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What Makes A Real Baseball Fan?

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A couple of days ago, there was an article on CBS Sportsline about the Boston Red Sox recent struggles and the depression their fans are falling into.  The article produced nearly a hundred comments, most of them between Red Sox and Yankees fans arguing about what makes a “real” baseball fan.  That caught my attention, so here’s my attempt and describing what a real baseball fan is. 

In my opinion, there are three different types of baseball fans.  There are the diehards, the wanna-be diehards, and the casual fans.  Here are the basic aspects of each type of fan.

DIEHARD

  • Celebrates the wins and gets depressed after the losses
  • Knows every player on the team and follows each transaction made by the front office closely
  • Comes to at least 20 games a year and watches the rest on TV/Radio unless a major issue of some kind comes up
  • Doesn’t need to wear a bunch of team gear to prove he/she is a fan
  • Refrains from using a cellphone and engaging in non-baseball-related conversations during games
  • Cheers for ONE team and only that team
  • Comes to the game no matter the weather conditions

WANNA-BE DIEHARD OR SEMI-DIEHARD

  • Happy after wins; sad after losses.  The result of the fan’s team doesn’t cause a major mood swing.
  • Knows most of the players and keeps up with the major transactions.  Tries to learn more from diehard fans.
  • Comes to games once in awhile and watches many on TV, but won’t always know the answer to “Did your team win last night?”
  • Wears a ton of team clothes trying to look like a big fan
  • Sometimes uses a cellphone during the game and likes to talk about his/her last golf round (for example)
  • Has more than one team that he/she roots for
  • Sometimes stays at home if the weather conditions are bad

CASUAL

  • Likes to know how the team did, but is not affected much by the result of each game
  • Knows a little about some of the players but is surprised when a new guy shows up and is always asking “who is that guy?”
  • Comes to a game once in awhile and watches/listens to about 50 games a season or less
  • Comes to the ballpark wearing the wrong colors and doesn’t look like a baseball fan
  • Talks about anything but baseball while watching a game and chit-chats on the phone for an hour at the ballpark
  • Changes favorite teams and can be a “fairweather” type of fan
  • Never goes to a game when there’s rain or wind

One thing that I find interesting is that each team seems to demand its own style of fans. 

To be considered a “real” fan of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, you almost have to be a diehard.  Every win or loss means a ton to someone who attends games at Fenway or Yankees Stadium on a regular basis.  If you go to Fenway and don’t know who Big Papi is, or if you watch the Yankees’ #13 hit a homerun and ask your Yankees Stadium seat-neighbor who he is, you will undoubtedly get a strange look and possibly a threat.  Baseball is taken very seriously in Boston and the Bronx (among several other stadiums like Wrigley Field) so to be considered a “real” fan there, you must be a diehard.

Most baseball teams have “wanna-be diehard/semi-diehard” fans, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Teams like the LA Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles have many serious fans, but you don’t have to be a do-or-die fan to fit in at Dodger Stadium, ATT Park, Comerica Park, or Camden Yards.  In other words, to be considered a “real” fan of those teams, you don’t have to cry when your team gets eliminated from the playoffs, or throw a party when your team clinches a playoff spot.  It’s completely acceptable to ask your seat-neighbor who Melvin Mora is at Camden Yards, or to talk on your cellphone at ATT Park (although you risk getting “eliminated” by Mike Krukow on TV).  While diehard fans at the ballpark might find it strange, the majority of the people at the stadium of a team where most fans aren’t diehard won’t give you a hard time for chit-chatting about non-baseball subjects during the game.

There are very few teams where the majority of fans are “casual”.  Most of these teams come from cities where baseball isn’t all that important, such as Miami or Toronto, where the Florida Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays regularly fill less than half of their ballpark.  There are a few diehard fans at the game every time at “casual” ballparks, but you can basically do whatever you want, especially since if you move around to the outfield, you could probably find an empty section. 

In my mind, you don’t have to be diehard to be a “real” fan of your favorite baseball team, you just have to fit in with the other fans.  While big-market teams like the Yankees and BoSox require you to be diehard to be a “real” fan, most do not, and that’s perfectly fine. 

A “real” baseball fan is a person who cheers on their team in the way that’s appropriate for that team — that’s all it is.

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18 Responses to “What Makes A Real Baseball Fan?”

  1. I agree with your feeling that what makes a “real” fan varies from team to team. The one thing I disagree with is that I’m an LA Dodgers fan and I believe the Dodgers have fans that are as diehard as the Red Sox and Yankees. Other than that, I think you’ve done a great job outlining what it means to be a “real” fan.

  2. […] Here’s a look at the three different types of baseball fans we have in the game. Diehards, semi-diehards, and the classic casual fan (or as I like to say, filthy bandwagoner). Take a look and see where you stand in the baseball fan hierarchy. Unfortunately, I don’t get down to the ballpark enough to be a diehard, but I’m close. [Baseballistic] Explore posts in the same categories: Sports, MLB, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Sports, Professional Sports […]

  3. a rue fan is just someone how sticks with there team. ( you probably never played major leagu baseball before or football in highschool )

  4. I guess I fall into the casual fan category, but when I do go to a game, I get my one hot dog and diet coke, and watch the game. I also have come to appreciate minor league baseball.

    I went to the opening game for the Staten Island Yankees this year and really enjoyed myself.

    http://www.poconopcdoctor.com/?p=335

    The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons will be the Scranton Wilkes-Barres Yankees this year, with a new grass field, and lots of Yankee fans from the Poconos coing to the games. It’s going to be a fun summer.

    My baseball fantasy would be to see one game in every ballpark in one season. I’d have to hit the lotto to afford this, though.

  5. Law of Attraction

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  6. I am not able to attend games because my team is about 1500 miles away but I watch them on TV. I’m in a big depression right now because they are LOSING! So what’s new?

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  8. I like that you highlighted Wrigley Field as your list of diehard stadiums. I personally get very drunk when the Cubs are in the playoffs (all like 2 times since I’ve been alive) and it either leads to being very happy or clinical depression. To see a full range of emotion from the human condition you need simply to watch a Cubs fan watch a Cubs playoff game.

    P.S. Feel free to check out our sports blog. Not incredibly professional but we have fun doing it. thenastyboys.wordpress.com

  9. Yes, real fans do exist! How to tell us from the phoney “fair weather ones” : http://moneyremix.com/what%E2%80%99s-this-player-worth-to-phillies-fans/

  10. What I would call a real fan.
    Knows the game.
    Reads the plays while happening, observes, files it away
    Patient with his team. Understands how tough it is to succeed.
    Is happy when THE TEAM PLAYS WELL.
    Thinks about the game discusses options and situations with his peers.
    Does his best to pass on observations and remembrances because after the game is played, back in the day that was all we had.
    In other words, enjoys the game. (see Jeff Kent)
    I see how the fan has changed, reveling in Wins, bitter in defeat.
    Makes me wonder if they get it.
    The Giants could stumble and fade down the stretch, but I know this pennant run is one for the ages.I see it, I have lots to compare it to.
    PS Best world series? Reds and Bosox 1975

  11. My team Is the baltimore orioles
    i played in a little league team that was named the orioles
    watched the games since i was a kid
    love evrything about them even if they are in last place in the best division in the league
    i just hate it when a team wins the world series or other stage event then all u see are hats and jerseys of that team
    these people must be stopped in a way they are a disgrace to sports

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