• 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. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Good post, Seth. I'm about a 7.5 on the fan scale. Certain moves (like the Capps for Ramos example) confuse or annoy me right off the bat, but I know enough to know that, despite what we all complain about concerning Bill Smith and Terry Ryan, the people working in MLB front offices generally have good baseball minds. And I also know that it's an exercise in futility to complain about that trade 150 times on the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press amd TwinsDaily sites.

      And there's only so much negativity I can take. If the Twins stink this year, I'm sure I'll write about that on my blog to an extent, but I'll also focus more attention on the Rock Cats and the other teams that might post winning seasons.
    1. Axel Kohagen's Avatar
      Axel Kohagen -
      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!
    1. coddlenomore's Avatar
      coddlenomore -
      I get it, we shouldnt overreact this early. Yet I am amazed that the credit level you and others give to this team in terms of moves made. We lost three all -stars and replaced them with a 38 year old short stop, and oft injured left fielder with half the range of Cuddyer (shocking, but true!) and Doumit. We never addressed the horrific pitching situation we still have (see, i do realize they have pitched well so far.....) and people who think we upgraded our defense please explain to me how other then carroll? The credit Terry Ryan gets need to be put into the context that every move we make is dollar wise, thats it! Remember all our big free agent pick up?......How about those huge moves when we were contending...Bret Boone, Pat Borders, Jesse Orosco, Phil Nevin, etc....
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am probably about a 7 or so, though with Gardenhire specifically it is more of a 5. I am hoping that TD doesn't turn into the mess of comments that was the Star Tribune Twins section (I never go there anymore). Four games into the season . . . there are 158 more games . . .
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Quote Originally Posted by coddlenomore View Post
      I get it, we shouldnt overreact this early. Yet I am amazed that the credit level you and others give to this team in terms of moves made. We lost three all -stars and replaced them with a 38 year old short stop, and oft injured left fielder with half the range of Cuddyer (shocking, but true!) and Doumit. We never addressed the horrific pitching situation we still have (see, i do realize they have pitched well so far.....) and people who think we upgraded our defense please explain to me how other then carroll? The credit Terry Ryan gets need to be put into the context that every move we make is dollar wise, thats it! Remember all our big free agent pick up?......How about those huge moves when we were contending...Bret Boone, Pat Borders, Jesse Orosco, Phil Nevin, etc....
      All those things you listed annoy and upset me probably just as much as any fan. I think I almost was reduced to tears when I found out that we were resting our hopes on Jason Marquis this season. But I also realized that there's nothing -- aside from complaining for a day or two on my blog -- that I can do about it, besides not going to games. And I like baseball too much to make that kind of a protest.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I want to Twins to win. Also when they don't I want them to look and analyse the reasons why they didn't win and make changes that will allow them to win. If they do not do that (or if they have low expectations/complacency i.e. it is ok to win the division every other year or so and be blown out at the post-season) I criticize. I just want them to win.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      The front office was brilliant in letting Nathan, Cuddyer and Kubel go. With a depleted minor league system, the Twins needed the compensatory draft picks to beef up for the future. This year and next year could be tough to watch if you were expecting a division championship. However, the three guys we let go were not going to be the difference to put this team in the playoffs. This is Detroit's time to shine, and the Twins are smart to use it to start building for the future. Read Reusse's column today.
    1. jeffk's Avatar
      jeffk -
      strumdatjag - I agree that was the smartest thing they did this winter, to replace players with equivalent players that were slightly cheaper plus draft picks.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      I am a Twins fan - 10 all the way! However:

      I reserve the right to question, disagree, be stunned with, agree with and talk about - all decisions made by the GM, the Manager (especially the Manager!!!), and the entire Front Office.

      I also reserve the right to:

      Be a "Homer", enthusiastically and irrationally cheer for and wildly support the Minnesota Twins!
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      I am the biggest twins fan there is but I also have a firm grasp on REALITY. I never expected this team to be better than bottom 3 in the whole MLB this year but that doesnt make me any less of a fan.

