Posts Tagged ‘fans’

The Art of Fair Weather Fandom

December 12, 2012

imageI know what you’re thinking: Jeremy, how would you know? You are the most hardcore, dedicated, handsome Dodgers and 49ers fan this side of Matt Kemp!

First of all, thank you. I agree. And yes – believe it or not, Dodgers star center fielder is a diehard 49ers fan.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t know a thing or two about fair weather fandom. Take, for example, the fact that I “root” for the Seattle Sounders because my ex-girlfriend’s dad got me hammered drunk at the only game I’ve attended.

As far as I know, that’s the coolest soccer team in the country because of one very hazy experience I had.

Or let’s talk about the Indiana Pacers; Reggie Miller was my favorite NBA player growing up, so naturally, I rooted for the Pacers. It was weird, unique, different. And like a good little Jew, I loved three-pointers (It’s the SAME thing, for one more point! Why doesn’t everyone just shoot threes?).

We all know Reggie was the three-point master. And don’t mistake “fair weather” for “frontrunner.” Those are vastly different labels. I liked the Pacers, good or bad, because I thought they were cool.

I like the Sounders because the beer at their stadium does very interesting things to my body when taken in large quantities. Honestly, I have no idea if they are any good and I don’t care.

Being a “frontrunner” means you live near the Bay Area and didn’t know what a baseball looked like until 2010 when the local San Francisco Giants won their first World Series title. If you now root for them, wear their gear, and try to tell me why they are the best team around – you are a frontrunner. Once they regress, so does your fandom. And that year’s World Series champion will grace your clothing.

On the contrary, being a fair weather fan means you root for a team for whatever reason, but only pay attention when you feel like it. That’s how it goes for me with basketball. It’s a sport I mostly understand, but never really played and definitely can’t objectively analyze.

I’ve been a fair weather Warriors fan for years (very obvious example of not rooting for a first-place team), but luckily I don’t have to put my heart and soul into rooting for them. So all those tortured fans out there probably both hate and envy me.

Tonight, the Warriors beat the defending-champion Miami Heat and reigning-MVP LeBron James. I turned it on for the sheer idea of a distraction and because my alma mater’s pride and joy, Klay Thompson, now graces the Warriors’ front court.

Twenty seven points for Klay later, the Warriors were jumping up and down on the Miami home floor, celebrating a two-point victory and the continuation of a gritty, undefeated (so far) road trip.

I found myself leaping out of my seat when the final buzzer sounded – emotions usually reserved for a Vernon Davis touchdown or Clayton Kershaw anything.

And that is the art of fair weather fandom. If you can watch a team play a game and feel no personal connection to them, but still become emotionally moved by their performance, you can root for them.

Just admit that you are fair weather, and nobody will get hurt. Tonight, I admit to being a fair weather Warriors fan. For the rest of this season, I am officially declared as a supporter of the Dubs (see, I even have the lingo down!).

I mean, why not? Technically my favorite basketball team is 1-0 this year when I watch them play and as their biggest fan, I couldn’t be happier.

If you are a fair weather blogger, follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman!

There’s So Much Wrong with the MLB All-Star Game

July 1, 2012

20120702-121714.jpgI hate the All-Star Game. I really do. It’s stupid and contradictory and responsible for one of the worst moments in recent baseball history. The new format demands that the best respective rosters from each league be assembled, so as to assure a fair fight in the battle for home field advantage in the World Series.

Yet, as if these grown men need coddling that a Little League parent would be proud of, each team better have one representative, or the Padres might cry! Puh-lease.

Further, let’s make this game about the fans and allow them to vote in the starters even though a large majority of fans doesn’t actually know anything about the sport and spend hours voting for each player at each position on their favorite team (I’m looking at you, Giants fans…this is how Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford end up in the top five at their positions).

I have no beef with putting home field advantage on the line. It gives exponentially more meaning and intensity to the contest. And it keeps the baseball version of All-Star festivities much more entertaining than the NFL’s Pro Bowl, albeit more boring than the NBA’s.

But you damn well better let the players and coaches, who actually know what they are doing, determine the All-Star rosters in this case. And require that players who were voted in by trigger happy, stat-ignorant fans who probably won’t even WATCH the game, yet enjoy being part of the process…actually play. No “fatigue,” Derek Jeter. Come on.

