Saturday, March 10, 2012

'Real Fans' Are Overrated

I think Colts fans are perfectly justified in being unhappy with the huge wave of cuts- Peyton Manning, most notably, and now Addai, Clark, Brackett, Bullitt, and Painter.

Ok, most Colts fans are good with the cutting of Curtis Painter. But WRs Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are also likely done here, and Dwight Freeney is on the trading block. If you were a fan, was it because you just love the blue jerseys and the horseshoe helmet, or was it because you identified with likeable players that made long careers here?

So, if the likeable players are gone, what's to be excited about? Rah-rah blue jersey? Rah-rah Irsay's team?

And, is the fan anything more than a sucker if expected to buy tickets and go to games where the odds are great that the team is not only going to lose, but look bad doing it? I think 'sucker' is just the right term.

So, when someone suggests that you aren't a 'real fan' if you have quickly lost interest in this team, let them know that they are just a 'sucker', and that you aren't the kind of fool who knowingly flushes good time and/or money down the sewer in accepting frustration where entertainment should be.

I'll give Colts GM Ryan Grigson this: When he cleans house, he CLEANS HOUSE.


Josh Featherstone said...

I'm a Cubs fan. Should I not be?

I don't think there's anything wrong with loving a team.

Were the pre-Manning Indianapolis Colts fans suckers, too?

Josh Featherstone said...

I'd also like to add that I understand people having an emotional reaction to the fact that all these players are leaving. The emotions are equal parts hating to see the players go and not knowing you may not recognize the team in that takes the field this fall.

We don't know what the plan for the Colts even is right now. Until we see it unfold, any "I'm not a Colts fan anymore" moves seem desperately trigger-happy.

Mike Kole said...

It probably is trigger happy. I know for my part, because I really like NFL football, I'm looking forward to the sour outlook to result in really cheap resale ticket deals, like on StubHub.

My three poster teams for sucker fans? Yep, the Cubs, plus the Cleveland Browns and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Cubs have actually been much better than the Leafs over the past few decades, but the dynamics are the same in Chicago & Toronto: The city is crazy for the game and their team. Going to the arena is a top-notch experience. The population size dwarfs the seating capacity, so demand well exceeds supply. So, maybe they aren't suckers exactly. If the experience is great despite the team's performance, there certainly is value still in attending.

But the Cleveland Browns? That's just loyal to a fault. I mean, what message does management get when the fans come regardless of the product?

So, I credit the fans, even if emotionally driven right now, if they say they aren't eager to buy tickets. That makes them discerning with their dollars. It signals to management that they have to work hard to bring some worthy replacements and/or at least maintain the experience.

At the end of the day, I find that sports and politics are very related. If a team doesn't deliver, or a party doesn't deliver, why would I keep buying tickets or casting the votes? Yes, some people keep voting R or D, because that's what they've always done, or it's a household tradition, or they have fond memories of a player going way back. But that's emotional attachment rather than reality.

Mike Kole said...

Now, my big team is the San Jose Sharks. I've followed them since their inception. Fortunately, they still have one player- Patrick Marleau- who has been with them since 1997. I find that continuity helps.

But I do sometimes find myself to be a sucker. Take just three weeks ago, when I drove to Columbus to see the Sharks take on the very worst team in the NHL. The Sharks were ranked #1 in their division, and #3 in their conference. So, they go out there and give up two goals in the first three minutes, go down 4-0 after one period, and ultimately lose 6-3. Then, I get a three hour drive back home, getting back after 1am.

This team has long frustrated me on road trips to Columbus. The team does a tortoise & hare routine, where late in the season, they relax and lose games to the Blue Jackets of the world such that I made a rule: No road trips for Sharks games in march. After this game, I thought I should revise to include February for the future.

The game gave me absolutely nothing, being down and seemingly out of it from the very beginning. It was clear that the Sharks were going through the motions. There was nothing special in going to Nationwide Arena- no storied history, no great fan base- unless the team was going to perform, and they didn't. I could have watched on TV, and you best believe that in 2013, come February & March, if the Sharks are playing in Columbus, I will be nowhere near the Ohio capital.

Still rooting for them? Of course! Laying out the money? No way.

The Grey said...

Irsay the business man is making a smart move. Moving on from Manning when Luck literally is being lady tonight...or rather in mid-April.

The fact that he's cutting salaries (and I believe still has something close to 30 mil in dead cap space) is smart biz. There is a new regime just over the horizon...same as there was when Manning usurped the reigns from Jim Harbaugh/Flipper Anderson.

Embrace's all you can count on. In 3 years, you'll be back to contending...believe it.