      I wish more of the media had a better sense of reality instead of cheerleading and giving uneducated fans false hope.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      Probably about a 7. I hated the J.J. Hardy trade. Wait hate isn't strong enough of a word. It really pissed me off. Sometimes we don't give people enough of a chance, and sometimes we give people too many chances (Casilla, Punto). I'll be a Twins fan no matter what happens though.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      I'd have to say I'm always in the middle. I wholeheartedly believe some moves were 100% correct (Signing Willingham/Doumit to replace Kubel/Cuddyer/Butera). But I wholeheartedly also go WTF?! to some moves (Jason Marquis, Capps). Since they should be rebuilding, but haven't yet actually embraced that philosophy, I'll probably settle in at a 4 right now.
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      I'm a 10 win, lose, or draw. However, I will cancel my season tickets after 2012 if manager Ron Gardenhire keeps his job. Name another market in MLB where Gardenhire would keep his job? Jim Leyland nearly won a World Series in 2007 and was on the hot seat until last year. Ozzie won it all in 2005 and was very good friends with the owner (Jerry Reinsdorf) and they did not retain him when his contract was up. Gardenhire can't beat any teams in the AL East or West, has lost 12 straight playoff games, and refuses to even make a coaching change. He also continues to make excuses for the team. Injuries last year and now great pitching. Give me a break! I ask you Seth, at what point does losing become acceptable???? Why is ok in Minnesota but not New York, Boston, Chicago, and St. Louis?
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      We were promised more as fans when we helped Pohlad build his fortress of solitude called Target Field.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Those might be the two greatest posts ever from an irony standpoint.
    1. TCBurgerGuy's Avatar
      TCBurgerGuy -
      I'd call myself a solid 8. As far as the front office and trades and such go, I understand that being a high-level executive in any profession is a tough gig, especially one as high profile as in the MLB. For the most part I trust that the people in charge of putting a team together know what they are doing. I believe that they want the team to win. I also think that they know deep down that it isn't going to happen this year or probably next. I have to say that I really agree with strum's post above. They need to replenish the minors. They will possibly be losing the majority of their pitching staff next season. They are rebuilding without stating it and losing three of their biggest names was a move that was going to happen eventually. I still love the team, but it may be hard to watch for a couple of seasons (like in the mid-late 90's). A true fan will remain a loyal fan through those hard times and will enjoy the good times even more when they return.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      I'd also say 8ish. There are occasional head-scratchers, but I'm smart enough to know what I don't know. I don't question everything my doctor says even though I've seen a few episodes of "Scrubs," either. But there would be cases where I might look for a second opinion, too.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I would have said a 9 until last year. Last year was really, really bad, and it wasn't all injuries and bad luck as the Twins claim. By August any time I heard the phrase "The Twins Way" I revisited my breakfast. I'm of the belief that baseball has passed the Twins (re - Gardy) by. The Twins are in need of a paradigm shift if they want to be relevant again, and although 4 games is a very small sample size, it sure looks to me like they're picking up right where they left off.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Jack, I would suggest taking a look at the definitions of the 1 to 10 range... the point isn't that 10 is better than 1. It's just a range of the type of fan that people are.

      I would say I'm probably an 8 or so. Most of the time, I can understand what the thought process is even if I don't always agree with it.
    1. rk83071's Avatar
      rk83071 -
      I consider myself a bit of a homer when it comes to the Twins. I feel that they figured something out long before any of the other sports organizations in this town did. In the instant media now society that we live in and the kind of money families have to spend the Twins have always had a good reputation of being a highly respectable organization that knows how to act in the community in which it is supported by. Like every sports organization on the planet they all have their ups and downs but that’s how business and life in general cycles. Minnesotans in my view point tend to be somewhat of fair weather sports fans, I myself am loyal. I still have pennant hanging in my office from my very first Twins game back in 1977. I will always have the Twins as #1 on my list through thick or thin and that’s ok with me. If you compare the Twins with all the negative drama and chaos that has been created by other sports organizations in this town who are competing for the same family dollar it is not even close. Yeah so the Twins are going to have a few not so great years but in my mind I know that the quality of the individual the Twins are going to have represent them and my community is always going to be worth my hard earned dollar. I have never once felt uncomfortable taking my family to a ball game because of the atmosphere the Twins have created. I have to think long and hard about some of the other sports venues. Also one other tidbit, even though it has been a long while they are still the only major sports franchise to have won any sort of major title in this town. Whatever happened to loyalty? Go Twins.
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