Observing the Tigers and Yankees… Fan Base
By Bryan Craves
Oh, it’s been an interesting night.
Okay, most of my interaction with fans from any sport these days comes from the wonderful world of Twitter.
Right now, as I type away, Curtis Granderson is up to bat, with the Yankee fans in the stands yelling “MVP! MVP! MVP!” Except in my quick research I was unable to find a MVP winner who finished the year batting .262. Of course, when I originally heard all that, I was expecting Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera to be making appearances…
The Tigers are getting run up in Yankee Stadium in Game 1 (a 2-day affair brought on by Mother Nature) and it’s brought out the possible worst in people, on both sides of the fan base. Judging by what I’ve been seeing so far on Twitter tonight, you have a specific class of actual baseball fans who root root root, for the home team… that actually have some baseball savvy. That’s great. Except that in my limited time as a baseball fan (I can remember being a fan at age 7, which brings only 29 years experience), I’ve seen the Yankee bandwagon can grow or shrink based on the success of the franchise. Sadly, most of what I see on Twitter is the bandwagon side of the Yankee baseball world.
Sure, it’s probably because the Yankees are a very marketable brand. I get that. It’s really what MLB wants, since it’s a brand that sells most of the merch, therefore makes the most money. But it’s that group that is the most abrasive. And most are undereducated about the true history of Yankees baseball. They think a .262 hitter is and MVP, when in reality, a guy who single-handedly wins 20% of their games, or a guy who hits for average, power, and etc etc… can actually garner REAL MVP VOTES. Because most of “Yankee fans” think that they are the center of the baseball universe, they assume that if something doesn’t go their way, it’s an absolute travesty. Of course, it helps to have a national broadcast on your side, as they eat up the potential to have the “best matchup” all the way forward.
Now, I’d love to crack on the so-called Yankee fanbase, but…
To be fair, Tigers fans, a certain group that I have been critical of for most of the season, can also be quick to “Jump off the Ledge” when it comes to the team’s downfall. A few tweets I witness have already denounced Max Scherzer, perhaps unable to win because his numbers aren’t as good as Freddy Garcia‘s? I type that, trying to keep a straight face. Some our following are quick to assume that he’ll fail in Yankee Stadium, and it’ll be a 2-0 hole going back to Detroit. Why, because they’re on the road in NY and they can’t win? Scherzer will flop? The defense won’t be well placed? MAX’S BROWN EYE WILL NOT SEE AS WELL AS HIS BLUE ONE?
I think what I’m rambling about here is the “paper” factor. Everything looks better on paper. People “Jump the Shark” so quickly, or are too quick to judge. Tigers fans will look at tonight’s loss and assume that they can’t win big on the road. Yankees fans will look at what Rivera did and assume that he shut it down (while only throwing 3 bloody pitches) and they’ll be destined to move on. Great. Thanks, but I’ll will watch all the games, all the way through.
Ultimately, what bothers me the most about ANY fan base is assumption. I would rather see it all played out than let someone tell me “this is how it’s going to go”… or, just follow along with someone who thinks the worst will happen, TOMORROW. Frankly, no one should have the patience of any of these people, and in the end, people with a strong understanding will ultimately figure it out for themselves, but when caught up in the gamesmanship of it all, you can tend to be swayed a bit. I for one, like to think I can keep my ground, even if the fan bases from my side OR the other tend to try and sway people the other way. Now, I say this, but I’m not looking to sway any readers of this to sway from their own opinions. I’m merely trying to solve my own riddle, of getting around the usual “knee-jerk reacting” fan, or the “bandwagon jumper.”
In the end, I hope for an educated judgement, not one swayed by fans who aren’t fully engulfed in what the situation is presenting. This might come off as rather picky, prude, or to most… VERY arrogant, but I hope that the team you follow is the team you’re educated about. For me, there’s no patience for straying. Don’t assume, enjoy the ride… from those and yourself, who are potentially very much educated from the season before.
Follow me on Twitter, @DisplacedTgrFan, and read more at my personal blog, The Displaced Tiger Fan.