When the Blue Jays pulled off the type of offseason that normally transpires only on the Playstation the expectations can get ratcheted up. When high expectations meet the slow start the resulting fan venom is usually pretty lethal. When the Toronto Blue Jays were going through rough times and playing worse than my beer league softball team the fan base was obviously going to get upset.
Fire John Gibbons, fire Alex Anthopoulos, trade Brett Lawrie, RA Dickey sucks, Jose Reyes is injury prone, Josh Johnson has no heart. Only the Red Wedding inspired more negative and hysterical reaction but when a team is performing so poorly aren’t the fans supposed to be upset?
I find Twitter to be a good ‘fan sentiment’ indicator and during the current winning streak it has been all abuzz with one side calling out the other. The terms bandwagon jumpers, deserters and front-runners are being tossed around but isn’t that just the reality of sport? It happens every year, in every sport and in every league since the advent of competition.
Now don’t get me wrong there are actual bandwagon jumpers out there. Like that guy at the office who chirps how bad they are but thinks Josh Johnson is an oft-injured outfielder. If you are reading this blog right now I am just going to have to assume you are a pretty huge baseball fan. Seriously, how did you find us?
I harbour no ill will to anyone who thought Emilio Bonifacio should be given the boot when he was making more errors than the LAPD during the OJ Simpson investigation. We aren’t the decision makers who must keep a level head and broad perspective about the current state of the team, we are fans. When something doesn’t go as planned we look for answers and at times scapegoats.
That is simply human nature.
When you are actually at the stadium it is even worse. For that one and only game you live and die by every play, good or bad. You are put through an emotional workout for those three hours or so and if the team loses you feel like they might not ever win again.
Whether you have been negative, sceptical, positive or insanely suicidal there is no ‘right’ way to be a fan and no golden rules of what is acceptable and what isn’t. As long as the passion is there and people actually care about the team then everything else is irrelevant.
The fickle nature of the mob will always be front and centre in the world of sports. When I’m at a game and my team is losing or playing poorly I’m not going to pretend I am happy about it. So go ahead and get upset when RA Dickey gives up 7 earned runs or J.P. Arencibia has another passed ball. You aren’t jumping off the bandwagon you are a fan.