Now I make very public my devotion to the Dodgers. So 99 percent of people who read this will probably brush off the rest of this blog as a biased, spiteful rant. But just because the Giants will be the subject of my fury for the next few paragraphs, I promise it has nothing to do with rivalry.

How can I prove it? Simple. When it comes to the All-Star Game, now that home field advantage IS on the line, the National League needs to act as one cohesive unit. Trust me, I love nothing more than to hate the Giants. But I will root for any players in a Giants hat in Kansas City, as long as he helps get my LEAGUE a win.

And it baffles me that Giants fans don’t feel the same way – well, no it doesn’t. I know a lot of awesome, smart Giants fans. But the ridiculous voting campaign I saw put on at AT&T Park last week was overstepping the boundaries. And now that the results are in, I’m convinced that if the PR Department for the Giants told its fans to swim to Alcatraz and back naked, they would oblige.

There is no other reasonable explanation for Freddy Sanchez (he of ZERO games played this season) earning 2.2 million votes. No other fan bases voted for him. That shows me that Giants fans were instructed to find anyone with “San Francisco Giants” under their names on the ballot at each position, and vote for them no matter what.

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People. We were 300,000 votes away from Brandon Crawford starting for the National League at shortstop. And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, my point has been proven. Because nobody cares to know who Crawford, the .220-hitting, probably-worst-player-on-the-team even is.

It’s all fine and good to vote for your players. Do it 25 times. That’s the maximum. But when I go to a game in the city, and I see a reporter on the Jumbotron in front of a room in some top-secret part of the ball park where fans are being given free food to sit in there and vote for Giants players all day…I’m going to be upset about it.

This has nothing to do with fairness and equality. There were three Dodgers worthy of All-Star consideration. Two of them made it, one won’t play because he’s injured. That’s great. I don’t mind. There were six Giants who deserved to make it. Four did, including Pablo Sandoval.

Kung-Fu Panda earned a spot, despite being injured for part of the season. But getting over 1 million votes the day before the results are announced to unseat David Wright, far and away the best third baseman in baseball, as the starter? That’s not even annoying, it’s just irresponsible.

And Giants fans, you have to not be sheep just following what the voice on the screen says. If you truly love baseball – hell, if you truly love your TEAM, you’d vote for the guys that deserve it. We know you love your team. Passion is excellent. But you’ll be kicking yourselves if Sandoval goes 0-2 in the All-Star Game and fails to get runners in a scoring situation. That could have been David Wright, a much better hitter, up in that spot.

And what if the National League goes on to lose? What if that happens and then the Giants make a run to the World Series? Are you going to enjoy playing IN Arlington? IN Los Angeles? IN New York? When all that needed to happen is filling in a little circle next to your guys the allotted 25 times: Sandoval, 3B. Posey, C. Cabrera, OF.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but part of me wishes Crawford had been voted in. Because I really think that would have made for an all-out remodeling of the process.

Anyway, let me re-state again. I’m not picking on Giants fans because I hate their team. I’m picking on Giants fans because they were the worst (by a mile) offenders of borderline illegal ballot stuffing for this thing. You can argue with me and say the Rangers have too many players in, and I’d probably agree. But Rangers fans didn’t get anyone who didn’t deserve consideration within striking distance of a starting spot. Just remember that.

Brandon Belt may some day be an All-Star. Freddy Sanchez will return to stardom if he gets healthy. And even Crawford may visit the Midsummer Classic some year. You never know.

But no matter how much you love them and the jerseys on their back, there is much more at stake than bragging rights for which team sends the most All-Stars to K.C.

There is the matter of the National League having to join forces, fans and all, to put the best possible team out on the field. Then once home field advantage has been earned, you can go back to quarreling intra-division and fighting for the right to actually use that home field advantage in October.

Obviously, many changes need to be made to the All-Star Game. Fans can’t be voting with so much at stake, and the stakes shouldn’t even be so high. I can understand where MLB is coming from, but when your slogan is “This One Counts,” fans have to be encouraged to remember that.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game…but if Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval are responsible for a National League loss in the All-Star Game, feel free to tell your nearest Giants fan to change his or her evil ways.

Whew. Okay. I feel better. Now don’t even get me started on snubs like Josh Reddick…

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