My parents couldn’t name 3 current Dodgers right now for a billion dollars. Couldn’t tell you who owns them, no clue who manages them, and there is NO WAY they know where they sit in the standings, etc. That’s ok, they’re human. I can’t hold that against them.
Well, as you can tell, I am a fervent Dodgers fan. Cey, Lopes, Garvey, Russell….those were the names I grew up watching. Rookie of the year 5 years in a row?!? You betcha!! Can you name them in order? Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo, Hollandsworth. (I legit only switched Karros and Piazza). Today we’re going to briefly go over the different approaches to fandom, and how that plays out being a Dodgers fan.
The casual fan owns a hat, or a shirt. He’ll watch the game if it’s on, but has no problem watching Shark Week if the game isn’t televised. (I’m looking at you, Time Warner Cable). He may attend a game or two a year, but will more than likely spend the entire time staring at his phone, or talking on it, paying little to no attention to the ballet going on right in front of him.
Captain Passionate-pants checks the MLB standings daily. Sometimes hourly. He scours twitter for the latest news, so he can be the first guy to share it with his fellow passionate friends, as if being the first person to share the news somehow makes him a more legitimate source. He could don an entire outfit solely comprised of his team’s gear, down to his drawers. He more than likely knows just about every miniscule tidbit of information on his team, whether it’s some obscure manager that only lasted 1 season (Fresco Thompson), to the name of the lady that used to play the organ (Nancy B!), to the guy wearing the white fedora behind home plate, who not only uses a radar gun to track pitch speeds, but also scouted, and recruited, players like Fernando Valenzuela, Yasiel Puig and Julio Urias (Mike Brito).
Once the playoffs start, casual fan starts paying more attention. He starts looking up pitching match-ups, gets to know the opposing teams best hitters, and even goes so far as to post something on social media backing his team. Go sportsball!
The passionate fan knows, within a minute or two, when first pitch is. He can probably tell you what pitch it will be (CK’s patented inside fastball for strike 1). He knows the opposing line-up inside and out, can tell you who their best pinch hitters are, where the hole is in their bullpen, and why you want to take the first pitch from their closer every time you see him. He knows who is playing in other series, can tell you who’s pitching in those games, where they’re being played, and how that will affect his team once they advance.
Casual guy watches the game as it plays out, doesn’t bother pausing while he uses the restroom, gets up to fetch a cold beer from the fridge, or when his phone rings and he has to take it. He’ll just catch up on SportsCenter, doesn’t mind the guys calling the game, and catches Pokémon critters between balls put in play.
Passionate fan is all in. Phone is on silent, and face down somewhere in another room. He can barely stand listening to Joe Buck, but if it means he gets to watch his guys play, so be it. He has cleared ample room in his DVR to record the game so he can go back and re-watch certain plays and see if he can find something of note to comment on. He will allow others to watch in his presence, but they have to be on the same page; no changing channels period, don’t talk over the commentators while the ball is in play, and whatever you do, leave a clear bath between the Captain’s couch spot and the TV. Do not break his line of sight.
However you watch games is entirely up to you; some guys’ paint their faces, other guys get tattoos representing their infinite love for their squad; some consider it a badge of honor. Some fans aren’t so into it, and are fine in their mediocrity. It’s really a case of ‘you do you’. The benefits of casual fandom; it’s not such a bummer when your ace is rumored to be out the rest of the year, the front office moves a few young players and it’s not the end of the world, etc. Your team wins? Yay! Hi-five the guy sitting next to you!!
The existence of the passionate fan is a different experience entirely; he stomach churns when he hears bad news, he will critique moves involving players he likes even though the move might actually make sense for his squad, and, above all….when your team wins, time slows. The looks on the faces of the people about seem surreal; it’s as if you’re dreaming, and you want to soak it all in. Your chest sticks out a little further, you smile a lot more often, and whenever someone brings up that sport, they look at you and give you the nod, implying ‘you get it…you guys won’.
Damn right, we get it. Damn. Right.