I’m sure that, by now, you all know Julia over at Julia’s Rants. I have a lot of admiration for her, for many reasons. First, she’s the MLBloggers’ team captain. She takes a lot of time to not only craft entries every day – and often more than once a day – along with trivia questions, but she takes the time to read and respond to everyone else’s entries, as well. I can’t even begin to imagine the effort she’s taken to read and to reply thoughtfully to all of these entries by fans of so many teams while running her own life and raising a family. Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to post every day, much less devote the time necessary to reading all of the wonderful bloggers on here – even my favorites, like Red State Blue State and Statistician Magician.
Second, though she’s a fan of a team I dislike and though we frequently disagree, she doesn’t take it personally when someone disagrees with her. She considers their response, and either changes her mind or (more often) doesn’t, but handles it with class and respect. I think most people recognize this, and I’ve yet to see anyone push her. Sure, they may tease her about her pink Red Sox cap from time to time, but I think people understand that she has at least put cogent thought into her decisions, and most folks will respect that nine times out of ten.
With the recent “brawl” (which wasn’t really) between the Red Sox and Angels, as well as the asinine comments by some of her team’s key players, she’s been put in a bit of an unenviable position. She’s been asked, at times, to defend the actions of her team’s players. Sometimes, as with the Beckett-Abreu incident, she has. Other times, as with Pedroia’s and Papelbon’s comments, she hasn’t.
But it got me to thinking about our role as fans of these teams. On one hand, we are ambassadors. We want people to respect our team; to afford them the benefit of the doubt. We don’t go out of our way to insult people who aren’t Cubs fans. On the other hand, we are fans.
So I gave it some thought this morning, and decided to write down my Fan’s Creed.
1. I am a fan, first and foremost. When I was eight years old, I didn’t know about OPS or ISO or wOBA, and I didn’t care. I simply wanted my team to win every game. Now, I am a fan of baseball on the whole and am able to objectively measure players and teams, but at the end of the day I’m still a fan and want my team to win every game.
2. I reserve the right to defend my favorite team’s players, even when they do something very stupid. Though I hear fans of other teams defend things, and frequently think to myself that they would feel differently if the player in question were in a different uniform, I am just as guilty as they are at times.
3. I understand that fans of other teams are not going to see my team the way I see them. I also understand that, whether or not they’re wrong, I will convince myself that they are wrong exactly as long as I need/want to convince myself of it. And this is okay.
4. My team is the best thing since sliced bread. They are also the worst thing since unsliced bread. I will waffle back and forth on thinking they’re horrible and thinking they’re wonderful, depending on what is going on with them from season to season, week to week, day to day, and even pitch to pitch. I reserve the right to criticize every decision and to change my mind on an hourly basis where my team is concerned.
5. If my team ever wins it all, I will be a pure and unabashed jerk to the fans of every other team in the known universe. Until that time, I will continue to roll my eyes in annoyance at the fans of teams who have won it all while they are being pure and unabashed jerks.
6. The other fans of my team are the greatest people in the entire world. Their opinions are much more valid than the opinions of any other baseball fan, up to and including Bill James. I may disagree with them from time to time, but at the end of the day they are right because they are also fans of my favorite team. I automatically like them more, even though they may be horrible human beings, because we root for the same team.
7. As a fan, I am allowed to criticize my team as much as I’d like. But when anyone else – fan or not – criticizes my team, even if it’s in the exact same way that I just criticized them, they are wrong. Not only wrong, but frequently worthy of scorn and ridicule.
8. I will do my best to stay objective when it comes to my team and its players, but I will probably fail from time to time. I reserve the right to insist that a slider in the dirt was actually a meaty BP fastball over the heart of the plate. I reserve the right to say that a runner was clearly safe, even if he was out by a mile. I reserve the right to think that every time an opposing team’s pitcher steps off of the rubber, it’s a balk.
9. Though I will attempt to treat the fans of other teams respectfully, provided they are not Cubs fans, they are all awful human beings who clearly do not know anything. In fact, I probably know more about their own team than they do, because my knowledge is vastly superior in all areas.
10. I expect fans of every other team to feel exactly this way. I will be annoyed when they do it, as I expect them to be equally as annoyed when I do it. In this way, and in this way only, we can achieve balance.