A recent lively discussion in which a particular fanbase was disparaged, at first I thought in a joking manner–which many of us, myself included are guilty of–made me want to examine fan stereotypes a little deeper. Why do we hold them? What are they? While I do joke about stereotypes–fan stereotypes, male-female stereotypes, my own Latin culture (what I call the right of inclusion)–they are jokes. In all seriousness, I know these beliefs cannot be applied to a group as a whole. We do it in jest, but intelligent people with critical thinking skills know that you cannot seriously judge people in this manner, whether its based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or something as seemingly trivial as team affiliation.
If, for example, I ascribed negative characteristics to a group of people based on a small sample size, people whom I may or may not have even encountered myself, you would not think very highly of me (or maybe you don’t think highly of me already but for other reasons.) Yet many of us seem to do this exact thing to opposing fan bases, especially rival fan bases. It is an interesting phenomena to me as someone who enjoys studying and analyzing human behavior both professionally and for fun.
Part of it is that we do witness opposing fan bases–people–behaving badly and we have selective memory banks. I mentioned something called groupthink in my comment. In simple terms, when a bunch of people get together, such as fans with one shared goal of their team winning, it’s as if one mind takes hold and thinks for the entire group. There is very little conscience because guilt is shared among all. “But ma, everybody’s doing it.” No one is guilty. One of the characteristics of a groupthink is stereotyping another group with opposing goals i.e. an opposing fan base. That’s why I kept repeating that in totality, all fan bases are insufferable, and a fan base overdosing on winning and its resulting europhic hormones like testosterone, adrenaline, cortisol, and oxytocin is probably the most intolerable fan base of all. For that peroid of time, that collective “groupthink” mind is pretty high and out of its mind. Baseball fans without allegiance to any team must look at us with a cool detachment and shake their heads in disbelief. What the heck is wrong with us, they must wonder.
With our selective memory banks and biases, we also tend to disregard and diminish when our own fan bases have behaved badly, in the same way we are quick to criticize others when they have failed, but are a bit more forgiving of ourselves. “You forgot the milk, oh great!”…”Oh, I forgot the milk. Oh, well. I will get it tomorrow.” “Those idiots never clean up after themselves”, coveniently forgetting that one time we were late and didn’t clean up after ourselves as well as we should have because we were rushed. Most people do it. It’s okay. Humans.
At tbe same time, stereotypes exist for a reason, right? There’s the 1% outlier that make it so. The extreme. So I thought I should analyze all 30 baseball stereotypes for their accuracy. This is (I am) a highly (pulling) scientific (this) study (out) that (of) should (my) be taken (ass) very seriously. I wanted to have some fun and make everybody angry at me.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Uh, they were gritty. Now, I don’t know. Their owners are dicks who won’t allow fans to wear opposing team jerseys behind home plate. I’ll just extend that to the fan base. Seems fair. Dicks.
Atlanta Braves: They are bandwagoners and possibly racist: Native American iconography, tomahawk chop, building white flight stadium. I mean duh, Georgia.
Baltimore Orioles: Don’t mention the Colts. Unnatural love for crabs. They carry Old Bay seasoning everywhere because you just never know. Every single one of them carries Old Bay and drinks Natty Boh. I personally checked.
Boston Red Sox: Formerly semi-tolerable albeit whiny fan base made insufferable by winning 3 World Series in the past 12 years, now they think they’re the fahkin’ Yankees. Cubs fans, if you win, don’t become the Red Sox. City itself has rep for being racist, which extends to fans.
Chicago Cubs: Lovable loser fans who are there just to party and get their drank on. Even though they have an amazing team this year, I think they’re so resigned by decades of losing that the 1998 Yankees could take the field for them this year, and their fans will still think they’ll lose somehow in the end. Actually, they’d be totally right, because those guys are older than dirt now, but you know what I mean. UPDATE: In case you live on Mars or have been in a coma, the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 and cannot be called “Lovable Losers.” A moment of silence please for this fun nickname that fanbase hated. Their fanbase has shockingly not yet become a bag of dicks like the Boston Red Sox fanbase. Give them time. They are new to winning. The Cubs are doing their best to price their real fans out of Wrigley Field. We shall await future developments.
Chicago White Sox: This is the south side. These are not the friendly confines. They will fuck you up. Just sit down and shut up and eat your hot dog.
Cincinnati Reds: Very, very passionate fans. No one gets offended or mad if you ask for a three way. These people are alright with me.
Cleveland Indians: Racist fans who won’t let go of Chief Wahoo, that awful Native American iconography. You see my cousin’s wife’s brother’s best friend is 1/4 Navajo, and he’s fine with Chief Wahoo, so it’s cool.
Colorado Rockies: Rocky Mountain High. Mellowest fans in baseball, I reckon. I would be too. I’ve been to Colorado. These people are all fit, and have excellent lung capacity thanks to exercising at such elevated altitudes. Hence, they probably don’t share their pot well. Selfish.
