This goes pretty far into the land of the subjective, but according to Brand Keys, here are the most loyal and least loyal fan bases around:
Top-5 Teams 2014
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Atlanta Braves
5. San Francisco Giants
Bottom-5 Teams 2014
30. Houston Astros
29. New York Mets
28. Seattle Mariners
27. Arizona Diamondbacks
26. Colorado Rockies
The measurements are made by the “four emotional drivers” of fan loyalty, which are (1) Pure Entertainment; (2) Authenticity; (3) Fan Bonding; and (4) History and tradition. These are mixed in a pot with things like overall league and team rankings, viewership and merchandise sales and then this comes out like so.
I can’t say that it seems intuitive. Because I know a lot of Mets fans. And they have had very few reasons to cheer in the past few years, yet they keep coming back. Whether that’s love or that’s insanity I have no idea, but it’s certainly loyalty of a type. I’ll also say that seeing the Braves where they are is at least a bit curious. While they get way more crap thrown on them for not selling out games than they deserve, the fact is that Braves fans, thanks to the TBS legacy, are a pretty far flung lot, covering a lot of the country. That helps explain why attendance doesn’t always track popularity, but it also seems to be pretty bad for the whole “fan bonding” thing.
Anyway, take this for what you will. I assume most of you will take it as either validation of your own fandom or a great and uncalled for insult, depending on where you team lies on the loyalty scale. Because that’s how everything related to fandom works.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.