We hear it every fall: Long-suffering fans of
- [insert name of storied baseball franchise]
pining for finally...finally...a World Series title. This is the year! No more
- (a) curses
- (b) goats
- (c) reason for elderly fans to live now their fondest wish has come true.
If the team actually wins
- [see Sox, Red, 2004]
let's write books and make movies about it! Pink hats for everyone!
But if the team loses
- [see Cubs, Chicago, 2008]
the fans' suffering increases exponentially.
A list of the longest World Series droughts shows us that fans of the Cubs, Indians and Giants deserve a championship the most.
Or do they? Because the media needs an angle on suffering, or the fans themselves get louder as their misery increases, the implication is that the longer you have to wait, the more you deserve success.
Then does that mean Phillies fans deserve to win the World Series more than Rays fans? What about the lifetime baseball fans in central Florida who finally have a team of their own?
Are fans who support their team regardless of management and performance loyal, or just stupid? Then what does that say about Dodger fans, who help the team annually exceed 3,000,000 in attendance—win or lose?
While fan spending on games and merchandise can be viewed as a measurement of loyalty, it doesn't account for what different fans can afford in different parts of the country; ticket prices vary, but an authentic game cap costs $31.99 no matter which team logo is stitched on it.
So forget trying to quantify loyalty—because loyalty is unmeasurable.
Forget trying to identify the best fans in baseball—because every team has the best fans in baseball.
No, the passion of fandom is essentially irrational and unquantifiable. And while suffering can create character, character simply makes you a better person. It doesn't make your team a winner.
Cubs fans photo #2 by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Dodger fans photo by Juan Ocampo/Dodgers