|Bandwagon Giants fans welcomed aboard||| Print |||Send|
Written by Laura K. Nist (Contact & Archive) on October 27, 2012
Photo by Anita Hart, used under creative commons license.
The Giants have been my team since I was a kid, growing up in Northern California. I have a lot of happy memories that revolve around baseball and the Giants. I went to games, listened to them on the radio and collected baseball cards. I was in attendance at the last ever game at Candlestick not once but twice -- in 1992 when we thought our beloved Giants were leaving town and once again when they actually left Candlestick for their own park across town. I have seen countless Giants-Dodgers games, I watched Barry Bonds hit more home runs than I can tell you but among them were Nos. 600 and 700 and 73, and I have seen so many greats play for and against the Giants.
Some years were better than others. I remember how excited I was in 1989 when they were playing the A's in the World Series, but unfortunately that didn't end so well. There were a lot of ho-hum years in between and then in 1997 the Giants won the West only to lose to the Marlins who went on to win the World Series. Then there was 2002 when they were just a few outs away from winning it all. If you ask me they should have won. 2003 was an exciting season, watching the Giants go wire to wire and Barry Bonds was hitting home run after home run. Of course they didn't do so well in the playoffs but I kept the faith. Some seasons are hard to watch because they aren't winning -- and others are torture because they win by one run in the 9th inning -- game after game.
Regardless, you cannot be considered a fan unless you stick by the team through the ups and the downs. Real fans know their teams; they feel the excitement of come-from-behind victory as well as the pain of a shattering loss. Bandwagon fans generally move on to the next bigger and better team.
But are bandwagon fans really all that bad? Granted yes, it is annoying to sit behind that know-it-all at the game who claims to be a fan but doesn't even know the first thing about the team or the players or rattles off the wrong stats. That aside, bandwagon fans are not all bad.
Annoying? Maybe. Bad? Not necessarily. Not so long ago baseball was losing fans in droves -- first the strike, free agency and then the whole steroid era. So, if a fun and exciting team, like the Giants for example, comes around and everyone is watching again then why not?
After all some of these bandwagoners go all in when they are rooting for the team of the season -- they buy tickets and go to games -- generating revenue for the team. They fill the seats. They buy hats and jerseys generating more money for the team. I have been seeing people all over town in their shiny new Giants gear while I, on the other hand, have the same two jerseys and hat that I have had for a good ten years. And while I have been to many games at many different stadiums I usually watch from home these days.
And then there is the buzz. Everyone is talking about the team, on the TV and the radio. This team is bringing people together in bars and at the gym and even at the airport. I happened to be at the airport in the ninth inning of game 5 of the Giants-Reds series and crowds of people were standing and watching and talking about it, living and dying together with each pitch.
So, annoying as they may be at times, I think we'd be foolish not to welcome new fans to the team. Maybe we can teach them a thing or two and -- who knows? -- maybe they will stick around for a while. Bottom line though, if jumping on the bandwagon generates more fans and revenue and helps the game gain attention then I am all for it.