Are Yankees fans "the best in the world?"

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Not my words.  They’re Lupica’s:

There aren’t fans better than this anywhere in the world. This isn’t about whether or not you love the Yankees. This is about Yankee fans.

There are other baseball fans in other cities, of course, Mets fans in this one. There are fans who come out strong for teams who haven’t won the way the Yankees won, who don’t make the playoffs just about every year the way the Yankees have since Joe Torre first came to town 13 years ago and the winning came back to the Yankees and the Bronx.

But no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.

Saying that any team’s fans are “the best” is obviously an exercise in biases, and there’s no better chance that people are going to agree on this question than they’d agree on religion.  Lupica is a New York guy who writes for a New York paper that is purchased by New York fans.  I have no doubt that he sincerely believes that Yankees fans are the best. But even if he didn’t, it’s not like he’d write that, say, the fans in Minnesota or Milwaukee or (shudder) Boston were better.  Assuming he was even proposing a way to measure it.

I’ll throw this out there though: wouldn’t one way to measure how great a teams’ fans are be to see how well they draw when the team isn’t winning?  Whether the fan base is of the fair weather variety?  If so, is it worth considering the following:

  • The Yankees were 1st in the American League in attendance from 1976-1981, when the team was winning a lot.
  • The Yankees fell out of the top spot in 1982 — to third — and didn’t lead the league again until 2003, finishing as low as 11th a couple of times when the team wasn’t playing well.  This despite the fact that they had one of the larger seating capacities in baseball over that time.
  • Contrast this with the Dodgers, who have only been out of the top 5 in NL attendance once in the last 90 years.  Or the Red Sox who have only been as low as 9th once in their history, despite having the smallest seating capacity in the game for almost all of that history. The Cardinals ranking has been more consistent than the Yankees too.

    I’ll grant that Yankees fans are pretty darn good — and it’s hard to find more knowledgeable fans than Yankees fans — but they’re not necessarily diehards.  Like the fans of most teams, they’ll stay home if the team isn’t winning.

    I’m not saying that disqualifies them from being the best fans in the world, but if I were Mike Lupica, I’d find a way to account for that before making the claim.

    Your 2016 Winter Meetings Wrapup

    national-harbor
    Gaylord National Resort
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    OXON HILL, MD — The 2016 Winter Meetings are over.  As usual, there was still no shortage of excitement this year. More trades than we’ve seen in the past even if there are still a lot of free agents on the market. Whatever the case, it should make the rest of December a bit less sleepy than it normally is.

    Let’s look back at what went down here at National Harbor this week:

    Well, that certainly was a lot! I hope our coverage was useful for you as baseball buzzed through its most frantic week of the offseason. And I hope you continue coming back here to keep abreast of everything happening in Major League Baseball.

    Now, get me to an airport and back home.

    Eighteen players selected in the Rule 5 Draft

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    MLB
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    OXON HILL, MD — The Rule 5 Draft just went down here at National Harbor. As always, it was the last event of the Winter Meetings. As usual, you likely don’t know most of the players selected in the Draft, even if a couple may make a splash one day in the future.

    In all, 18 players were taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5. Here they are, with the name of the team which selected them:

    Round 1
    1. Twins:  Miguel Diaz, RHP, Brewers
    2. Reds: Luis Torrens, C, Yankees
    3. Padres: Allen Cordoba, SS, Cardinals
    4. Rays: Kevin Gadea, Mariners
    5. Braves: Armando Rivero, RHP, Cubs
    6. D-backs: Tyler Jones, RHP, Yankees
    7. Brewers: Caleb Smith, LHP, Yankees
    8. Angels  Justin Haley,RHP, Red Sox
    9. White Sox:  Dylan Covey, RHP, A’s
    10. Pirates: Tyler Webb, LHP, Yankees
    11. Tigers: Daniel Stumpf, LHP, Royals
    12. Orioles: Aneury Tavarez, 2B, Red Sox
    13. Blue Jays: Glenn Sparkman, RHP, Royals
    14. Red Sox: Josh Rutledge, INF, Rockies
    15. Indians: Holby Miller, LHP, Phillies
    16. Rangers: Michael Hauschild, RHP, Astros

    Round 2
    17. Reds:  Stuart Turner, C, Twins
    18. Orioles:  Anthony Santander, OF, Indians

    For a breakdown of most of these guys and their big league prospects, check this story out at Baseball America. Like I said, you don’t know most of these guys. And, while there have been some notable exceptions in Rule 5 Draft history, most won’t make a splash in the big leagues.

    Each player cost their selecting team $100,000. Each player must remain on the 25-man roster of his new club for the entire season or, at the very least, on the disabled list. If he is removed from the 25-man, the team which selected him has to offer him back to his old team for a nominal fee. Sort of like a stocking fee when you return a mattress or something. Many of these guys, of course, will not be returned and, instead, will be stashed on the DL with phantom injuries.

    Aren’t transactions grand?