Topic: Should you hate bandwagon fans or embrace them?

Jahn: Hates bandwagoners with an unparalleled passion
Mich: accepts bandwagoners

My thoughts:

You both agreed on only one thing: that you have to clarify the definition of a bandwagon fan. If you go off Jahn’s definition, which is someone who not only watches the games but actually pretends to have been a fan the whole time and seeks “credit” for any victories and such, I doubt anyone would argue if those people were banned from the arena.

At the same as Mich argued, who really cares? In my opinion, those types of fans can only pretend so long before someone, somewhere, calls them out. They won’t be able to enjoy or appreciate any good times in the same deep way a longer term fan would either, so it’s not stripping anybody of anything. It’s somewhat of a victimless crime.

But if you really want to make a mountain of this molehill, then how are you going to know who to attack? It’s pretty much impossible to make an all-emcompassing definition that applies to everyone appropriately. The only way to judge it is case by case. Let me lay out some scenarios and I ask that you decide whether the “bandwagon” label applies.

1)the 2001 Colorado Avalanche. Ray Bourque finally wins the cup. Think of the lifelong Boston fans for example. All of a sudden they cheer for Colorado. They even buy a Bourque Avalanche jersey. They find themselves cheering for other players on the team and were probably more emotional than anyone after they won the Cup. They never cheer for Colorado again. Are they bandwagoners?

2)The “follow the storyline” guy. In another podcast episode you guys touched on the ad the St. Louis Blues ran trying to attract Canadian fans who have no playoff teams to cheer for. First of all, that means the team itself seems to embrace the bandwagoner, but a second point is the Blues are a team I and others have just wanted to finally make it. I’ve picked them to go deep the last three years and I followed them a lot more closely than other teams this playoffs. If they had won a cup, I would have felt some sense of ownership.  With Jumbo Joe finally making it to the finals instead, I’m sure there are many extra “Sharks” fans right now.

3)the “I hate Sidney Crosby” guy. If a team is good enough to make the finals, chances are they have a star that someone hates. This year, that seems to be Sid the Kid. Some people would cheer for anyone other than the Penguins to win the cup. By default, they’ve become San Jose fans even though they were just Lightning fans last week, and Caps fans before that. They may have no investment in San Jose, but you’d better believe they’re just as happy as any diehard Sharks fan when they score a goal, and they’d relish in the Cup win every bit as deeply. I’m a Patriots supporter so I’m very familiar with this kind of fan. Even though they’ll never care about San Jose again, it’s still very much a “win” for this fan. Bandwagoner?

4)My own personal journey with the Blue Jays. I’m not a baseball fan by any stretch. I do enjoy watching baseball playoffs though, and always have. Therefore I’m automatically a baseball bandwagon fan.  I was “there” for 1992. I skipped most of the 92-93 regular season, but there I was in World Series 1993, cheering away. Oddly enough, after watching some of those playoff games I became somewhat of an Oakland Athletics fan. I started to care a little about both teams. Not actually watching, mind you, but checking the ticker every now and again. Then out of nowhere, for reasons I can’t explain, I declared myself a Red Sox  fan and that’s what I’ve been ever since that day I don’t remember. I actually went out of my way to find the games on the radio for a few years, and there I was in 2004, as ecstatic as the next fan. I listened to everyone one of those games on the radio as well. To Mich’s point, someone bought me a Red Sox batting helmet but I don’t spend a ton. But anyway, I had some further successes with the Sox since then and still care mildly about them. I don’t get worked up if they don’t make the playoffs, but I really pay attention when they do. For the record, I was all about the Jays in last year’s playoffs, just like I was 20 plus years ago. I also still somewhat follow Oakland. What does that make me?

These are just some situations. I’m sure there’s more. Even if it was more black and white, except in very obvious instances, you can’t technically can’t get mad at someone who’s joined the fold until after they leave the fold and by then it’s too late for you to do anything anyway. It’s like a witch hunt and the person on trial has already drowned. As long as it doesn’t effect your own enjoyment of your team, I say live and let live.

Winner of week 29: Mich(ish)

Quote of the week – Mich: “Who wants to be the 20th girl in line for a 20 million dollar fortune?”

Listen to TLO Podcast episode 33 here: A Hippo Is Not A Rhino

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2 thoughts on “Response to TLO Podcast Episode 33

  1. Thank you for he victory Josh. I’m going to frame it. I said it at the start of the show that I wanted to stay away from defining it because we’ll never get to the bottom of the actual debate. Are bandwagon fans bad? And the answer is a resounding ‘no’ they are simply undesirable by the authenticity seeking fan. That’s all.

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