One is either a team’s fan or not
A casual Monday morning read of an account of the Cleveland Indians’ thrilling 4-3, 12-inning win over Texas the day before turned into a tirade of sorts. Since no one was around, the outburst was loud and full of expletives.
The object of my tirade was a couple of readers who posted their comments at the end of the story. They both criticized Nick Swisher — and rightly so — for his performance (three ugly strikeouts in three plate appearances). But they went further and that’s what ticked me off.
First, some background. When Swisher was due up in the top of the ninth and the Indians trailing 3-1, manager Terry Francona sent up Chris Dickerson to pinch hit. When I saw that, my first thought was, “Francona must be really down on Swisher to hit for him.”
Francona has the reputation of being a players’ manager in that he treats his players like adults and supports them pretty much to the end. Swisher’s struggles this season have been well documented and Francona has kept him in the lineup. After the game it was revealed that Swisher had injured a wrist on one of his swings and that is why Dickerson hit for him.
Back to the comments of the “fans.” Instead of just saying “Swisher stinks this year” these “fans” went on to say the Indians should get rid of him and never should have signed him. They also criticized Francona, commenting that they should have known he was forced to bench Swisher because of injury rather than as a good strategic move.
OK, these guys have every right to say what they want. But in my world they don’t have the right to call themselves “fans” of the Indians. Last year, when Swisher contributed key hit after key hit to the Indians’ playoff drive and Francona’s one-game-at-a-time approach proved successful, these guys probably were cheering as loud as anyone. And if Swisher somehow gets back on track and contributes to a successful season they will cheer him again.
I don’t get it. If you think a player or coach stinks, then you should think that all the time. If you think that person is a good player and you’re glad he is on your team, then you should think that all the time.
Over time any fan’s favorite team is going to have some bums. I recall over the years being stuck having to root for guys like Lou Klimchock, Fair Hooker and Pat Shurmur among others.
The words of those commenters made me think back to a late uncle of mine who loved to pull my chain regarding the Indians and Browns. He was a fan also but when things started to go badly, and they did quite a bit back then, suddenly they were “my” Indians and he chided me for following a losing team.
I so wanted to tell him that whenever one of the Cleveland teams eventually did something good I wasn’t going to share my joy with him because he wasn’t loyal when they were doing poorly.
If you’re a fan of a team you should — in my opinion — be a fan in both good times and bad.
I know this attitude is somewhat na Øve and overly optimistic and yes, people have the right to say what they want. I guess to avoid sharing success with disloyal fans I will just have to avoid the comments section. It also might keep my blood pressure down.
Write Vindicator sportswriter Doug Chapin at firstname.lastname@example.org.