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Is fan loyalty to a poorly-performing team a bad thing?

Aug 31, 2011, 9:42 AM EDT

Giants fans Believe

I’m not quite sure where Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle is going here.  He starts off strong with an amusing compare and contrast between a softball home-run-hitting exhibition which took place before last night’s Cubs-Giants game and the feckless Giants’ bats.

But then he got into some commentary about Giants fans and their seeming obliviousness to the bad baseball with which they have recently been presented and which is sinking the Giants’ playoff chances like a stone:

On any given night, your favorite Giant goes 0-for-4 against a team long dismissed from relevance. And every night, without fail, the park is filled with enthusiastic patrons, still wrapped in the comfort of last year’s world championship and getting only mildly upset with the proceedings.

I think Jenkins is OK with the show of loyalty — he favorably compares Giants fans to “Boston or Philadelphia, where the folks would be hurling insults, obscenities and Double-A batteries,” but there seems to be a bit of  an exasperated “wake up you idiots!” tone to this.

I guess it just goes back to the never-resolvable argument about whether “good fans” continue to come out and cheer for a team going sideways or, rather, if they make the team pay for its incompetence at the turnstile.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    You throw batteries one time…

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      Just for the record, battery throwing was never done in Boston or Philly. That’s a New York thing. Just ask Darryl Strawberry.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM

        I think you might be forgetting JD Drew in 1999.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        You may be right about JD Drew. The Philly fans getting upset with him always perplexing to me. He told the Phillies not to draft him because they would not pay him the kind of money he wanted (they were cheap at the time), and the Phillies drafted him anyway. He sits out a year and is drafted again by the Cards. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to play here. He just wanted to be payed. And some stupid fans that never saw or wanted to see this took it out on him. Christ, they are still booing Drew to this day. Dumb.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

        Yeah, and they threw them because they didn’t like J.D. Drew. As dumb as that was, it wasn’t because they were angry with THEIR TEAM, as this lazy idiot writer makes it sound when he says that we would be hurtling insults and throwing batteries if our team had won the World Series and sucked as bad as the Giants sucked the next year. Maybe if this lazy idiot did any type of fact-checking or took his head out of his ass, he would know what the f**k he was talking about before he wrote something so stupid in a city newspaper like the SF Chronicle.

    • yankeesfanlen - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM

      REAL fans throw D-cells, not those tiny AA things.

      • atworkident - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

        I thought real fans in the Bay Area just shoot each other.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:10 AM


  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    It’s pretty obvious to me. He’s asking the Giants’ fans where their anger is with a team that can’t hit themselves out of a paperbag. I haven’t seen any of them on this or any other board/site ripping their team at all, especially now that they are 6 games back and losing that division at a free-fall rate. Just a month ago, they were here on this site thumping out their chests with how good their team is. Where are they now? Why aren’t they here trashing the garbage they are watching every night?

    • granted42 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      Some of us Giant fans are here, and have made sarcastic comments regarding their weak AA hitting on a few occasions. I think you were a bit too kind to the Giants lineup, as the reality of the situation is far more pitiful than hitting their way out of a paperbag. They can’t hit their way out of an imaginary wet paper bag. I know it’s upsetting for you Philly fans, because you were so looking forward to sweeping the Giants in the NLDS. Alas, you will have to settle for doing so to the DBacks.

    • firedude7160 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      The only think I could add would have to be this: I’m really glad that Hunter Pence was so overrated that the Phillies were tricked into trading for him, and not Beltran

    • anonmonster - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      Most honest Giants fans are pretty angry about it, they just may not be here/as vocal. You could certainly hear that anger during last night’s game, notably after Beltran stranded runners for the 2nd (3rd?) time.

  3. Chipmaker - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Batteries. I have never understood the “throw batteries” concept. Throw stuff, sure, that’s just fans being violent, thoughtless nitwits, a human tradition that dates back thousands of years. But why batteries? They are not a common pocket item, never have been. I suppose back in the days of transistor radios and even up to the Walkman, you could quickly pop them out for a disapproving heave. But still, today? Really? I just don’t get it.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM

      Yeah, you’d think the USB thumb drive as ubiquitous as it is and as cheap as it has become would be seen more.

    • kopy - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      Easy to buy them in nice packages and sneak them in individually I suppose. What else would you bring to the game with the intention of throwing?

      Mexicans throw bags of urine at USA soccer players, so it could be worse.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

        And fans too. I was going to go down to The Stadium Azteca for the WC Qualifying match in 2009, but fortunately I didn’t. I had a couple friends who made the trip and they got bags of piss and feces thrown at them and had to be escorted in and out by armed guards.

      • atworkident - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        I wonder how they sneak those into the stadium. Do you have multiple bags ready for when the players pass or do take the empty bag and you pass the bag down the row until its full. Last man or woman to fill it ties it off and chucks it onto the field?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        I think it is encouraged actually. Anything to make the situation more hostile is pretty commonplace down there. I mean, they schedule the game in the height of Mexican summer in the middle of the afternoon when the smog is the worst.

