Does The Shoe Fit On The Other Foot?


We in the blogosphere can be a fickle bunch!  It’s our job in the media to create drama and stir emotions. Drama and emotions are why we follow sports. Some times however even those of us who cover the game can lose our objectivity.

Case in point: Allow me to take you back to a post written by our Pirates site, Rum Bunter. If you haven’t had a chance to read this article, it’s worth the time, just make sure you do it after you finish this.  Here is my favorite passage from the article.

"“At McKechnie Field on Sunday, the Rays fans showed up.  In a big way.  My hat’s off.  In the seventh inning, most were gone.  My hat’s back on.Maybe we should attempt to explain.  Some of the Rays fans wear Pittsburgh Pirates hats.  Yeh, it’s confusing and at the same time, it makes perfect sense to them.  Uh, it’s called being a transplant fan they explained.  Oh, ok, sorry we tried to spark a conversation”."

Let’s look at this in multiple parts and then I will break it down…

Part 1:   Rays fans showed up in a big way but because they left in the seventh inning…Rays fans are awful!
Part 2:   Being a Rays fan and wearing a Pirates hat…Rays fans are awful!
Part 3:   Confused that people in Tampa might root for a team that plays 30 minutes away…Rays fans are awful!

Allow me to shed some light on the situation for our one-sided, Fan-Sided friend, RumBunter writer Tom Smith.  Let us not forget what month we are in here, it’s March (or in this case, February).  When you start criticizing fans for leaving a Spring Training game in the seventh inning or later…C’mon man!  I mean be honest, you probably don’t want to watch you’re staff ace (uhh, what’s his name again?) pitching into the eighth inning of a spring game, much less a journeyman minor leaguer.

Mr. Smith goes on to explain how unpleasant it was to be a “baseball fan”  that day.  A baseball fan, really?  If you were a baseball fan you probably wouldn’t be confused by the notion of Rays fans ,who live in Bradenton, or parts surrounding, wearing a Pirates hat.  While I don’t condone the idea, especially when the two are playing against each other, were you confused or just trying to add fuel to your already burning desire to hate Rays fans?  A true baseball fan is grateful for the fact that he/she can live in an area where you can attend so many games and watch so many superstars climb the ranks.  I’m not exactly a Pirates fan myself but I can tell you this, I will find my way down to Bradenton to watch some of the Marauders play for a chance to go pro, why?  For the same reason I will drive five minutes to watch the Clearwater Threshers (Single-A Phillies)…20 minutes to watch the Tampa Yankees…20 minutes to watch the Dunedin Blue Jays… and even one hour to watch the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Because I’m a baseball fan!

I was at the game on Monday.  It was a good game and I didn’t see anything in the way of rowdiness.  Tom Smith might say, ohh well that’s because the Pirates were home and their fans are not obnoxious.  You’d have a hard time telling me that there were as many Pirates fans at the game as there were Rays fans.

Now to address some of the other issues.  I understand that a baseball game can be a great family experience.  You must however remember that it is also a place where people can gather in masses, drink large quantities of beer, scream as loud as they want, and just make an all around fool of themselves.  While the majority of us probably fall somewhere in the middle…for Rays fans to be knocked simply for screaming obscenities and derogatory comments about the city of Pittsburgh, is a bit hypocritical.  Don’t think for one second that Joe Steelers fan isn’t yelling much worse when he goes to the game on Sunday.  Furthermore, do you really have an issue with Ben Roethlisberger being scrutinized in the National media?  It’s not just Tampa here, Tom.  Obviously Joey Porter is still in your memory so I’m a little concerned that you see it fit to completely bash Joe Rays fan (free plug to our sister site), however it’s no big deal when Joey Porter runs his mouth or Lee Flowers refers to the Buccaneers as “paper champions”.  We come to expect this kind of behavior from many fans, especially when you have a player under the microscope with a track record that is, let’s say, a tad unsavory.   I get it, Football is a different breed.  The players are encouraged to trash talk and that’s acceptable.  Baseball, apparently, not so much.

Look, every city in the country is going to criticize Big Ben, just like every city does the same to the likes of Alex Rodriguez.  Sports fans love to hate someone.  Where as A-Rod has found himself that poster boy in baseball, Big Ben seems to be a likely fit in football.  I just think that before you go spouting on about how bad the Rays fans are you should step back into your glass house. Sit down.  Watch a Pirates game.  Then you might see, it’s not the Rays fans you hate.  It’s the fact that your organization has failed to field a winning team.  Jealousy is the glove into which hatred slips it’s hand…write that down!