Detroit Tigers: Piss them off in 2 seconds flat by telling them Trout was robbed of the MVP the year Miggy won the Triple Crown (he was). Just a strange hate of Trout. They write everything in “D” Olde English font, grocery lists etc. We get it, it’s a cool font.
Houston Astros: Hey guys, you have a baseball team! No, no, it’s not football. It’s a different shaped, round ball and there’s a bat and bases… oh, just forget it.
Kansas City Royals: Paul Rudd is a huge fan. I love Paul Rudd. He is the perfect man. I am giving all their fans Paul Rudd’s characteristics, lucky sons of bitches. Remember, baby, this is all actual and factual. You guys are fine, except for that kcrobert or whatever on HBT, but even he made laugh. Bad boys of baseball. That was gold. We should invite him over.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: That’s the name, right? The team that non-Jews and non-Mexicans root for in LA. Oddly obsessed with worshipping a rally monkey, won’t do anything without his permission.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Eclectic mix of Jewish and Mexican fans. Will arrive in 3rd inning and leave during the 7th inning to avoid traffic. Also hire a bodyguard for the parking lot, just sayin’.
Miami Marlins: Loria es un come merdia, asi mismo como Fidel y por eso yo no voy a los juegos. Dame un cafecito Cubano, por favor, bellisima. Nosotros tenemos un equipo?
Milwaukee Brewers: I don’t know much about Brewers fans. Long suffering, I guess. My knowledge of Milwaukee is limited to the documentary Laverne & Shirley in syndication. When I looked Brewers fans up, I got “fat and overweight” as a stereotype. That’s mean, and really, that’s most Americans based on average BMI. I prefer to call them zaftig and “more to love.”
Minnesota Twins: Obsessed with lutefisk. Transluscent white. I was really worried about them in the Trop; they were so pale that I thought the indoor lighting might cause a sunburn. Very polite.
New York Mets: Blue collar types, underdog complex from living in the shadow of the Yankees despite having an ownership that has the means to provide competitive teams consistently. Remember 1986 better than the birth of their first child. (They gave me some good drugs, to be fair–for the birth of my child that is. Not 1986. My parents did not give me drugs for the 1986 Mets season although it would have been apropos considering the team.)
New York Yankees: They will respond to every debate with: 27 rings, baby!!! “Your starting pitching is questionable in 2016.” “27 rings, baby!!!” That’s three rings for every orifice in the human body. Tell them that’s where they can keep them. Team has priced real fans out of the stadium. They sleep outside in tents. It’s sad.
Oakland A’s: Nerds! Sabermetric stat geeks. I am so sorry. You don’t even have meth to console you like Rays fans about your literally shitty baseball stadium situation, and we actually have some hope on that front. You guys deserve better. At least Brad Pitt is your GM.
Philadelphia Phillies: Huge bandwagoners and don’t let them tell you any different. CBP is empty now that the team sucks. We’ve all heard the horror stories. “Aggressive, demanding fans who boo Santa” and vomit on a kid. Great dancers though. I’ve been there.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Everybody roots for the Pirates but what y’all forget is that this is Pittsburgh. Have you ever met a Steelers fan? These are the same people! You don’t want this team to win, trust me. Steelers fans are fucking insane. I’ve met them.
San Diego Padres: Super laid back. I heard they do yoga during games or something.
San Francisco Giants: Hate the Dodgers, feeling is mutual, otherwise pretty apathetic. Another fanbase tagged with the bandwagon label. (Seems to be a common theme. Some of us don’t mind paying to watch a bad team, but maybe those with less expendable income have to be choosier about when and where we spend our entertainment dollars? I play sports, and losing isn’t as much fun as winning, duh. I still have fun, but that’s me. I budget because I heart baseball, but not everyone loves it that same way, and that’s okay.)
Seattle Mariners: They eat sushi and talk about who the Seahawks are going to draft. Oh, and King Felix.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Best Fans in Baseball root for their team the Right Way, which is also the way their team does things, and no one better do anything different than the way they do things or Stan Musial will roll over in his grave. You don’t want to make Musial cry tears in heaven, do you? No, Yadi Molina is not a Hall of Famer.
Tampa Bay Rays: Who? We have fans? You can’t even call us bandwagoners because we can’t be bothered to show up to that shithole stadium even when the team is winning. We’re too busy smoking meth at the beach. The cowbells are annoying, and the hard metal makes a great weapon for Florida Man. You’ve been warned.
Texas Rangers: See Houston.
Toronto Blue Jays: All 30 million Canadians possess the same characteristics. Unfailingly sweet and polite until they become drunk and dump beer cans on babies when a call on the field doesn’t go their way, but who am I to judge? Nobody is perfect, to quote the greatest ending line of any movie, Some Like It Hot.
Washington Nationals: Bandwagoners, again. Bryce Harper sucks! Oh wait, he’s awesome!
What did I miss, guys?