Twins Fans and Negative Criticism

July 8, 2010
By

[Note: This blog takes a break from the usual posts on this site.  I'm a lifelong Twins fan and I'll admit that I have a fatalistic/pessimistic view on the Twins while also expecting big things from a team with a record payroll.  Criticism is born when expectations are not met.]

There’s been quite a bit of talk lately regarding Twins fans on Twitter and how they’ve become increasingly more negative this year. When I first thought about it I laughed it off, who the hell hasn’t ranted about their favorite team? The more I thought about it the more absurd I thought it was until I started paying attention more to tweets and noticed that there was in fact some downright negative things being said about the team and players. Did I care? Hell no, I love bashing people cause that’s how I am with friends and it’s always with good intentions anyways. Then I stumbled upon a blog that did what all good blogs should do, it made me think. A very light summary of the blog boils down to Twins fans becoming too negative, especially with personal attacks and we shouldn’t take things so seriously considering it’s only a game and the players are human too. I tip my hat to the person who wrote that blog because they brought up fair and valid points about certain Twins fans and their comments. I started thinking about that blog more and more and decided to write what you’re reading (thanks btw). I didn’t want to write a rebuttal or anything but rather my thoughts on the idea of fans and negativity.

These are some typical anti-negative comments I see on Twitter and I provide my excuse for using them sometimes.  There are other times I completely agree with them but just like it’s too easy to say “this team sucks” sometimes it’s too easy to say “it’s just a game”.

-It’s just a game, it has no impact on your life.

Why watch a game if you can’t be passionate about it? Why pay a penny towards memorabilia if it’s only a game? Why pay outragous prices for tickets and concessions at the game? It’s only a game but we’re not talking boardgames here. This team wouldn’t be here without fans, excuse me while I rip the team that ripped me off at the concession stand.

-It’s one game in a long season don’t worry (typical response after Twins loss)

You’re right it’s just a game. It’s just one game out of 162 in a year, why the commotion over one game? Ask the Twins what ONE game would have done for them the last 2 years. We win just one more game in the regular season, we don’t have to play game 163. There’s also homefield implications.

-Players have feelings too just like us (response pertains to non-personal criticism).

Yes they do, but they get paid to meet expectations just like we do at our jobs. What happens when you don’t meet expectations? You’re subject for review and that is all we’re doing. I have no issues with ripping underachieving millionaires, sorry. If you think some of the criticism is bad on Twitter, can you imagine if it was around when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier?

-This fat f#@#@# player is a fat ass and is terrible!

While he may in fact be fat, his weight probably is not the reason he is terrible (usually). I don’t really have a problem with this statement unless it’s said repeatedly. If you say it once you’re probably just in the heat of the moment while repeatedly saying it suggests much deeper intentions aimed at verbally insulting someone only for the sake of sticking out. I also think calling someone a fat ass is no different than joking about a players penchant for loving the buffet or how people make fun of C.C. Sabathia or Prince Fielder. It may not sound as verbally aggressive as the aforementioned statement but essentially boils down to he same issue, you’re using the players weight as a way to insult the player. In the end will the player ever here this and start crying? No but it’s probably more annoying to fellow fans than anything.

-Gardy sucks he should be fired

This one always makes me laugh.  When this is uttered you have fans who agree with the statement and fans who disagree with the statement.  The ones who agree always throw out verbal slams and no real evidence he should be fired.  The fans who love Gardy sound like that one Youtube video “Leave Britney Alone” only it should be “JUst leave Gardy Alone”.  I’m always open for conversation when it comes to firing managers or cutting players but the generic “he sucks” answers get a little annoying.

Sports and negativity have probably coexisted since the beginning of the sport. I don’t think the Twins fan base is becoming increasingly negative, I just think they have a much louder voice now with blogs and social networking sites like Twitter.  This season also is different from seasons past because of the increased payroll, added talent, and added expectations so I’m not surprised fans are asking for more.  I’m often confused why people are complaining about a fans blog or tweets being too negative and it’s ruining the experience of watching a game. No one is making you read these negative things so why then is it the negative fans fault when you can stop reading anytime (like you probably have wanted to do while reading this post)? Here’s what I mean…

We’ve all been to a game when you sit next to a great fan and we’ve all had games where we sat down next to the loud mouth heckler who won’t shut up. Twitter is no different. When you go to the ballpark, the odds of sitting next to a fan you don’t care for are rather small when you think about it. If 50,000 people are attending the game, you probably will only interact with fans in the seats around you which is a small percentage of the 50,000 so the odds of sitting next to a fan that annoys you is rather small. The odds of following someone on Twitter that annoys you are much higher because now your seat is essentially sitting next to all the other seats in the fan base. This may sound disheartening but consider if you were at the game and wanted to be rid of an obnoxious heckler. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could click a button and not have to hear the filth and negativity coming from his mouth? On Twitter you can.

