Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Letter to a lukewarm “fan”

Dear community-hating, biased, anti-social, anti-American, non-person:

I’m talking to you. Yes, you. There’s no one else here, so I must be talking to you.

You’re the reason. You’re the reason the team is losing, playing in a lousy 20-year-old stadium with only 50 skyboxes and thousands of empty seats at every game, and is unable to buy the best players to bring home that championship that will give us civic pride, make us attractive to companies looking to relocate and help companies thinking of leaving our area to see us in a different light.

It’s because of your selfishness and the tight wallets of all you apathetic fans who would rather watch the games on TV or go somewhere or do something else that the team is losing, and threatening to leave for a city where it will be loved and appreciated by the populace enough to actually come out to the game, and approve the bond issue for the $700 million stadium.

And don’t give me that nonsense that you can’t afford the $350 for you, the wife and four kids to go to each game. I mean, there are tickets available for $40 each before each game, and sure they’re in the upper deck and/or beyond the outfield walls, but you get a view of the big picture, almost as good a view as the people in the luxury boxes, so quit complaining.

Look, you work, your wife works, your oldest kid works, and I don’t buy that excuse about it being too expensive. If you can afford a mortgage, two vehicles and gas, insurance for your cars and house, clothes, cable TV and all the other junk you buy — like during the Christmas season — you should be able to afford to come out to at least 10 games to show your support for the team.

You say you’re worried about your job, and whether it will go to China, India or Belarus? A ballgame is the perfect antidote for anxiety, and rooting for the home team will be a break from your worries about ending up on unemployment and food stamps, and having the local “richie riches” throwing galas to benefit you and your fellow economic unfortunates. Just think, a player from the team might even visit your kids’ schools and sign autographs that you can sell on eBay.

Yeah, right, you’re not a fan, you have too much on your mind. Come on, everyone’s a fan of the local team, whether they know it or not. You take civic obligations seriously, right? You think kids today lack civic awareness, right? Well, what kind of example do you set for your kids when you don’t fulfill your duty and attend the ballgame? A bad one. Your kids will never learn the wonders of bonding with a parent at a sports event, and your intransigence will mean that, in the future, lots of kids will be denied key bonding experiences. All because of your selfishness. I hope you’re happy now.

Sports is about being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. It’s not about the money, it’s about supporting a winning team of players, and an owner or ownership group beloved for being such devoted community benefactors. When the fans don’t come out, the players feel they have nothing to play for, and they lose, and then the team leaves town for another place, and you’re left with nothing. No team to love and root for, no players to cheer on through their recoveries from drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, disabled children, contract negotiations, etc.

See? You’re turning the conversation back to yourself. You’re going on and on about your worries, your fears, your concerns about your economic future. Look, without a team, and not just a team but a winning team playing in a new publicly funded stadium (so the team can devote its resources to buying great players), your employer will probably pull out and go somewhere else, leaving you unemployed. Worse, no employer will ever relocate here since the city is not “world-class,” lacking as it will a sports team. So you are to blame for the economic uncertainty you’re experiencing.

You’re the only one thinking about money here. All the players care about is being part of the team and winning, and bringing home that trophy. They didn’t get into the game for the money (they wouldn’t lie to the reporters; the players all have God on their side and are incapable of telling falsehoods), but to win, win, win! And here you are bloviating over a few million here or there, and making irrelevant points about the team being able to afford a $22 million pitcher who hasn’t thrown a pitch in a regulation game in three months (left clavicle hurts) while demanding an $800 million stadium. It’s people like you who are the reason America is losing its leadership in the world. Sports is the only way to regain it, and how can we regain it when idiots like you are against everything?

Right, babble on about parks and roads and libraries and schools. Without a sports team, the city will close up shop and die as people leave to live in a real city and businesses go to a real city. Don’t worry about how your tax money is spent or if you local officials are being bought and paid for, just focus on the team and its intense desire to win, and you’ll forget those minor issues that only matter to eggheads and nitpickers at the dying newspapers.

The team, your team, is on the verge of greatness, but that stadium is holding the team back. You can ensure a future for sports in the city, if you’d only stop being so selfish.

(Note: The above is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but it’s the attitude I detect in those who want a new stadium while the old one is perfectly fine.)

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September 17, 2008 - Posted by | The business of sports | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Nice. Too true, to. Fun is fun, but when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, a little analytical thought can be nice too.

    Comment by Frank Lee MeiDere | April 23, 2009 | Reply


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