Did any of you listen to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio this afternoon? I happened to be in the car and caught part of it, and one segment was devoted to the premise that loyalty in sports fans is a weakness.
Chris Garber, one of the other editors here at Redleg Nation wrote about this particular subject last August, and it’s one that should have particular meaning to a fan base that may be headed to a tenth straight season of following a losing team. Go read Chris’ thought-provoking post here. In a comment to that post, Chris noted:
I am really questioning why I spend so much time watching, listening, reading and writing about this company. The amount of pleasure I derive from them is miniscule, at this point.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not saying IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d swear allegiance to the Devil Rays, or something. But why not pay attention to something else for a while? It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take away my memories of better years, or Marty & Joe.
It would make me a Ã¢â‚¬Å“bandwagon fan,Ã¢â‚¬Â but that was my original question: Why, in sports alone, are we Ã¢â‚¬Å“badÃ¢â‚¬Â if we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t follow a team when it puts out a terrible product?
Then, later in that thread, another one of our editors (Bill) made exactly the same point that Cowherd was making on the radio today:
And you know whatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the teams bank on it. If we deserted them when theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re run badly, that would be more incentive to changeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but when they know they can count on us, no matter whatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easier for them to continue in the same pattern. So, who is dumber, them or us?
Cowherd’s premise was that fans — and more importantly, media — in towns like Cincinnati do not hold losing organizations accountable like they do in places like New York. Think about the fans wearing paper bags on their heads in Cleveland, at Browns games; they’re still paying for tickets and parking and beer. In Chicago, they fill up that park with drunks for every single game, regardless of the product on the field. What incentive is there for ownership to put more effort into putting a winning product on the field?
Why have I spent way too many hours and dollars in the last five years of my life watching practically every game,and writing, editing, and publishing this website about a team that has been pretty hopeless during that entire time? Why haven’t I moved on to something more satisfying, or rewarding? It’s a great question.