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The LA Times ranks baseball’s best and worst fanbases

Aug 14, 2011, 9:33 AM EDT

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You can type “MLB fanbase rankings” into a Google search and find a couple thousand articles (or slideshows) on the topic. It’s not a unique theme, and it’s a venture often clouded in author’s bias. But the lists tend to be pretty interesting anyway.

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times penned a piece Saturday dividing 20 of baseball’s 30 fanbases into two categories: “Standing O” and “Raspberries.” The 10 unlisted cities apparently fell somewhere in between those two distinctions.

The usual suspects found their way into the “Standing O” portion: Boston, St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago (Cubs), Detroit, etc. And you can probably guess most of the cities populating the “Raspberries” section, like Tampa Bay, Florida, Oakland and Arizona.

Baxter also provides quick one- and two-sentence reviews of each fan group. Check it out. Discuss.

  1. TestSubjekt - Aug 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Regarding the comment he gave for the Blue Jays:

    5. Toronto (23,007) The Blue Jays drew more than 4 million to their stadium when they were winning in the 1990s. Now they’re competitive again — and rank 24th in attendance.

    a .500 record isn’t really competitive in the AL East. The team has a long way to go before they can actually COMPETE with the Yankees and Red Sox night in and night out. That said, the core of the team is getting better with new additions like Lawrie and Rasmus added to the lineup.

    • Ari Collins - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Couldn’t agree more. If the Blue Jays are ever really in contention (and I think that’s certainly possible), that will be a truer test of attendance than having a .500 record.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    One of these lists pops up at least once a month and are completely opinion based. You want to know who has the best fans in a given year? Simple. Look at the stadium attendance figures. There you will see Boston and Philadelphia, who sell out every game.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      According to wikipedia, here are the following stadium’s seating capacity:

      Yankee Stadium: 52,325
      Turner Field: 50,097
      Citizen’s Bank Park: 43,647
      Turner Field: 43,545*
      Fenway Park: 37,493

      [* attendance in 95-08]

      Basing merely on attendance, with such widely ranging capacity numbers, is about as accurate as taking a straw poll of 10 people to rank fan bases. Also, it’s far easier to sell out a 37,000 seat stadium than a 52,000.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

        It has nothing to do with seating capacity. I guarantee you if the parks in either Boston or Philly had a seating capacity of 52,000, they would still sell out every game. There are waiting lists to get into both ballparks.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM

        I can’t speak for Philly, but I doubt it in Boston. It’s just not a large enough city, doesn’t have the parking nor public transit available to handle a stadium that large.

        Also 15,000 people isn’t a small chunk of change. It’d be almost 50% increase in capacity for Boston.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        Would they? I have no problem getting Phillies tickets on the secondary market whenever I want to go. My guess is they gauged the market more or less perfectly when they built the stadium.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM


        You can find baseball tickets for any team on the secondary market such as stub hub. There are always people, no matter what city, that buy tickets and resell them for profit. This doesn’t mean that the demand is not there.

      • reuben4boston - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        Saying Boston isn’t a big city is just false. In fact, the area of greater Boston is the tenth largest metropolitan area in the united states. It has 4.5 million people, more than enough to fill 15k more people. The red sox have always been a hard find, because of the outrageous demand for tickets that exists in few places elsewhere.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        In fact, the area of greater Boston is the tenth largest metropolitan area in the united states. It has 4.5 million people, more than enough to fill 15k more people

        I assume you are quoting directly from wikipedia as those two comments can be directly pulled from there. If so, the MSA/CSA areas are a joke as they incorporate all of RI, half of MA to Worcester, and probably 40% of NH. See link here:

        That still doesn’t address my comments that traffic would be a nightmare with 15,000 more people in the city (Pop 600K) since parking is abysmal and public transportation is lacking.

      • itsabergthing - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        I think a look at the population density of a given city compared to the average home attendance of each team would give a better indication of what the fan bases of each team are really like. Looking at it that way (which does have it’s flaws because of seating capacity issues, but I think all views of rapid fan bases have their flaws and are more a matter of opinion than anything else) in a way evens the playing field between the largest cities in the country to the smallest. Hell just compare the roughly 18.9 million (#1 in the US and near tops on the globe) people living in New York metro area, Yankee Stadiums capacity and average attendance to the roughly 1.75 million (22nd in the US) people living in the Pittsburgh metro area, PNC park and their average attendance. I think looking at it that way will give a better idea of the fan bases of smaller market teams, rather than just putting the large market teams in the top 10, I mean the Dodgers are in the top 10, and nobody in LA ever shows up on time for a game or makes it through a whole 9-innings…

    • dnc6 - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Selling out to see a team that was all but a lock for the playoffs from opening day is not the sign of a great fans. Look at the Indians. They sold out almost 6 years straight because they dominated that division in the late 90s. Now, even though they are competing for the division, they are ecstatic to get 30k some nights. The sign of a strong fanbase is one that still supports the team in the tough years.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        Yeah, like Boston and Philly, 2 great sports cities.