While you may not agree with some of the takes I just mentioned that’s just fine. What it boils down to is difference opinion. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and that’s why there are different types of fans. There are positive fans and negative fans, good fans and annoying fans, fat ass fans and skinny bastard fans. We all are cheering for the same thing, a Twins win but we do it in our own way. It’s no different than Republicans and Democrats bickering over how to run the country. While both sides seemingly want to improve the quality of the country, they have different views on how to do so. The negative fan wants the team to succeed as much as the positive fan but their way of expressing it differs. No fan is better than the other in the grand scheme of things because both are cheering for the team to succeed. There’s always going to be fans you don’t agree with and you find annoying. Unlike being at the game where you’re stuck sitting next to this fan, you can always just click “unfollow” or quit reading the blogs that you find annoying.  It’s not like you are forced to read them at gunpoint.

It may be annoying to some but negative criticism is part of being a fan and there’s nothing wrong with it when done in a tasteful manner with a rational argument.  Sometimes we need to realize that it’s just a game and the players are human while also understanding some people see it as more than that, it’s that whole different opinions thing.

Let’s hope the Twins provide reason for optimism in the second half or we all may become too negative.

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10 Responses to Twins Fans and Negative Criticism

  1. KPForever on July 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Unless you’re a White Sox fan.

  2. shannon on July 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    This site is a satire and humor site, pure and simple. So the negativity isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. The line is drawn when it becomes attacks on a player’s character and when the fans violate the simple etiquette rule of not booing their teams’ players. These guys are only human, and it is just a game. But sometimes it does mentally wear down a player. And when expectations aren’t met, they get sent packing to the minor leagues.

    When it’s clear that the remarks are sarcastic and aren’t to be taken seriously, it’s one thing. It’s the truly vicious attacks and unwarranted heckling that gets on my nerves.

  3. brady on July 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I just left a comment very similar to this, albeit, with more vulgarity on the Target Field Facebook page. It’s like, 3 paragraphs long.

  4. BWC on July 9, 2010 at 1:25 am

    No need to hold back here. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Target Field FB page (jk). Thanks for stopping by, feel free to post full vulgarity at any time (within reason) because I always say it’s not what you’re saying it’s how you say it.

  5. Maija on July 9, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I think the negativity that has been complained of comes from the fact that, unlike in past years, a lot of Twins fans this year really EXPECT the team to go all the way. If the Twins do anything less than win the World Series, a lot of fans are going to deem the season to be a failure. That is a really depressing way to watch baseball.

    I don’t watch the Twins JUST to see them win. I watch them because I love watching baseball and all the things around it. Of course I want the Twins to win, but having the Twins lose is still preferable to not having or watching a baseball team at all. I think that is where the “It’s just a game” responses come from–it doesn’t really matter. I think being a fan is much more enjoyable when the main reason for being one is not just to see a team win. I think that’s what all this is trying to get at.

  6. BWC on July 10, 2010 at 4:00 am

    @Maija
    You bring up a good point that I meant implicitly in the post. I love watching baseball period. That being said when you have a team you’re rooting for it makes it even more intriguing to watch. I could watch the Twins play day after day even if they sucked, which pretty much equates to what I did the majority of the 90′s. Again let me emphasize that I just don’t watch them just to see them win, I watch them hoping they do well but the end result of fan perspectives whether they are negative or positive, both want the team to succeed. Thanks for pointing this out, I should have been more specific in the post.

  7. BWC on July 10, 2010 at 4:04 am

    @shannon
    Can’t disagree with you. I think it really boils down to perspective of where the blog is meant to be going. Most of the time criticism from fans doesn’t tell the player anything they don’t know already. They know why you’re booing for the same reason the player goes up to the plate tense and looking to break out of the slump. It’s the personal attacks that get to players more I think.

  8. shannon on July 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Booing a guy on the opposing team is one thing; booing a guy on your team is another beast entirely. It’s disrespectful to the team and the fans in general. I feel that if you must make your disgust in a particular player known, either discuss it quietly with someone who shares the sentiment, or bitch about it on Twitter or another blog.

    There’s a certain Twins relief pitcher who many fans saw as a sign that the team didn’t want to win every time he took the mound. What many don’t seem to realize is that he’s been very, very good for the past 6 weeks. But the nickname these fans gave him stuck and they use it every time he comes into the game, even when he’s on his A-game. I’ve never heard him get booed at Target Field in the radio broadcasts I’ve heard or the games I’ve been to this season so far.

  9. Geo on July 19, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Well said.

  10. Geo on July 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve always laughed at the “fire Gardy” and “Punto sucks” comments I’ve seen. There is a reason Gardy has his job, and a reason I have mine. To quote what’s his name… “Playoffs?” “You think you know, but you don’t know.” Yes, as educated fans of the game, we know a bit about baseball… but do we know the ins and outs of what is going on in the “office”?

    I have but one expectation of my Minnesota Twins – make me want to watch baseball in late September… not that I would not watch them… but make the games mean something… and for the past 5 years or so, they have.

    Am I the best at my job? Nope. Do I try? Yes. Can I hit a curveball? Nope…

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