Rant on Dislocated Fans

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jakewalters
5/31/12 10:02:58PM
If you move somewhere, obviously you're going to keep the same allegiance to certain teams that you used to like. For instance, you move from Boston to LA. You're always going to be a diehard Celtics/Red Sox/Patriots/Bruins fan. I get that. But 1) you don't need to fucking inundate everyone with your fandom; 2) you don't have to start hating the hometown teams because they aren't "your" team; and 3) if you shack up with someone and have kids, don't force your fandom down their neck. Let them root for whoever they want, usually the hometown team.

Now that I've prefaced my rant with that, I want to tell you what it's like living in Florida. The most popular baseball team in the state of Florida is the New York Yankees (Huff Post). The most popular team in Florida is actually hundreds of miles outside of Florida. We have two teams of our own with the Rays & Marlins, yet in our own state, neither team has the following of a juggernaut baseball team in New York. Why is this? TONS of relocated New Yorkers from many generations. My best friend is a Yankees fan. Why? His grandpa is from Connecticut and that's kinda close to New York, and his grandparents root for the Yankees. There are TONS of third-generation Yankee fans along with second, fourth, fifth, etc.

If my hometown teams I grew up watching (Rays, Lightning, Buccaneers) were doing well, I would have no problems at all. Go off onto your bandwagon land, let the true fans be true fans. But we aren't. The Rays are contenders year in and year out, and we can't sellout a game to save our lives. The Bucs were blacked out 5/7 games this season, and local residents who didn't have the money to go to the game couldn't see it on TV. The Lightning has had ticket selling problems, but nothing as bad as the Rays/Bucs situation. The Rays and Buccaneers are very oft mentioned surrounding relocation ideas. All because these shitheads who refuse to support the local team, but instead opt to sit on their ass and root for the best team on TV.

I definitely come from a biased viewpoint. I've lived in Florida my whole life and haven't had to move somewhere and keep rooting for the teams that are hundreds of miles away. But I'm also moving to Chicago this fall to intern. You know what I plan on doing? I'm going to go to buy a Cubs hat, go to Wrigley, and root for the Cubs. I'll always be a Rays fan at heart (as long as their in Tampa), but that doesn't mean I have to sit at home with my arms crossed and say "Cubs suck!" I'm gonna have a good time, and although my hometown teams take first billing in my heart; I'm still going to support the teams that play where I live.

Which brings up another thing! (Man I'm rolling now.) I went to a Rays/Red Sox game in Tampa last year. More Boston fans than Tampa fans. Not like a 51/49 spread but like 70/30. You'd think it was a Red Sox game. And it's not a pretty scene. Fights in the parking lot, at least two guaranteed screaming matches in whatever section you sit in, and a TON of vitriol exchanged between the two sides. Its the same for Yankee games. It was the same when the Cowboys came to Tampa last season. Really?? One thing I DEFINITELY won't do in Chicago is show up to a Cubs game and start shit with locals because I think my team is best. 1) I would have ZERO support and 2) I'm not a Mass-hole. I mean asshole.

I'm really concerned about my hometown teams. They aren't doing well right now, and can't seem to build up the following they need to. I don't know how they can find that following unless people realize the consequences of showing your local sports team zero support. There are 350,000 residents in metro Tampa; 250,000 residents in metro St. Pete; and almost 3 million in the Tampa Bay area. Yet we're year in and year out at the bottom of attendance rankings in EVERY sport and can't even average more than 20,000 in baseball. Now, there are some geographical issues with the Rays stadium, but the Bucs play in the middle of metro Tampa, traffic isn't too bad, and they can't sell out a game either.

So wherever you are, whichever affiliations you have to certain teams, just support the teams in your area. I really would hate to see us lose a team like Atlanta or Seattle has recently (sorry, Kpro).
Bubbles
5/31/12 11:43:34PM
I love your dedication to your teams.