      • dnc6 - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        Those two have the reputation, but until the Phillies made the playoffs in 2007 they have had quite a few years where no one showed up.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM


        That’s simply not true. Philly was averaging over 35,000 since CBP opened. Prior to the new stadium, they were averaging over 28,000.

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Yeah, what dnc6 said. Phillies fans have about 3-4 years of great attendance now, and an incredibly horrendous record for the 100+ years before that. They seem to be the absolute definition of fair-weather fans.

        By the way, I love that Phillies fans these days love to claim they are one of the great fanbases in the country, more passionate than any other (save one or two, perhaps), but when it comes to fan misbehavior, they claim they are exactly no better nor worse than any other… it’s just the bad ol’ media picking on them.

        A rational person might recognize that it might be likely that the two things go together: a more passionate fanbase might be more likely to fill the park… AND more likely to have their passions occasionally get the better of them.

        But, hey, it’s Sunday, and even Reason recognizes a sabbath and takes a day off. So though I’ve never been to CBP, I won’t let that stand in the way of taking the anti-Philly fan side: you have 100+ years of factually damning evidence of being the most shallow, band-wagon jumping fans ever who do not hesitate to abandon the team in down years, BUT can take pride in an unmatched public record for rudeness and hooliganism.

        Happy Sunday.

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        In the 8 years before CBP opened, the Phillies ranked in the bottom half of NL attendance EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR! And were dead last in one of those years! This despite being the 5th largest city in the country. Go back further, and the record is similarly awful. Even the first year bump of the new CBP fell off nearly 20% in year 2, and most likely would have continued that downward spiral but for a suddenly winning team. So, congrats, Philly, you’ll come to the ballpark to see a championship team. So unique that way, you Phillies fans.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM


        You are a loser. You wish you were a Phillies fan, so I understand your admiration. Philadelphia, fair weathered fans? You must be joking. Rudeness? Is that the best you have, scum bucket? Come on and debate me, piece of sh*t. None of this Happy Sunday crap.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        “And were dead last in one of those years!”

        Bullshit! The Phillies have never over the last 20 years ever been last in attendance. Your credibility is dwindling with every post that you make.

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        Now, now, bicepts, watch the personal attacks. Have you learned nothing. May the lord be with you (The lord of baseball, that is… I think you know him as Joe Carter.)

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        The year… 1997… Philadelphia ranked 14th (out of how many NL teams?… that’s right, 14!). Uh, that makes them DEAD LAST. I’m citing Baseball Reference. Who’s losing credibility now?

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        You pulled up NL stats, not all of baseball in attendance.

        Don’t tell me to curb personal attacks. You just trashed my city and the Philly’s fans, a-hole. You set yourself up for open season.

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        Learn to read, bicepts. From my original post:
        “In the 8 years before CBP opened, the Phillies ranked in the bottom half of NL attendance EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR! And were dead last in one of those years!”
        I was absolutely, totally, completely crystal clear to anyone (other than one Phillies fan, apparently) that I was speaking about the NL, the NATIONAL LEAGUE!
        If it’s “open season,” seems strange that you’d show up completely unarmed.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        I read what you said, genius. Just don’t trash my city nor fanbase. We have more passion in our one pinky than you have in your whole body.

      • dprat - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        Alright, enough fun for a Sunday. Just couldn’t resist shooting a couple fish in a barrel.

        BTW, I like the new biceps a lot better – and respect the fact that (despite the “POS” and “scumbag” you threw out there today), you didn’t completely melt down like the old bicepts would have. Good on ya.’

    • paperlions - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      The size of the local population as well as the local business structure (white vs blue collar) are huge factors in attendance….as is seating capacity. As Biceps pointed out, if some teams could seat another 10,000 fans, they would still sell out, so those limits “hurt” the attendance figures of some teams. Similarly, some populations are more than 10 times greater than others, skewing the perception of the dedication/interest of the locals. It would be more accurate to couch attendance figures as a proportion of population of each metro area with some correction for sellouts (which place an artificial cap on attendance) than to simply look at numbers.

