Losing Fans

Losing fans won’t happen. Losing audience might.

When a team is not doing as well as expected, one of the fears is usually that the fans will abandon the team. The management fears this, since gate receipts will be lower. The players fear this because I think a part of the validation that they are doing a good job is there are people willing to pay to see them. If less do so, they are not doing a good job.

The problem with “fans” is that is usually means “audience”. The audience is made of many types of people.

I’m a fan. I like baseball, but I especially like Grand Prairie AirHogs baseball. The team is made of a (almost constantly) changing roster of 22 guys – chosen by the management to put the best team possible on the field and still meet the roster requirements of the league. This means that the players will not always be the same. However, the team I chose to support are the guys that are wearing the uniform on the field that day.

That’s a key point – the team consists of the guys that are on the field that day. It’s going to change. I won’t storm out because my favorite player got traded (it does hurt) and I won’t storm out because one of our sworn enemies from another team is now an AirHog. It’s a small league, it’s going to happen.

(Does this mean I am going to abandon all players who are traded or retire or simply wander off? Of course not. I hope to stay in touch and Facebook is a great way to do that. )

In the best of all possible worlds, the manager would choose well and wisely before the beginning of the season, and you would have the same team all year. If you look at the transaction logs on the league website, you will realize this never happens, not just here, but anywhere.

So, my hope is that the Booster Club (especially) will always support the team, no matter who is on the team and no matter what their record is.

I’m a fan. I expect the team to put forth their best effort. (I think they are.) I don’t (really) expect them to win championships every year. I don’t expect them to win every game. I do expect that they will give their best for the entire game, and win or lose, they’ll do it all over again the next day. That’s baseball.

There are “fans” who are only interested in a team while it is winning. These are not true fans, and it’s probably best when they wander off. They are not missed.

There are “fans” who for some inexplicable reason think that a ball park during a baseball game is a good place to discuss business or dating habits or fine dining or any number of subjects not related to ERA and RBI. I hate these people.

There are “fans” who really just want to be seen with the players. These people are a distraction to the team, which is unfortunate. I’m pretty sure these people don’t necessarily cheer for the AirHogs, it’s just that’s the closest team or the organization that will let them get close to the team.

I admit – I like talking to the players. I like talking to the staff. I’ve learned a lot about baseball in the past couple of years. However, I am not under any delusion that I can play like a twenty-year old, drink like a twenty-year old, or live on the amount of sleep they seem to get. Hell, I can barely pull a tarp. So, I will leave the baseball to the AirHogs and not interrupt them while they’re at work.

I think the Booster Club has actual fans – we’re dedicated to the team, we’d like to assist the players and we’d like to cheer them to victory. If they don’t win, we’ll cheer them to defeat. We understand that old favorites will leave and new players will arrive. We’ll try to treat them all the same. We’re not leaving until the season is over, and the next day, we’re starting the countdown to Opening Day.

We’re fans – it’s what we do.

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