It’s the same with every team in every city, be it the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox , the Seattle Mariners, the Houston Astros, or the Minnesota Twins.
Each team has fans that are willing to be patient, think logically and give the benefit of the doubt to players and front office personnel whose jobs are much tougher than it looks on TV. Each team has fans that are ready to jump off of a bridge with every loss, feeling the need to place blame on someone, a player, the manager, a hitting coach or the front office. And of course most fans lie somewhere on the spectrum in between those two extremes.
There are the fans who (semi-) jokingly suggest that the Twins will go 0-162. Well, to them, some might say, “Maybe they’ll go 158-4!”
There are those that are very impressed with the stability that Jamey Carroll has brought to the shortstop position in the first four games. The other side will say, “Sure, but he can’t hit.” Then the other side will respond with, “but he’s already got three walks and has taken many very good at bats. He isn’t a power guy, but he does get on base!”
Josh Willingham has a ton of brute power. He’s hit both of the Twins home runs so far, and just missed a third yesterday when the ball hooked just foul down the left field line. He is a right-handed Jim Thome and we should expect commercials with him walking around with a big, blue ox soon (at least when he gets done bowling!). Others will point out that he has two errors already and does a nice job of turning doubles into triples.
The team is hitting just .153 through four games. Only Cleveland has a lower batting average. Some will say that the offense was overrated. Others will say that Joe Mauer won’t hit .150 this year. Jamey Carroll will hit and get on base. Ryan Doumit can hit. The offense will be fine. In reality, it’s probably somewhere in between. As good as Carroll’s and Doumit’s track records are, no one can predict the future, especially when switching leagues and being over 30, etc.
The word “fan” comes from the word “Fanatic.” We all know that. But the definition of ‘fan’ can vary for every person. Some feel an obligation as a fan to bash every decision that a player, manager, coach or front office makes. Some fans are just fine with all of the decisions that a team makes, trusting that they have experience and know what they’re doing. Again, most are somewhere in between.
For me, there have been plenty of moves that I haven’t agree with over the past few years, and yet, I’m willing to give the player and the GM the benefit of the doubt until I’m proven right or wrong. For instance, when the Twins traded Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps in 2010, it really upset me. No Twins blogger or prospect-ranker was higher on Ramos than I was. In fact, I had a blog back in 2008 when Ramos was still playing in High-A Ft. Myers, I first laid out my plan for 2012 that included splitting catching and DH time between Ramos and Joe Mauer. I was generally bashed for my feelings at the time. Ramos may never been an All-Star, but he would have been a nice piece to still have. I didn’t like Capps at the time of the trade, and yet, he did very well for the Twins in 2010. I wasn’t surprised when he pitched poorly in 2011, and I was shocked when the Twins brought him back in 2012 and gave up a draft pick. Then again, I’m willing to see how it turns out, and I certainly hope that Wilson Ramos pitches great.
On the other side, I was a huge proponent of the Twins signing Mike Lamb before the 2008 season. They signed him for two years and $6.6 million. He was coming off of two straight seasons with an OPS over .820. He was only 32, and although no one expected him to be great, we certainly expected more than a .598 OPS in half of a season.
There are no absolutes in baseball, at least not when it comes to free agency or other transactions.
So, ask yourself… what kind of fan are you? If the “everything the team does is correct” belief is a TEN, and a “nothing this team does is right” is a ONE, what is your level of fandom?
There is no right or wrong answer to this. It is OK to question decisions that the team makes. It is OK to give the team the benefit of the doubt. Does your fandom change when the team is winning versus losing? Should it? At the end of the day, what kind of fan are you, and what kind of fan do you want to be?