      Still….what, exactly is the point of such exercises? They seem to have none besides filling space in papers/web sites.

  3. Old Gator - Aug 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    I find it amusing that he writes “this one’s on management” of the Beloved A’s and blames the fans alone in Tampax and Macondo. The prior management of the Razed nickel-and-dimed the franchise until no one cared, and they play in the ugliest stadium in baseball – imagine the Oakland Coliseum with a gloomy dome over it. And to let the management of the Feesh off the hook? Ohboy, gimme a break here. Would you go on hanging around with someone who did nothing but insult you day after day?

    • Ari Collins - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      And TB’s stadium is in a terrible location, too. Far away from the population center.

  4. APBA Guy - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Well, as Halladaysbiceps says above, there are one of these opinion based lists out each month. They are designed to spur conversation, like Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Guitarists”. The only redeeming feature about this one is that the author correctly blames management for the A’s moribund attendance.

    Folks, it costs $ 175 for two to see today’s A’s in seats that 10 years ago cost $ 80. Inflation, as we all know, is ever present. It has not been 100+% over the last 10 years, more like 30% compounded. The A’s payroll has not doubled ($ 37M in 2001, $ 65M 2011, about a 30% increase over inflation). Nor are today’s A’s twice as good as the 2001 A’s, who were 102-60, with Jason Giambi at an astonishing 10.4 WAR.

    It is ALL on management. While not as bad as McCourt, the A’s ownership is almost an exact duplicate of Baltimore’s in outlook, approach, and results.

  5. emoser - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    “8. Dodgers (36,949) The fans are loyal and passionate. That they’ve stayed home this season only underscores their feelings for the franchise.”

    Dodgers ranked 8th best? There goes any credibility this article may have had. I have no personal animus against the Dodgers, but it’s well known that many of their fans just don’t care. Show up late and leave early… and that’s for the playoffs games.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Speaking of shooting credibility, it really says a lot when the crux of your argument against the notion of the LA fan being passionate is the very lame, quite outdated, and totally overblown notion that LA fans “show up in the 3rd and leave by the 7th.”

    • Jeff M. - Aug 14, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      “. . .but it’s well known that many of their fans just don’t care. Show up late and leave early. . .”

      Is it, now? That’s pretty vague, sir. What exactly are you basing this on?

  6. Lukehart80 - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    These kind of lists are always moronic. Just because this one was printed in the LA Times doesn’t make it any different.

  7. spudchukar - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Including Seattle in the Raspberry column is a bit much. This is a city that drew 4 mil fans. As soon as they are competitive the fan base will return.

  8. thephilsabide - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    The NL has 16 teams, AL 14. So if they were 14th, they weren’t last.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 14, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      In 1997 they only had fourteen teams.

  9. thephilsabide - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Oh wait, then the Brewers were AL, weren’t they?

  10. nomoreseasontix - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    I’ve gone to A’s games for over 40 years and I guarantee that if they had a decent ownership that wasn’t purposely degrading the product in order to kill attendance they would draw over 2 million per year.
    Since the Haas family sold, they have been saddled with owners who have been persuing an agenda geared toward moving the team rather than putting a good team on the field.

    • nomoreseasontix - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:03 PM

      And the Raiders’ return to Oakland in 1995 and simultaneous stadium remodel absolutely destroyed the place for baseball.
      Has to be nearly the worst venue in MLB now.

  11. derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    With the Yanks and Phillies in the top 5 youve gotta think the writer never considered fan conduct. The Yankees fans played a hand in Cliff Lee spurning the organization (to go to the lesser of 2 evils I guess)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

      If you honestly believe that than I have a few bridges in Manhattan I’d like to sell you. Can do a package deal, real cheap…

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        hahaha why wouldnt I believe it? Yanks fans were complete a-holes to Lees family in the stands during the WS and if you think that didnt factor into his decision youre just ignorant

  12. royalsfaninfargo - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    How can you have a list that ranks fanbases and not include all the teams? That is lazy and shows this guy isnt really a baseball fan.

  13. ddjesus - Aug 15, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    I love how defensive and obnoxious biceps gets when actual numbers are thrown in his face to show what a fair weather fanbase Philly has…

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