Levels of Fandom


You’ve surely heard it before. “If you were a real fan…”

It’ll be followed by some drivel about always being sunny and optimistic in the face of a disappointing season. Perhaps the guy who has a score book and season tickets is referring the casual fans in the beer garden. Maybe the living-in-his-mom’s-basement stat nerd aims it at the wave-starters.

You hear it from several walks of sports fans. In this case specifically, you hear it from Mariners fans.

It drives me bananas. Perhaps it should only drive me blueberries or some other small fruit, because it shouldn’t be as big of a deal as a banana. Alas, it does indeed drive me bananas.

Let’s face it: there are some things that bother me more than you. Some things that bother you more than me.

You think wOBA and UZR are reserved for spreadsheet geeks who never played the game. I think RBI and ERA are archaic and leave too many questions unanswered.

So what? Who cares? Ideally, a time will come when you and I are side-by-side, jumping up and down in joy. We’ll be planning our camping spot for that amazing position during the parade.

Or, in cliche terms, don’t we both bleed blue and northwest green?

Besides, if a stat geek like myself can go to a baseball game looking like this:

Then there’s certainly hope that we really aren’t all that different.

You love the Mariners. I love the Mariners. We have different ways of showing it. Vastly, ridiculously, insanely different ways of showing it.

What matters is that we do.

Thank you to the Mariners and marketing dude extraordinaire Gregg Greene for birthing the best idea to hit this typically aloof ballpark. The Kingdome had Buhner Buzzcuts and Safeco Field has the King’s Court. It brings us together, even when our shared passion for the product before us somehow tears us apart.