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  • What Kind of Fan are You?

    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?

    This article was originally published in blog: What Kind of Fan are You? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 49 Comments
    1. lilbiscuit's Avatar
      lilbiscuit -
      Yeah. Well, it's one thing to lose 4 games. It's quite another thing to be totally outplayed and outclassed.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I'd put myself at about a 5. I've become tremendously cynical about the front office the last few years. And it wasn't all Bill Smith. The Twins' moves make more sense to me when I remind myself that the Club President is someone from a marketing background.

      I told myself this winter that I would try to stay away from the expectations game and just enjoy the games as they are played. But I find myself watching a lot more baseball on channels other than FSN. (And I've been a Twins fan since the 1965 season. I've endured the ups and the downs but I have a very hard time getting past the "good old boys club" stagnancy of this team's management.)

      I'd guess most of the people posting here are 9s or 10s (or higher) on the pure fanaticism scale. My guess is that the interest is waning a lot more quickly among casual fans.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      I guess I'd put myself at a 6 or 7 on that scale. The Twins are my team, but I'm a baseball fan first and a Twins fan second.

      There seem to be a lot more people on the extreme ends than in the middle. It's either blind cheerleading or knee-jerk negatvisim about absolutely everything. I tend to be a little more rational about it.

      But I'll tell you this - I'd much rather watch a game with a bunch of 10's than a bunch of 1's.

      It's baseball, people, it's supposed to be fun. You can get into it, and even be passionate about it, but at the end of the day, it's a harmless diversion. The experience of a baseball game isn't all about whether your team wins. Sometimes the home team wins, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you get a close, flawlessly played game that's decided in extra innings, sometimes it's a laugher that's over by the third inning. Sometimes you get an eventful game filled with suicide squeezes, double steals, 7-man infields, grand slams and crashing-into-the-wall catches. Sometimes it's an unremarkable bunch of routine plays.

      But it's more than that. It's the pleasure of sitting outside enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of a major league game on a perfect summer evening. It's the look of unbridled elation on the face of a kid who just had a foul ball bounce into his hands. It's the sweetness of seeing a couple of octogenarians decked out in Twins gear holding up a "Circle Me Bert" sign that announces they're celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

      And I would much rather experience all that surrounded by a bunch of people shouting "Go Twins" even though all realistic possibility of victory evaporated 3 innings ago than by a nattering nabob of negative ninnies moaning, groaning and muttering "I told you so" after every little Twins misstep. (Seriously, if you're one of those people, do the rest of us a favor and stay home.)
    1. Neil's Avatar
      Neil -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Horrorpants View Post
      Honestly, I can go between 1 and 10 in a single day, maybe even during a single game. Maybe even during one at bat. I guess "mercurial" would be the best word. I prefer highly emotional.

      When I watch any game, the Twins are simultaneously the greatest team to ever play baseball and lousy bums. My objectivity is shot.

      For me, their can be no greater testament of love than this chaotic insanity. Go Twins!
      Well said, Mr Horrorpants, very well said indeed. I spend much of the season writhing on the couch, making my girlfriend uncomfortable and scaring the cats. True fanship, for me anyway, is a never ending emotional maelstrom.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      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

      I disagree with the premise that only those who always give the benefit of the doubt to players and front office personnel can be described as willing to be patient and able to "think logically."
    1. dave_dw's Avatar
      dave_dw -
      I'm a 3, but not because I'm a pessimist or irrationally angry at losses & poor performance, I simply think some of the Twins philosophies are outdated. If I were a Tampa Bay Rays fan, I'd be a 7 or 8 because I think they have a smarter front office and manager.
    1. SoDakTwinsFan5's Avatar
      SoDakTwinsFan5 -
      I would say it depends. Probably about a 5 most of the time. I think like many fans if I like the decision I don't get angry but if I don't like it or they don't make many decisions I get angry. Although I will admit this year I am probably a 2 because of how horrendus last season was and the fact I am a huge Cuddyer, Kubel and Nathan fan they were the only 3 people on this team I didn't want to see leave and yet we let them go.
    1. SoDakTwinsFan5's Avatar
      SoDakTwinsFan5 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave_dw View Post
      I'm a 3, but not because I'm a pessimist or irrationally angry at losses & poor performance, I simply think some of the Twins philosophies are outdated. If I were a Tampa Bay Rays fan, I'd be a 7 or 8 because I think they have a smarter front office and manager.
      I completely agree dave_dw, I think there philosophies are severely outdated. I don't think the Moneyball type of game the Athletics and Twins play works. I don't think the Rays play Moneyball, if you want to make a new name to there philosophy they play "Draftball" where if someone leaves through free agency they have another person right there to replace him. To some extent the Twins had that but when most people leave we were left waiting for a couple years or more to get a replacement.
    1. BD57's Avatar
      BD57 -
      Probably a 7 for Gardy, a solid "5" for the front office (I have more faith in Ryan than Smith ... but ...) and a solid 2.5 for the medical staff.

      There are things that drive me nuts - mostly, that the organization is so enamored with "pitch to contact" that it seems they think missing bats is a bad thing. And the medical staff needs to get straightened out .... seems like every time there's an injury, we find out a few weeks later that it's far worse than anyone imagined.
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