If you are reading this blog, you presumably have some interest in sports. If not, you love our writing style (who doesn’t). In an effort to get to know the real you, I have listed every type of sports fan below. This is the list. There are no other options. Let us know what type of fan you think you are.
1. The Guy Who Thinks He’s Better Than Pujols
This guy probably played Little League baseball. He might’ve even made his local all-star team. But if you watch a game with him, he will comment on every mistake a player makes. Say Tim Lincecum, arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the last few years, is pitching. The Guy Who Thinks He’s Better Than Pujols has to comment on Lincecum’s mechanics, saying something like, “Sure he’s good, but he’d be even better if he did what I did when I played: [insert generic advice likely taken from Little League coach]” This guy is to be avoided at all costs as he is likely too arrogant to tolerate longer than it takes for a Lincecum fastball (that The Guy Who Thinks He’s Better Than Pujols undoubtedly could throw faster) to cross home plate.
2. The Traditionalist
The Traditionalist is the guy who roots for his own team, but doesn’t want to get too crazy. He (Don’t get upset girls, you’ll have your own categories below) will watch as many games as he can on TV and read the papers the next morning, but he doesn’t quite get online media yet. He gets excited to go to the games and notices many of the intricacies lost on the common fan, but he doesn’t structure his life around his team. If you don’t think you fall into any of the other categories, you are a traditionalist.
3. The Die-Hard
This guy watches every game and knows everything. He probably is a member of online forums discussing whether or not the backup infielder slept on his eye funny or not. This guy will stick with his team, even if its been over a decade since they finished with more wins than losses. The Die-Hard is the guy you love to stand behind at a ballgame when you are with your friends, but the last guy you’d want to be in earshot of if you are with a little kid.
If The Die-Hard’s team is successful, he will calmly sip his $8 beer and gladly explain the intricacies of the team to any curious fan. If The Die-Hard’s team is mediocre, or awful, he is more likely to be slurping than sipping and might be yelling things that could make Bobby Knight blush. Even so, these taunts will be relatively intelligent, because, after all, he is a Die-Hard.
4. The Statistic (New-Age) Guy
This guy’s hero is Billy Beane. He’s probably the kid everyone made fun of in middle school because he was too good at math. It finally came out that statistics measuring player’s performance actually involve the same math this kid was good at. He probably doesn’t even like sports that much, but he loves confusing people with lots and lots of complicated numbers.
It used to be that WHIP was considered a futuristic statistic. Now, as new stats have tried to take over for the typical 10 rotisserie statistics in explaining everything, The Statistic Guys are everywhere. Examples include the geeks at the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective and Smart Football. Look at those Web sites, do you think these guys are fun to watch a game with?
5. The Pessimist
My Dad is Exhibit A of The Pessimist. He’ll watch most of the games (when the team is at least marginally good), but as soon as something goes wrong, it gets ugly. The Celtics could be up 25 in a game after a slump. Let’s just say WEEI (Boston’s local sports talk radio station) had been discussing how Kevin Garnett is not who he used to be and has lost a step. In this particular game, Garnett might have 20 points in the fourth quarter. Then, he misses a jumper. And then….
“THAT GARNETT’S A BUM! YOU CAN’T HAVE A GUY WHO’S JUST GOING TO MISS OPEN SHOTS LIKE THAT! THEY SHOULD CUT HIM! HE JUST GOES OUT AND TRASH TALKS AND HE CAN’T EVEN HIT A SHOT! THE GUYS ON EEI [the "W" is just too much, he normally drops it in conversation] ARE SAYING THAT MINNESOTA FORWARD’S [Al Jefferson] BETTER THAN HIM…AND WE HAD HIM!! WHY WOULD WE TRADE HIM!?”
This is just an example and I can’t guarantee this precise conversation happened, but I have been around for many conversations to this effect. The best part is when you try to reason with him, saying the trade got the Celts a championship.
He just dismisses it with something like, “Well a lot of good that’s doing us now.”
6. The Optimist
Sports fans love to complain. It’s fun. The Optimist hates fun. He’s always thinking about the game logically. A guy might be in an 0-for-40 slump, but The Optimist thinks this is great.
“Law of Averages man! He’s due now, and when he starts hitting he’ll probably go on a tear! Law of Averages!”
Sure, the law of averages might be a legitimate mathematical concept (I wouldn’t know), but that’s not what I want to hear. I want to complain and suggest who should replace the guy in there now.
And No Optimist, we can’t just be content waiting for next year. We will complain about how bad our team is until this season is good and over.
7. The Pink Hat Fan
So there are two girl categories here. Most girls fall into neither because most girls are not sports fans. The Pink Hat Fan doesn’t know very much about sports. It’s like when a guy pretends to be interested in some girly movie or TV show to get attention. Same concept. She will wear a baseball cap of her favorite team (very often pink), and she will engage in conversations by asking lots of questions and deftly dodging any questions in her direction. Her only goal is to get out of the conversation without looking foolish.
Girl: So what do you think of Philadelphia’s chances this year?
Guy: I think we’re going to do well, but it’s always tough to get back to the World Series. What do you think?
Girl: Well, I think Chase Utley’s great. Really great! But that’s not good if you think it will be tough…is it going to be a bad year?
Guy: Umm, no, I think we look good, just said it wouldn’t be easy (catches friend’s eye and shakes head).
8. The Girl That Wants to Be a Sports Reporter
If you meet a girl and are afraid she might know more than you about sports, she wants to be a sports reporter. Guaranteed.
9. The Wannabe Fan
I didn’t want to make a bandwagon category, so this is as close as I will come. The Wannabe-Fan is not truly a sports fan. Rather, he will root for whatever team happens to be popular. University of Maryland readers, look around this campus. How many people do you see in Washington Capitals jerseys? I’ll give you a hint: it’s ten times the number of real Washington Capitals fans on this campus. As soon as a team starts doing well and the real fans start talking about it, The Wannabe-Fan starts to feel left out and wants to join in the conversation. He’ll wear the jerseys, spend hours in front of his computer researching stats so he can sound intelligent and maybe even attend a game or two. He will not, even after all of this, become a real fan.
Everyone feels the temptation to be a Wannabe-Fan every now and then. When the Bruins are good (like now), I find myself nearing Wannabe-Fan status. When the University of Rhode Island is good at basketball, I become a Wannabe-Fan. It is not a good situation to be in, but I know many of you have this same skeleton in your closet. There was once a time in all of your lives you rooted for a team you didn’t follow because you got caught up in the excitement. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of what makes sports great. Just make sure it never conflicts with the teams you actually love and have loved for years.
10. The Fantasy Addict
The Fantasy Addict is a traitor to sports fans. Sure, he has favorite teams, but if it came down to it and a guy on his fantasy team came up in the bottom of the 9th against his favorite team with a chance to win the game, he’d root for his player to hit a game-winning home run.
This defeats the purpose of sports. If you are reading this blog and think you might qualify as an addict, I would urge you to seek help. Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who takes time out of every day to write fantasy baseball blog posts (and some 1500 word posts only tangentially related to fantasy baseball). The truth is, time spent doesn’t matter as far as measuring addiction to fantasy sports.
What matters is that you don’t forget the things that made you love sports in the first place. And nobody starts to love sports because of the numbers players put up. I love sports because of the players that put the numbers up, their stories and the personality they bring into a game.
Fantasy baseball is one of my favorite games, but fantasy sports will never overtake their real life counterparts.