Craig Calcaterra

St. Louis Cardinals fans

The Cardinals have the most loyal fans, Mariners the least

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Nothing riles up fans more than other fans shaming them for not being good, loyal fans. Or for people to claim that they have some special monopoly on being good fans. But given that riling people up is part of our #Brand here at HBT, we usually pass on the results of that annual survey which purports to measure such things.

Brand Keys, a consulting firm or marketing firm or something, puts the list together by somehow measuring 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. So basically, there’s no way to dispute their findings. We can just argue about them.

Top 5 Teams for the most loyal fans this year, with last year’s rankings in parentheses:

1. St. Louis Cardinals (#1)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (#3)
3. San Francisco Giants (#2)
4 Detroit Tigers (#4)
5. Washington Nationals (#5)

The bottom five with last year’s rankings in parenthesis:

30. Seattle Mariners (#25)
29. Arizona Diamondbacks (#29)
28. Colorado Rockies (#28)
27. San Diego Padres (#24)
26. Houston Astros (#30)

Worth noting that the Phillies led the list for “most loyal” on Opening Day 2011, which I think was probably the height of Philly fan enthusiasm. I don’t think enthusiasm and loyalty is the same thing, though. Most Philly fans I know are still loyal to their team. They’re just realistic that they suck. Same in reverse for the Mets, who used to — heck, maybe still do — have a singularly neurotic and pessimistic fan base but no one can doubt their loyalty. Indeed, if you’re not loyal you don’t allow yourself to be emotionally connected to the bad stuff enough to let it bother you. That makes the “fan bonding” and “entertainment” parts of this thing suspect. You can be a loyal fan even if your team has been hostile to you and is more misery inducing than entertaining.

And of course, all of this assumes that “loyalty” is an unequivocally great thing anyway. You don’t get a reserved spot in heaven, get your karma reduced or get holes punched in some sort of cosmic rewards card just for being loyal to your team. I know the whole Sports is Everything Industrial Complex has convinced people that loyalty is everything, but it’s actually pretty silly.

If you’re the sort of fan who watches the sports team you like up to the point they entertain you and make it worth your time and then tune out when the balance is off you’re not a better or worse person. If you put yourself through the ringer for them, no matter the situation, you’re neither of those things either. Let sports be your thing in your own way and don’t listen to people who would tell you different.

The Mets broke out their 1980s throwbacks yesterday

New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes hits a two-run home run during the sixth inning of the baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, Sunday, April 10, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Associated Press
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The Mets announced in the offseason that they would be wearing 1986 throwback uniforms as part of the 30th anniversary of their last World Series win at various times this season. One of the first of the various times was yesterday and can be seen in that sweet pic of Yoenis Cespdedes above.

Here’s some more sweetness:

New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey punches his fist into his glove during the sixth inning of the baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, Sunday, April 10, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes, center, is greeted by David Wright, left, after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of the baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, Sunday, April 10, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Associated Press

They lost to a crappy team while wearing them, but it’s better to look good while being bad than the other way around, babies. Or at least some people say that and they seem to be happy.

The Nationals have a new, bad racing president

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 7.11.31 AM
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The Brewers introduction of the Racing Sausages was pretty fantastic when it started all of those years ago because nothing like it had really been seen before. And it was aesthetically wonderful, as the tall, skinny sausages bobbed up and down awkwardly and hilariously. More so than they do now, actually, likely because of the improved nature of the costumes and the fact that the people racing have a bit more of a clue. Originally, though, it was an odd bit of almost, I dunno, David Lynchian weirdness entering baseball.

Many teams now have derivative versions of the Sausages. Large mascots involved in a foot races and the like, corporately sponsored or otherwise. The Washington Nationals version — the Presidents Race — is one of the better ones, I think. The costumes are fun. They’ve even built in some comedy and character notes to it all (the “Let Teddy Win” thing from a couple of years ago, etc.).

The originals were the Mount Rushmore presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. In recent years we’ve gotten William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge, though not always. Those newer additions aren’t Rushmore-worthy but they’re not objectionable I don’t suppose. Taft’s better legacy was as a Supreme Court justice and Coolidge was more of a competent steward than an truly inspiring leader, but no one, I hope, gets too worked up about them these days.

Yesterday, however, a new president showed up. Herbert Hoover. Interesting choice. I get that the Nats probably don’t want recent presidents as part of the race as they may be polarizing, but I think Hoover is one of older presidents who probably still inspires a bit opinion. He was really bad. The Great Depression wasn’t exactly his fault — even if he was in two administrations which preceded his own —  but he addressed it remarkably poorly, either unable or refusing to recognize the scope of the crisis while steadfastly and stubbornly adhering to conservative, hands-off principles when hands definitely needed to be on. An engineer and technocrat by nature, he likewise had almost no ability to communicate with the American people and came off as profoundly distant and uncaring as a result. And it wasn’t all just bad image and deportment. After the Depression hit he signed into law a a tariff that fueled trade wars and made the Depression even worse.

Maybe after the Rushmore guys we just don’t have any truly inspiring presidents to turn into racing mascots. FDR, I guess, but having a man who was confined to a wheelchair in a footrace is a bit of an issue. Maybe the could go full comedy with it and get a series of those now rather anonymous 19th century presidents involved. Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce don’t exactly have a current legacy of, well, anything, but you could probably make ’em funny.

Oh well. I’m just stuck on the idea that it’s hard to find a less-inspiring guy than Herbert Hoover.

UPDATE: I learn that this is a historical society thing. So, OK. Still Hoover sucked: