Fans Without Entire Picture

I had the idea for this post a few days ago, but due to my recent travel (which has become the story of my season lately), I am composing it now.  The idea of this discussion was prompted while I was watching one of our games in Rancho a few nights ago, when some fans yelled derogatory comments directed at my teammates and manager.

Before I make my point, I want to preface by pointing out that I am not making an appeal that home fans always need to be supportive of a team’s play.  We are professional athletes and fans have every right to applaud or criticize our efforts.  During a player’s or team’s struggle, booing can sometimes be the motivation for a turn around.  However, the purpose of my discussion is not to ask fans to be more respectful of feelings during bad times.  The aim is to have fans consider some latent factors that may be contributing to a slump.

As much as professional athletes are subjected to media coverage, there is only so much that can be publically disseminated.  In lower professional ranks, public knowledge of athletes is even less due to the large quantity of players and relative interest a team’s players being tied only to local communities. This absence of public information can be the cause for some unrighteous negative comments from fans and the media during times of bad performance. 

The lack of full disclosure is good for the players, as it allows the team to handle issues in-house, and provides the players with privacy and keeping them from being publically scrutinized.  Unfortunately, these private issues may surface to the public as poor on-field play.  Baseball players, like all other working people, have personal issues, family problems, and many things weighing on their minds.  However, with the exception of dire circumstances, we are not entitled to take personal days off to deal with these situations.

The reality of the matter is that fans only know so much about players, and it generally only pertains to do with how they have been playing over the past few days (for those fans keeping close tabs with the team).  Outsiders do not know if a player is having family problems at home (parents going through a divorce, a troubled brother or sister, a sick relative); thinking about a close friend that was involved in a serious car accident; having marital problems; coming back from an injury (minor league players do not generally get rehab starts, with the exception of some innings in Arizona Rookie League games, when coming back from injury like major leaguers); or, dealing with any other problems that may be detrimental to a player’s psyche.

We are expected to play 140 games in 152 days, and many times, work more than two weeks without having a day off.  The absence of time to properly deal with many issues can weigh heavily on a player and affect their performance.  Thus, the point I raise is not to ask fans to stop voicing their displeasure, but it is to consider the possibility that maybe a player’s performance is being negatively impacted by a distraction out of his control.

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5 Responses to “Fans Without Entire Picture”

  1. Schafe Says:

    Super post. I just don’t understand the booing and negativity that comes from select fans. There have been a number of occassions where I have commented to a negative fan that these guys are busting their butts and no reason to ride their tails. Let the coach do that. Plus, with the number of kids around, it’s just not a positive influence. Take care Chris.

  2. Zoly Says:

    Agreed wholeheartedly!! Not to mention financial problems these players may be having trying to support themselves and their families on the wages of a minor league ballplayer.

    I take my son to the Quakes games because I find it better family entertainment then taking him to all the way to Anaheim to see the Angels play. I took him to a game there earlier this year and on the way to the restroom we had to stop as fans were fighting and drinks were being thrown everywhere. We had to be escorted to the restrooms, something I trust will never happen at a Quakes game. I have noticed incidences in which certain fans become “unruly” and feel the need to heckle the players, whether it be the visiting team or the Quakes. I am trying to teach my six year old son sportsmanship and it is exceedingly difficult to explain to him why some “man” is yelling mean things at the players. I have noticed several things during the two years in which we have been attending games at the Epicenter, first that the starting players seldom get days off. It would not be unusual to attend an Angels game and find one of the starters getting a day off, but this almost never happens at a Quakes game, unless someone is injured. The other thing I have noticed is that most of the unruly behavior tends to happen on Thursday night games. I am sure this is large part to the “Thirsty Thursday” promotion. While I am keenly aware that this is a big promotional event and no doubt helps attendance it also serves to keep many loyal fans and families from attending on those nights, my self and my son included. I will attend an occasional Thursday night game but I am always extra cautious of those around us and pay particular attention to alcohol consumption. I routinely see the same individuals returning from the consession stand with beers in both hands, seemingly after every inning. The ushers/police/security seem to do little to deter the acts of public intoxication or to remove these intoxicated fans from the premises. I shudder to think about how they all get home after the games (I typically stick around for at least 30 minutes to let them clear out so as to minimize the risk to my family).

