I have been wanting to address my disgust with certain trends in fan behavior for a while now, and I’m finally getting around to it. Can someone tell me when common decency and good taste went out the window? And is it too late to pull over, go back and try to find it again? I am sick of these unpleasant people who call themselves “fans.” Their childish behavior is tarnishing the rest of us, and I’m going to start calling them out. I’m not thinking of drunk people doing/saying stupid things (that is another issue entirely) but perfectly sober adults who act like horse’s patoots.
Right now, I’ve got my sights set on a certain brand of “fan.” I mean the ones you (or at least I) always seem to encounter in person who are pushy, greedy, and rude. The people who so sweetly beg for an autograph or a baseball and, when denied, will unabashedly curse whomever it was that snubbed them. One time I witnessed a horde of people begging, practically tripping over themselves for the nearest player’s attention (I won’t say who it was.) He was kind enough to oblige them for a few minutes, coming over to sign some autographs. As soon as he left, the same horde began to speak of this man as if the only thing he’d given them was the finger. What happened to “Thank you?” What happened to, “Hey, this guy did something nice for me! Cool points for him!”
I wish that were an isolated incident, but it’s far from it. There is plenty of documented evidence out there to support my point. Take this video, for instance. It features a woman who isn’t happy with the Mets Jose Reyes for carrying on a conversation in Spanish (because nothing is more offensive than two people speaking to one another in their own language.)
Mr. Reyes’ politeness garners him a few cool points of his own.
Dirk Hayhurst touches on the subject in his Bullpen Gospels, which I reviewed last week. Even in the minors there are fans clamoring for freebies, and some of them won’t take “No” for an answer.
Greed. Remember some years back when there was a fleetingly popular game show called “Greed?” I hated that show. I’m surprised it ever got canceled. There is also this sense of entitlement (never been a game show by that title, but don’t tell me there couldn’t be.) People think they are deserving of every good thing. So if Player X doesn’t give them a baseball, or get the game-winning hit, he must be an inferior form of life.
I always want to slap these “fans” whenever I see them in the flesh. They hold others to a standard they don’t come close to meeting themselves. C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, “This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.” It’s a good thing for all of us to think about, though it’s a thought that will most likely fly straight over the heads of those who should think about it the most. The ilk of “fan” I’m bemoaning isn’t exactly taking over the world. There are plenty of good-hearted folks like you and me filling the ballparks of America (and one in Canada.) But it seems there are just enough of the irky jerky types to annoy me at every pro game I attend.
I don’t have much in the way of advice on how to effectively combat these “fans.” Zero tolerance and good humor are my only suggestions. I welcome reader input with open arms and hope everyone is with me. I consider it a cause to be fought for.