Thursday, September 17, 2009

Standing Up For The Fans

I don’t like being called out by anyone, but especially by a fellow fan.

I’ve been stewing about Jamey Newberg’s September 17th report all day today. Arguing with a lawyer is useless, but that doesn’t mean I won’t give it a try.

Whether you like it or not: the weather DID play a huge factor in attendance at the Ballpark in Arlington this past weekend. There were plenty of reasons for not going to Arlington due to the weather last week - just because we don’t want to sit in the stands getting sopping wet and cold doesn’t mean that we are not dedicated fans. Sorry Jamey - long rain delays and miserable weather tests the patience of the most loyal fans, including myself – scolding fans for not showing up in poor weather conditions is wrong.

Let’s not ignore the fact that the Rangers attendance IS up (about 12% was the last figure I read) and their TV ratings ARE UP TOO (around 50% was the last figure I read). Saying that the fans have not supported this team sufficiently this season is not a true statement. While attendance is flat or down in some of the other MLB cities – more fans have come out to the watch the Rangers in person and on the tube this season.

Keep this number in mind: 689-769: that’s the Rangers W-L from 2000-2008 (a .472 winning percentage). Again whether you like it or not – 8 years of that kind baseball hardly inspires fans to come out to the Ballpark. I agree with the venerable Jim Reeves who said that Ranger fans have had their hearts broken so many times by this franchise it makes them hesitant. Frankly speaking: it’s about to happen one more time. While this season has been good – and the Rangers have won more games than they’ve lost – they haven’t been able to win the games at the critical juncture when it really counts for something.

Add that to a losing streak (to teams supposedly inferior to the Rangers), the miserable weather, and constant media reports and references to dire financial circumstances that could hamper this team’s ability to keep key players in the future – it does make one think twice about making the trip to Arlington. Throw in the fact that many of us fans have our own financial issues to deal with that make paying for tickets, parking and concessions one of the things we have to cut back on this year. Baseball is very important to many of us – yet attending sporting events are a still a luxury not an essential, especially when you can’t really afford it no matter how much you love your team – (and I do appreciate the fact the Rangers have tried to make it a little more affordable) I think in this case the fans have a solid defense against your argument.

There are a lot of “sports” fans around here , but there aren’t as many die hard baseball fans. After all this is Cowboy’s town, always has been, always will be. My goodness, even the state’s largest paper doesn’t bother to have any of their own writers covering the team - they use wire reports and game stories from other sources – yet they do have 10 writers covering each and every Cowboys event - my exaggeration is only slight. (As a baseball only fan from birth – I find that unacceptable and disgusting which is why I no longer subscribe to or read online the Dallas Morning News ) This isn’t Boston, New York, Chicago or St. Louis: never has been a baseball town, never will be. Most casual sports fans in this area watch the Rangers while they wait for football season to start. They aren’t going to cheer for a team that has won 1 playoff game in their entire history – when their other team has won 5 championships. I can’t blame them for not being too enthusiastic about what happened at the Ballpark this past week.

While fan support can buoy team’s spirits – it doesn’t mean as much as you seem to think – otherwise the Cubs would have won at least 4 or 5 World Series by now. Just because I didn’t clap when a veteran hitter couldn’t bring in a runner from third with less than 2 outs against a 23 year old pitcher is a poor excuse for calling out me and the other folks who pay their hard earned money to watch a baseball game. We don’t pitch, we don’t hit, we don’t make out the lineup card and we don’t make pitching changes.

Finally - the bottom line: The Rangers choked, straight forward and simple.

Doc Ellis once said that September was the time when the men stood up and the boys sat down – and our boys sat down. The pitching staff stumbled big time and the offense (which has been inconsistent all year long) disappeared. I for one don’t believe that any amount of cheering from the stands changes any of that.

If you are disappointed and frustrated because of the way the team has played – point the finger in the direction of the clubhouse – don’t blame that on the fans -- Marla Hooch


Jamey said...

Wow. Did I really call the fans out?

EMC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMC said...

I think the "malaise" was fueled by the losing streak on the field - I don't think the fans in the stands had anything to do with the poor performance on the field.

I believe that if you spend your hard earned money on a ticket for a sporting event - if you want to sit on your hands there is nothing wrong with that. If the Rangers play poorly tonight against the Angels - I'll be sitting in the stands - and I'll be sitting on my hands expressing my disappointment and frustration with this team.

-- Marla

mrs. schmenge said...

You go girl.

chrisc said...

Yep--I agree with you cuz--AND--lots of loyal fans are making choices because of the economy. With income levels well below the Major League minimum, a trip to the ballpark is a big financial deal.