On the nature of being a Rockies (bandwagon) fan Part.1

bandwagon2.jpgOne of my friends that I work with commented yesterday that he was sick of all the “bandwagon” fans that got into the Rockies this season in their journey to the World Series. Now, I must admit, he is a true fan and loves baseball. However, is his implicit premise (that it is wrong to be a Rockies bandwagon fan) defensible? Well, I don’t think a simple yes or no answer will suffice. I believe that the arrival of a person to the place where they might be classified as a “bandwagon” fan is much more complicated than one might initially think and requires an evaluation on a case by case basis. Consider my argument from personal experience:

I moved to Colorado about 16 months ago from Alabama. I loved playing baseball when I was a kid and was an avid collector of baseball cards. However, I did not continue to play baseball competitively and since Alabama doesn’t have an MLB team, I wasn’t postured into being a die hard fan of any particular team.

Upon moving to Colorado, I began to attend Rockies games pretty regularly because I could get tickets to the “rockpile” section of Coors stadium for $4 each. So, going to a game was a really inexpensive night out. As I began to attend these games, however, my love for the Rockies began to grow, which was natural since I didn’t have any ties to an MLB team anyways. My wife and I attended a game in early August when they came back from behind to win with a 3-run homerun and a 2-run homerun. This game was really the watershed moment for me (and note, this was towards the very beginning of their streak). Subsequently, I watched more games and became especially enthralled when they miraculously won the wild-card game against the Padres to make it into the division playoffs.

So here is my question: Am I to be considered a bandwagon fan? Maybe. Is this wrong? I don’t think so. Given this state of affairs (that I am a newcomer to Colorado from a state with no MLB team), what else would I do? I contend that the most natural thing for me to do would be to become attached to the Rockies. You may disagree.

Part of the problem is semantical. How are we to define a “bandwagon” fan? Is it someone that attaches to a team just to be part of the crowd? Is a more nuanced definition in order? I propose the following definition:

*bandwagon fan: a person that involves themself in a social sports movement in order to confirm their own self-worth to themselves and others through the participation of a group experience.

* let us call this definition b*

What do you think of b*? Is it adequate? If it is a sufficient definition, is it wrong to be this type of a fan?

For the sake of argument, let us accept b* as adequate and move forward. Let us try to think of some parallel examples and counter-examples. We can do this easily by applying a slightly modified definition with one qualification: we will take the word sports out of the definition to make it the following:

*a person that involves themself in a social sports movement in order to confirm their own self-worth to themselves and others through the participation of a group experience.

*let us call this b**

Given b**, think of some parallel examples and counter-examples to being a rockies fan and see if it is in fact wrong to be this kind of person in similiar social movements.


One Response to On the nature of being a Rockies (bandwagon) fan Part.1

  1. Daniel says:

    Hmm, I think you put way too much thought into this. Theresa must be at work this evening 😉

    Um, here’s my similar situation for comparitive purposes. I remember when the Rockies first became a team, the Inaugural year in 1993. I even have a small banner to prove I went to a game in ’93. Back then I was way into the Rockies, as everybody in Colorado was. But then we all soon realized that the Rockies really sucked. And I mean sucked BAD. So me, and countless others, got off that bandwagon (i.e. the drug-like high experience of having a new professional sports team to cheer for). I didn’t watch the Rockies very much at all for the next subsequent 15 years or so except for hearing from time to time how much they would get pummeled or which stud on the team jumped ship for a better team. But then during this whole “Rocktober” business I got back into the Rockies, albeit not as much as most people, but I was still consciously aware of how they were doing in the playoffs, winning or losing. Does that make me a bandwagon fan given your “b” definition? The first part, yes. But the second part, no. I wouldn’t say I confirmed my self-worth via this group experience. It is more that I “tagged along for the ride” so to speak. Here’s a crude example: 9/11. We were all surprised by 9/11 (except Claire) as we were all surprised by the Rockies. But when 9/11 happened we all jumped on a “bandwagon” for a common cause of (temporary) patriotism. As with the Rock’s. We jumped on this bandwagon legitimately so because it was a surprise. I think the true test will be the years to come of not just how good the Rock’s do as a franchise, but how many fans they actually retain. I would say the only true way of gauging your fanbase is via retention. Look at the Cubs, they always suck but they have hardcore fans that pack the stadium every game. If the Rock’s can get that kind of fanbase who retain their loyalty then the idea of the bandwagon is nomore. But given American culture and self-fulfilling ADD, I suspect (as our patriotism wore off from 9/11) so will the allegiance to the Rockies if they end up sucking next year. So reluctantly and pessimistically I would say that the bandwagon is a fad and is a temporary euphoria for our self-diagnosed ADD culture. I’m getting way too curmudgeonly and will stop now 🙂

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