I have to thank Katie for inspiring this blog post with the following text:
“Chipper Jones has been playing baseball for 18 years and only has one World Series ring.”
First thought: Who the f is Chipper Jones?
But I figured she was going somewhere with this, so I just wrote back “holy crap.”
And then I figured I should ask, “Who does he play for now?” (AKA who is he because I follow baseball but not THAT CLOSELY?)
She responds, “Braves still…and only. He’s retiring after this season,” and then went on to express her irritation with Braves fans for being bandwagon fans — loving the team only when they make the playoffs and not giving a shit any other time before, during, or after said season. But the team’s one World Series title over Chipper Jones’ time there speaks to the fact that the Braves are not, say, the Yankees (Okay so they WENT to the World Series five times in the 1990s, but they only WON it once, in 1995).
The city has the largest baseball stadium in the Southeast and uses that as the excuse to why it is never sold out (despite the fact that you can buy tickets for like, a dollar).
If you put that stadium in Wrigleyville, St. Louis, or NYC, it would be sold out. Atlanta fans love Atlanta teams ONLY when they’re winning– and if not, they’re latching on to another team. Cubs sell out games even when they have the second worst record in all of baseball. Before you send me hate mail, please know this is coming from multiple people who were born and raised in Atlanta.
There are several definitions of what a bandwagon fan actually is. And it’s something I’ve been accused of being MANY a time. Let’s explore, shall we?
According to Urban Dictionary there are three possible definitions:
1) Anyone who claims they are a “fan” of a particular sports team, even though they had no prior support for/interest in the team until that team started winning. These types of fans only show playoff interest, have probably never watched a regular season game, don’t own any type of team merchandise, nor would they buy any.
2) Switches support to whatever team/game/allegiance/belief happens to be successful at the time.
And my FAVORITE definition:
3) Anyone who became a Miami Heat fan in 2010-2011 (or Notre Dame, if they didn’t go there. Seriously, I don’t understand Notre Dame fans that did not go there and then throw a party when the fencing team wins a national title)
If you assess definitions 1 & 2, then yes, I am a bandwagon fan, but I feel can justify these decisions.
1) Villanova – I didn’t go there, but I interned there, so the school is a part of me. For nine months I spent seven days a week (at least it felt like it) in the athletic department. I got to know the coaches, athletes, and staff. That year, the basketball team made it to the Sweet 16. The atmosphere was electric. It all sunk in and stayed with me. I cried, LITERALLY CRIED, when we made the Final Four in 2009. I cried, LITERALLY CRIED, when we were eliminated in the second round the year after, because I wanted to see Scottie Reynolds cue up another deep run, but oh well. The team is not going to be good this year. They’re just not. So, while I am not going to masochistically follow each and every game, I am not going to adopt a new team to root for just because Villanova is bad this year. Rest assured, I will continue to hate Duke, UNC, and Ohio State.
2) Chicago White Sox – Technically, I am part of the White Sox family. I worked out of the stadium for a year. Sure, last season I didn’t follow the team as closely as I am this year because they were really bad, but I have FINALLY picked my Chicago baseball team, because you can’t be both. Plus, now we have Youk, which is awesome. Before this year, I always rooted for the Sox of a different color, but that team is in the gutter right now. So yeah, fine, bandwagon, I get it. But baseball is a soul-crushing, 162-game season. Might as well have a team to root for that’s fun to watch with a manager who’s not a complete psycho.
3) Chicago Bulls – I’ve never cared about the NBA before, but Ed Pinckney, who was an assistant coach at ‘Nova while I was there is now an assistant for the Bulls – so not only does the team also fall under Jerry Reinsdorf’s ownership, but Ed and I go way back to 2004. Good dude.
4) Miami Hurricanes – This is probably where I am the most bandwagon-y – when the team is losing, I shift my attention elsewhere (Michigan, Illinois, anyone who plays OSU, etc). So I have focused my attention elsewhere since 2005, minus September of 2010 when I spent over $1,000 to go to fucking COLUMBUS, OHIO to see us get our asses kicked by the team I hate the most in the world, so that was awful, because Columbus sucks and OSU fans are wretched people (with the exception of like, two) and the only coach I hate more than Jim Tressel is PROBABLY Urban Meyer, so that’s awesome that he’s at OSU now and Miami blows and is going to be put on major probation soon and WHY WHY WHY?
At least when I’m not rooting for my core teams, I pick a team to root for that I have SOME connection to (I went to Illinois, my mom went to Michigan, etc). The people that drive me crazy are the ones who choose to root for Duke just because, even though they could not find Durham on a map, or the people who choose to root for Notre Dame because it’s an elite school that usually has good teams, for the most part, even though it’s mostly Olympic sports, but they somehow manage to have a rabid fan base, which drives me crazy, so no, I don’t root for Notre Dame, but thanks for asking.
And then there’s the people who root for Tim Tebow – contrary to popular belief, he is NOT, in fact, God’s gift to Florida, women, or football. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, I don’t buy the virginity act, and rooting for him does not make you holier than thou, so unless he’s playing for your actual team, cut the shit.
So, when you think about it, I could be WAY worse of a fan than I am. Watching sports and rooting for teams is supposed to be fun, not stressful.