Fanbase Power Rankings: First Tier

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fanbase Power Rankings: First Tier

. Monday, March 16, 2009

Unlike the homogeneity of today's NFL, both the American and National Leagues are chock full of franchises with unique histories, legends, and personalities. A big part of the franchise itself is the fanbase, and how that group interacts with the team and with fans of other teams. On a recent flight, I mulled this topic over, and decided to formalize a list for you readers. It was either that or watch some godawful Kate Hudson vehicle. And since I would rather eat nachos topped with broken glass than watch Kate Hudson, I ended up with an 1,800 word article. So I'm going to break things up for you. Today, you get teams 1-8. Tomorrow is the mediocre middle of this particular bell curve, and the day after is where it gets fun - the teams I actively hate. So enjoy, and please don't take offense - unless you're a Milwaukee fan.

1. Chicago CubsClearly, we’re writing from a biased point of view. But I’ve had too many good baseball conversations with strangers over a shared love of our team to believe otherwise. I can’t help but feel, deep down, that Cubs fans are the greatest in the world. How do I account for the frat douches and pink-shirted hooker-bots who occasionally pollute our Wrigelysphere? Easy – they’re not really fans, so they don’t count.

2. Boston Red Sox (pre-World Series) – During the 2004 season (the first summer in which we could legally drink!), Steve and I, along with some friends from the neighborhood (of … ahem … Woodstock) went to Slugger’s caught the second game of that excellent Cubs/Red Sox series, when our Boys in Blue came back from a 4-0 deficit to make it a laugher. We ended up sharing a table with some Boston fans, and they were some of the greatest opposing fans ever. They knew the game, talked good-natured shit about Corey Patterson, and bought more than a couple rounds of exorbitantly-priced Old Style. They've even got their own "Go Cubs Go"-style thing with "Tessie." Steve went to the game the day after, and quickly made friends, who similarly bought him beers. I enjoy true Boston fans, from before the juggernaut days (more on that in a future post).

Lesson: You can't base a team or a movie around Timothy Busfield

3. Minnesota Twins – They defeated Bud Selig’s Lex Luther-esque (Lutheran?) contraction effort, and are a constant thorn in the side of the White Sox. They regularly compete on a smaller budget in a consistently tough division, and develop good prospects. The only problem? Minnesota is even more dull than the “Praire Home Companion” movie.

When chest hair was KING!

4. Detroit Tigers – They live in Detroit, yet can find a way to cheer about something – clearly, they’re superhuman. Also, Magnum, P.I. was an avout Tigers fan. Enough said.

Don't worry, dear readers. She's only dead on the inside.

5. Philadelphia Phillies – They hate the everloving shit out of the Mets, which we dig. And I’m pretty sure that Day Man, Fighter of the Night Man roots for the Phils. As they’re now fans of the reigning World Series champions, let’s hope they don’t turn into insufferable bastards.

A scene from David Lynch's "Baseball"

6. Atlanta Braves – Maybe it’s just because I know a lot of them from my days at Tennessee, maybe it’s because I really enjoyed taking in a game at Turner Park in 2003, but I dig the Braves’ old-school vibe. Take it from me – their fans can talk baseball, if not necessarily talk shit very well. Southern folk are just too polite. Unless you’re different in some unchangeable way – then you’re fucked.

I'm willing to let them have the title of Most Cursed Team. So are a lot of Native Americans.

7. Cleveland Indians – Even Harvey Pekar, the poetic consummate everyman responsible for the American Splendor film and series of comics, couldn’t understand what drove Indians fans. WAIW does not purport to understand what drives them, but more power to them. The ones who didn't have stress heart attacks after the 2007 ALCS, that is. It just goes to show you - association with Bob Uecker is the ultimate forerunner of failure.

This is who Billy Beane got for Dan Haren last year. Gotta build the farm system.

8. Oakland Athletics – I wonder how they approach selling jerseys in Oakland, given that any player notable enough to spur jersey sales will be inevitably traded by midseason for three minor league pitchers and Eric Patterson. They should sell fans jerseys made of dry erase board material so they can change it mid-season. Otherwise, it’s just stealing.