I’m confused by bandwagon fans. Well, not by them so much I suppose. But, I’m confused by everyone’s desire to label them as such, and berate them for it. It’s a little odd.
Take Baltimore. All I heard during the first two games of the ALCS were snide comments about how they don’t fill Camden Yards with Orioles fans during the regular season. It’s just a bunch of bandwagon fans dressed in orange. Disgraceful. If they’re not going to be supporting the team when they’re lousy, or in the regular season, they shouldn’t be showing their painted faces now. Apparently.
But, what about Tampa? Aren’t their fans chastised for the very consistency we’re insisting that Orioles fans display? They don’t fill the Trop when the Rays are lousy, or when they’re in the playoff hunt. They show the same level of enthusiasm, or lack thereof, no matter the circumstances. And they get ragged on. Come on! Support your team! You can’t even sell out a September game when you’re one game out of a playoff spot? Disgraceful.
It’s not that you’re just supposed to support your team through thick and thin, either. That’s what Cardinals are known for. And, you guessed it, they’re routinely mocked for it. What are they doing cheering a guy after he strikes out three times? Or when Wrigley sells so many tickets to see a last place club. Disgraceful.
So, which is it? Are you supposed to only support quality? That’s certainly what you do in every other aspect of life. I don’t go see a bad movie just because I’m loyal to the theater, or the actor that’s starring in it. If a restaurant changes chefs, I’m allowed to go there even if I didn’t go back when the food was terrible. I’m allowed to limit my choices to things that make me happy. Why do we expect more than that from sports fans?
Personally, my only problem with bandwagon fans comes when they’re vocal about it. If you want to go buy a brand new AL East Division Champs Orioles shirt and wear it around town, more power to you. If you want to paint yourself orange while you do it, go right ahead. Just don’t come up to me at a bus stop because I’m wearing a Red Sox hat and start laughing at me because the Sox finished last. That you have to earn. If you were at the same bus stop with orange skin last October? Maybe I’ll allow you to trash talk this October. Otherwise, just be quiet and go about your business. It’s the same theory that led me many times to say I almost preferred a Yankees loss to a Red Sox win. At least if the Yankees lost, I could go to the grocery store without Yankees fans giving me a hard time.
So, go ahead and support your team whenever you want, however you want. But, if you only support them when they win, be quiet about it.
Or at least be clever.