still my all-time favorite player. I cheered for them when they were the worst team in baseball, and fortunately for me they turned it around and became a dynasty in the 1990s.
So why do I bring up the Braves? It’s their fans. I’ve never lived in Atlanta. I grew up as a fan thanks to TBS like so many others around the US. I wish I had lived in Atlanta during their best years because Atlanta doesn’t have the greatest fans. There were way too many years where there were playoff games that weren’t sold out.
I never understood that. I grew up in Texas. When I got to go to a MLB game it was to see the Texas Rangers, so I always have a place in my heart for them. I saw them struggle for so many years. Most of my best friends back home are die hard Rangers fans who had gone their whole lives with just a short taste of the playoffs. Seeing that while at the same time seeing that my favorite team couldn’t sell out a playoff game didn’t sit well with my friends, or me for that matter.
I’m not here to single out Atlanta, but it reminds me of the US in the WBC. Where were the fans?
In an elimination game against Puerto Rico on US soil the game only brought in 19,762 fans. Now a lot of teams in the Major Leagues would love to have 19,000+ fans each night. But this isn’t some run of the mill, bottom of the standings team. This is Team USA.
Sure they drew over 34,000 against the Dominican Republic, but where were those fans against Puerto Rico?
Now before I get flamed, not showing up doesn’t make you a bad fan but it does contribute to the problem.
The fans that have shown their true colors are those that have come out and blasted the WBC. I can’t count how many Tweets. blog posts, and comments have shown many of the fans hatred of the Classic. That I don’t understand.
Sure I want to see the best of the best play, but why should they if we have a lot of fans blasting the tournament saying how it is meaningless and the players are only hurting themselves by not being in camp?
Why don’t we as fans set the president of what is important by vocalizing it more. If we as a whole, and this isn’t everyone, show the players how much this means to us then they would play. Instead we have national writers and many fans blasting the tournament as a waste of time. If we are telling Justin Verlander it’s a waste of time, we can’t turn around and get angry at him for not playing.
Those are the fans that have missed some of the most exciting baseball to come along in a long time.
Fortunately for baseball, I don’t think they are in the majority. There are so many great baseball fans out there that have followed this tournament from day one and would do so if the US was in it or not. Many of them see the bigger picture for the game and how the growth that the Classic helps on a global scale is worth everything and more.
What happens if Puerto Rico faces off with the Netherlands in the Championship Game? Many people will think it will just show how weak the tournament is. That’s not the case though. It’s just the opposite. It shows how baseball is growing and is becoming a truly global sport.
Of course if you read this blog a lot you know I fully support the growth of the game on a global scale. I feel this only helps the game here in the US, including MLB. So how could this tournament do anything but good for the game?
Fortunately there are people that see the bigger picture, and to those fans I salute you and say thank you. I only wish we had more fans like you.
Why is it that if we slapped the Olympic Rings on this tournament it would be a hit? Maybe I am in the minority in that I can separate my feelings for players from teams I like and dislike when they are playing for their home country. I won’t mix words here but I hate the Mets. Being a Braves fan I want to see them lose every single game they play. But even so, I was pulling for David Wright as much as I was Craig Kimbrel. Why? It’s not the name on the back that matters. It’s that name on the front.
I definitely might be in the minority in that I will watch and root on any sport that the USA represents. Call me a homer, a fool, or any other thing you want but I want the USA to win everything, even if they are playing tiddlywinks. Thankfully, I am not alone.
Those are the fans that make this game great, and thankfully for baseball they come from more countries than just the USA. Baseball, and the WBC for that matter, is going to be okay because of those fans worldwide.
Thank you fans of Italy.
Thank you fans of the Netherlands.
Thank you fans of Mexico, Canada, Dominican, Puerto Rico, Brazil, etc…
That goes for every team that was in the WBC and those in the qualifiers.
I know I’ve gotten off track a bit from the initial point, but it can’t be understated how great many of the fans are out there from the US and everywhere else.
Too many times the negative outshine the positive. I know because it happened to me when I ranted about the WBC after reading the comments on Jeff Passan’s article. There are a lot of closed minded idiots out there. Fortunately for the game and the US, they are in the minority.
Sure there are some things that need to be changed to make the WBC better. Let’s not forget thought that it’s still in its infancy. Despite Bud Selig, sorry not a fan, this tournament will continue to be a success because of the fans.
So are there bad US fans? Yes, but they are in the minority.
It’s easy to get carried away and mix the two thoughts, boring and bad. But one doesn’t necessarily make the other a reality.
So with all that being said, let’s all enjoy some great baseball while we still can.
I love this game!
I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Just leave a comment below or email us if you wish.