    Trust me we are keenly aware that the players are human and have other issues to deal with other then playing a game and we are always appreciative that ALL of the players will stop to sign autographs, before and after the game, no matter what else is going on in their lives, how they did in the game or who is waiting for them after the game outside the clubhouse (families, girlfriends, etc.).

    Thanks for the post and lets hope it opens the eyes of some more fans.

    My son and I both are hoping your rehab is quick and that you are back playing again soon.

  3. BeesGal Says:

    Whenever I hear about these demonstrations of the less appealing side of human behavior, I wonder why those people go to the game. Perhaps it’s the equivalent of having a bad day at work, going home and kicking the dog. For others, it’s no doubt fueled by the EtOH, as “Zoly” has observed. Of course, we all have our bad days and we all handle stress differently. That said, if I had to choose between a spouse who makes 2 errors in a game because of our relationship troubles, or a hubby who when faced with that kind of problem at home goes out, gets drunk and starts picking fights at the ballpark. Well, you get the idea. . .

    I wonder. How would one of these insult-hurlers—let’s just call him ‘Bob’ for the sake of argument—how might Bob feel if he had a “cheering section” sitting in his office all day vocally critiquing every sales call? Or seeing his employee review published in the paper every morning?

    No doubt Bob would love having a drunken stranger wander into his cubicle and start screaming, “You dumb-*ss. You totally blew that last sales pitch. A monkey with a suit could have closed that deal!”

    I’m sure the highlight of Bob’s week would be having his lunch suddenly interrupted by someone he’s never met, who introduces herself as an expert in finance. “I’ve read the book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad.’ And you know what Bob? You really need to start investing in Dubai. Me? Oh I work at the Dollar Saver down the street. But I’ve read the book front-to-back three times.”

    Let’s imagine how Bob might handle getting ambushed on his way to the car, after a long day at the office, by a reporter with a microphone and camera, “Say Bob, we just wanted to get your reaction to the news that your wife is leaving your marriage of 17 years and running off with your best friend, Ted. Oh, and she’s taking the house.” Do you think Bob would look into the camera lens and calmly say this was the first he’d heard of it, so he couldn’t confirm the facts? And if it turns out to be true, he’d be really disappointed but he wished the new couple all the best in their new future together? Yeah, sure he would.

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the saying goes. No, it doesn’t have to be love, kisses and group hugs. This iscompetitive sports, after all. As we know, most athletes can and do dish it out during the heat of the game. Successful athletes can take as well as they give.

    On the other hand, I seriously doubt if any of these foul-mouthed bleacher critics could stand the heat of the kitchen, much less perform in it. Sadly, the ballpark isn’t the only place we must endure the “wisdom” of such armchair geniuses. A simple Google search reveals an Internet loaded with astoundingly mean-spirited tirades, many of which are based on nothing more than wishful thinking and the need for some attention.

    Most of the blog commentators here, as well as the majority of the lurkers out there, appreciate that Chris is willing to share his experiences with such honesty. Me too. 🙂 Thanks again Chris. Your thoughts offer a life-raft of reason and reality in a stormy sea of virtual promises. . . BeesGal

  4. Paula W. Brome Says:

    People in general do not fullfill their dreams but YOU ARE !!!! So jealously fulls the fire and then character comes into play and alchol is introduce this produces idiots. So good luck keep your head high and go have some fun.

  5. The Bushwhackers Says:

    WELL SAID!!! I agree with all the comments posted. (Remember the jerk who relentlessly imploded on the Blaze). We are 16 year season tickets holders and miss only 3 or 4 games a year. Love the Quakes and support them wholeheartedly. Keep up the great work Rosey! We really look forward to watching you play. M & M

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