  4. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    I don’t and wouldn’t blame Giants fans for still going to the games. The stadium is ridiculously awesome and beautiful. Hell, if I lived in that area I would go to the games even if they were 45-90.

  5. phillyfrank - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    If you read the comments section at, you’ll see many of the Giants fans slamming the team and management. They’ve gone from thumping their chests to figuratively eating their young. Must be disheartening for the players.

  6. FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    Leave the FANS alone!!!

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    “No, it’s not Boston or Philadelphia, where the folks would be hurling insults, obscenities and Double-A batteries.

    Just another stupid, ignorant, a-hole national writer. I wish I hadn’t given him the pleasure of a click-through.

  8. Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Seriously, I’m getting tired of all the “fan bashing” articles written by hack artist “journalists”. Go find real news.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      J5, the guy not only just trotted out the old standard lazy crap that every other national idiot does…he did it in the wrong context. He bashes Phillies fans for throwing batteries in the context of his team, the Giants, playing poorly and not getting batteries thrown at them. As if Phillies fans threw batteries at their team because they were playing poorly. The idiots who threw the batteries did so because they didn’t like J.D. Drew…and they threw them at him, not the Phillies.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        It’s not just this. I think every single journalist that covers sports has written fan bashing articles once or more. Slow news day? Lack of clicks? “I got it, let’s bash fans and kill 2 birds with one stone.” This is why I refuse to click on this article. I believe that reinforcement techniques actually do work, and right now I’m going to employ the technique known as “extinction” and I’ll simply ignore articles that bash fans.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        Also, Phillies fans are smart enough to boo Jayson Werth for, uh … something.

  9. mplsjoe - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Wow. One year away from a World Series title and already we’re calling on the fans to boycott or boo or do something other than show up and be content with having won the WS last year? I guess winning really does make some people unhappy.

    Giants’ fans get about 5 years of basking in the glow of the WS – assuming the team stays basically competitive – before they have to worry about this crap.

  10. - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Royals fan here: I wrote this back in June:

    A fan of a team not even a year removed from a title? STFU

    • - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      Guess I should read the rest of the context. I’m really into the Royals. That being said. I’ve been to one game in two years.

      Win a little more, I might show up more.

    • bsputnik - Sep 1, 2011 at 4:12 AM

      As a Pirates fan, I agree.

  11. xmatt0926x - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    That writer must have not seen last night’s game against the cubs. The SF fans were booing every hitter near the end of the game. Even the cubs broadcaster made a comment to the effect of “how soon they forget” when Aubrey Huff was booed loudly after making an out. Those mean Giants fans!!!

  12. dlevalley - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    I think SF fans just have just given the team a bit more of a leash because of last year. By all reports, there were some moderate to heavy booing of a few players during last night’s suck-fest.

  13. Chris K - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Look to the Toronto Maple Leafs fans of the NHL. They have a long history of Marlins-type player retention strategies…except haven’t won a championship in decades, and sell out every game. The team makes ridiculous money, and hasn’t won since the 60s. Only recently was a salary cap enacted that would’ve stopped them from flat-out buying a Stanley Cup.

    After that long, I consider myself a good fan by not going to games. Why field a winning team, when you sell out with a losing team?

  14. Ben - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    I dunno how forgiving Giants fans have been. Ticket prices on stubhub have plummuted, and when I was at the game the other day the seats were emptying out how the middle of the 6th.

  15. Old Gator - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I am all for continuing to practice blind, witless loyalty. The reflexes for keeping enthusiasm alive when presented with an inferior product on the field wither all too easily once a rancid sense of entitlement sets in. Pretty soon, you want excellence in everything. Blind, witless loyalty is important. Try to imagine a Republican National Convention without it.

    You can’t, can you?

    • raysfan1 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      Republicans don’t have a monpoly on that–the Democratic National Convention demonstrates it equally. ‘Course I’m already on record as worried about the crazies taking over my party. Bachman gets nominated & I must go Independant.

  16. paperlions - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    I don’t believe Philly fans would ever throw AA batteries (those are just battery prospects). A true Philly fan would restrict his battery throwing to AS batteries, with solid MLB regular batteries being acceptable in a pinch.

  17. macjacmccoy - Sep 1, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    All I know is that “The Franchise” commercial where Brain Wilson says “Repeat, Book it” is music to my ears.

  18. nyyankeedave - Sep 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    So, they’re not bandwagon fans, good for them. And to prove it, they STILL show up every night, especially with the variety of things to do in the SF Bay Area, a beautiful place. In Philly, they show up too. But, in their case, going to a Phillies game is the ONLY thing to do there. Eh, if you don’t count getting shanked by violent flash mobs.

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