To sort of counter this, the Rays have only been in the league for like 20 years so its not like generations have grown up watching the team like the Yankees or Cubs. Don't forget the Rays were the laughingstock of the league for most of that time so I would assume that turned off a lot of people from becoming fans. The Jays are finally seeing their attendance increase from past seasons. No playoff appearances since 1993 and a bunch of mediocre to poor seasons does that to a fanbase. Not that long ago the only sellouts would be the home opener and maybe a Yankees or Red Sox weekend game as well. Give it a chance, your team only recently became a top tier team. If they keep this up I would guess that the attendance will increase now that kids are starting to grow up watching a winning team rather than a 60 win team.

I can't comment on the Bucs because I don't know the NFL landscape very well. I think 3 of my Bills games were blacked out last season so I know the feeling

Lightning (as well as the Panthers) lose millions a season for the simple reason that its hockey. Hockey has never thrived in the southern states (save for Dallas in the Modano days) unless its playoff time where people are there because it's the cool thing to do rather than watch the game. It's also a sport that doesn't appear on ESPN (highlights for those games come like 40 minutes into a SportsCenter episode) or Fox or CBS...NBC has improved its coverage recently but I don't recall the Lightning ever being shown (even when it was VS). I don't know what its like for the regional networks, but if hockey is on page 8 in the newspaper or takes 40 minutes to get to on SC, then the interest level doesn't develop. As Canadians, hockey is essentially burned into our brains from the moment we are born. It's the first set of highlights on our sports highlight shows (SportsCentre, Sportsnet Connected, Score in the Morning) and they have their "experts" talk about the games for another 15 minutes before moving on to NFL or NBA or MLB or CFL...the only exception is if it's the Superbowl or World Series. I highly doubt hockey is covered a fraction of the amount that we do up here. If it was, and the Lightning produced consistent winning teams since their cup win, then maybe the fan base would increase. But from all accounts that I have heard, hockey coverage is almost a joke down there...even with a top 3 player in Stamkos scoring 50 a season

How is the advertising and marketing of these teams down there? How are the coverage of the teams? Does your Tampa Bay sports radio station spend at least 75% of its day discussing topics that directly relate to those teams? I can tell you that its all Leafs from Sept-April and all Jays from April-Sept. Raptors get a little bit of attention every now and then.

BTW don't waste your money on the Cubs...the White Sox are where it's at
Ordep
6/1/12 1:05:29AM
When I lived in PR I followed random teams at random times usually because of players since we dont have any pro franchise there. I was a Yankee fan because I loved Bernie Williams and went to Yankee Stadium in '99 while visiting family up there, a Seattle Sonics fan because of Gary Payton and didn't really followed football team. I'd watch the NCAA games during Xmas and NewYear because that's what was on TV and root for the team with the better looking uniforms. From the NFL, I'd watch a game (mostly during playoffs) and pick a team to root from at the start of the game.

When moved to GA to start grad school at UGA that's when I realized what following a team really is. It took me 2 years to divorce from the Yankees and start liking the Braves and it was super fun. I actually enjoyed that they were not very good at the time. I don't hate the Yankees (I'll talk shit about them now and them though) but I don't really care about them anymore. The Sonics moved to OKC and I really didn't feel attachment to the franchise to keep following them so I started liking the Hawks. Falcons and Dawgs came by default.

I also feel like Jake, it is 100% sure that I'll move from here when I finish (I'm starting to hate the South and want to be at a more chill place where I can speak Spanish on my phone to my friends and people won't give me weird looks) and I'll keep following the ATL based teams but also support the locals wherever I end up. It's all about the fun
emfleek
6/1/12 9:56:26AM

Posted by Bubbles

BTW don't waste your money on the Cubs...the White Sox are where it's at



...if you want to buy an 8-ball instead of a hot dog during the 7th inning stretch. Or if you plan on getting shot instead of doing shots before/after the game.
jakewalters
6/2/12 12:55:14PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by Bubbles

BTW don't waste your money on the Cubs...the White Sox are where it's at



...if you want to buy an 8-ball instead of a hot dog during the 7th inning stretch. Or if you plan on getting shot instead of doing shots before/after the game.



I want both of those things!

Speaking of baseball, my hometown team karma is catching up with me a little. I was in the stands for the Florida Gators' no-hitter last night!! We look amazing this year.

Almost watched the TUF Finale instead of going to the baseball game. Thank god for DVR.
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