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Last week I was engaged in a Twitter “debate” with a self-proclaimed fan about the actual quality of my beloved team versus the quality perceived by most Oakland Athletics fans. The final argument used against me was simply, “you’re a homer,” to which I replied that supporting a team does not automatically make you a homer. Urban dictionary defines a “homer” as a fan that blindly supports their team and makes outrageous claims without taking any stats to the contrary into consideration.
Am I a die-hard A’s fan? Yes. Since I was a kid going to games and seeing the Bash Brothers and Rickey and Eck, I have bled green and gold. Did I think for a second we’d go to the world series during those years when we were scraping by with 65 or 70 wins? Absolutely not. No matter how badly I wanted them to be great, there are seasons that it’s just not going to happen and I’m the first to acknowledge that.
“Pretty confident if how many times you were wrong were a disease it would be called an epidemic” – Josh Donaldson
The argument this “fan” was making was that the A’s actually suck despite back to back division titles, the best record in the American league, 12 consecutive winning months, the best record in all of baseball since 2012, four players in the top 10 for all star votes, a staggering run differential, the most runs in the AL, the most RBI’s in the AL, and the second most homers in the AL. Three of the top 10 RBI producers in the AL are on the Athletics and Josh Donaldson has crossed the plate more than anyone in the league. Our pitching staff has the best ERA and lowest opponent average in all of baseball. To say that I’m a “homer” with stats like that is ridiculous.
Is the team perfect? Absolutely not. Early struggles with the bullpen have contributed to nine blown saves and low production at the bottom of the lineup, from two of our best defensive players, leaves us with some holes during rallies but all of that aside, the A’s are killing it this year. Losing two of their starters has hardly affected the team and despite struggles from certain players, there’s not a single player that is not a threat for the long ball in the lineup. Even Josh Reddick (who the “fan” I was arguing with hates with a burning passion), is tied with Jed Lowrie for RBI’s this year and nobody is arguing for Lowrie to go back to AAA.
We need to come up with a name for fans that have no interest in their team winning. Those fans that put so much time complaining about the minor problems with a good team while ignoring the many strengths of the team. The guy at the bar that yells “automatic out” when a struggling hitter steps up to the plate or anticipates a sweep against their team even when they’re playing inferior ball clubs. If I’m a homer for supporting a strong contender, I’m going to call you a tailgater for bashing a winning team you, supposedly, love. Why a tailgater? Because the guy I was arguing with has clearly inhaled some exhaust fumes and is delusional. While I’m driving to the post season, this guy will be sitting behind complaining about the crowds.
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If you’ve got a better name, I’d love to hear it. Maybe there already is a name for this type of fan and I just don’t know it. It’s worth noting that this “fan” predicted that the A’s would drop out of first place during the Angels series and never go back. After the sweep, Josh Donaldson himself told our tailgater, after he admitted to Josh he was wrong about the A’s losing three to the Angels, “Pretty confident if how many times you were wrong were a disease it would be called an epidemic.”
I think that says it all.