In a recent poll by Quinnipiac University, which resides just north of Hogwarts in an imaginary land, the New York Yankees were voted to be the favorite baseball team of 20 percent of fans in the state of Florida.
At first reaction, you want to push Florida off into the Atlantic Ocean, but then you remember the pretty beaches and the fact that Hooters started here. Your second reaction is likely to think, “Florida fans suck anyway, ‘cuz they can’t even support the winning Tampa Bay Rays or the Miami Marlins, who have that new bazillion-dollar Marlins Park.”
Florida sports fans do suck
This poll proves the point I’ve been making all along. Florida sports fans DO suck. But the problem is – people that move to Florida from New York, Michigan, New England and Chicago don’t consider themselves Florida sports fans. But they are. They live in Florida and they like sports, hence, they are Florida sports fans. They just aren’t fans of Florida sports.
As a matter of fact, these same people (northerners now residing in Florida) are the very people that complain about how bad Florida sports fans are, since they don’t fill the stadium. Do you see the paradox here? They live in Florida, love sports, but complain about the Florida sports fans that don’t support the local team? It’s like Dave Chappelle playing a blind black man that leads White Supremacists.
I’m not referring to the people that have just moved to Florida. You get a five-year window to switch allegiances, that’s reasonable enough. Heck, I could even be talked into letting you root for your old team until the final player that was there when you were there leaves. I recently wrote a piece that compared Central Florida vs. South Florida, and there’s quite a difference.
But the biggest transgressors that I’m talking about have lived here for much longer than five years. Heck, I have friends that have lived here for 20-plus years, since high school, and they still root for the Red Sox. Not only are they Red Sox fans, but they don’t even support the local teams a little bit, and yet they pile on, when others criticize the area’s sports fans.
It’s wrong. Plain and simple.
Many make the argument that Florida sports fans suck because they are fair-weathered fans that only show up for the playoffs. That’s true, but really, it’s only the occasional sports fan that’s filling up those stadiums for the playoffs. The TRUE sports fans are busy rooting for their own teams (Braves, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees) on TV all season, and not going to the local ballpark.
Inheriting Sports Allegiances Can Be Dumb
I get that you grew up a Red Sox fan, and your dad’s dad’s dad was a Red Sox fan, having all the merchandise and Personalized Koozies.
You can still have some allegiance to them, but they should be your secondary team, that’s all. There’s no reasonable argument you can make to explain why you SHOULDN’T support your local professional ballclub (unless the Marlins were a bitter rival, but even Mets fans can’t claim that).
Your dad was probably a big fan of Schlitz beer too. He also probably loved to wear wife-beaters and grease his hair back. But you didn’t inherit that stupidity, so why do you feel obliged to root for his teams? If he lived in Florida as a kid, and they had a baseball club, he’d root for them, and so would you. Right? That’s how it should be for you and your kid.
And people always ask me, “Well, what if you moved to Boston, you would still support your old teams!?!” Yeah, that’s true, but that’s because the Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics/Bruins don’t NEED my support. They have generations upon generations of fans that have lived in Boston since Plymouth rock was just a pebble (I don’t know American History very well).
The Marlins and Rays have only been around since the ‘90s, which means they don’t even have fans that were born and raised in the area that can legally buy a beer. And most of those kids have parents that were fans of other teams, diverting their kids’ fanhood to the wrong spot.
If your Dad moved to Boston from Phoenix when he was a kid, don’t you think he’d become a Red Sox fan?
Hispanic Population Has a New York Fetish
Another problem with Florida fans is that people think the Spanish population would support the Marlins or Rays. But a large amount of the Hispanics in Florida came from either New York, Puerto Rico or Cuba. The Cubans in the company I currently work in are more interested in Cuban politics than in beisbol. In Central Florida, most Puerto Ricans came to the area via New York. And New Yorkers that move to Florida have this strange geocentric fascination with the city, announcing their love for it at every chance possible.
Yet, they don’t live in New York City anymore, and they aren’t moving back there any time soon (despite their many threats to).
Making Florida Sports Fans Un-Suck
Yes, it’s true. The sports fans in Florida do suck. But it’s not because they are indifferent. It’s because they root for non-Florida sports teams, and don’t support their local clubs.
Twenty percent of Floridians root for the Yankees. Eight percent root for the Red Sox. Seven percent root for the Braves and four percent root for the Mets. If all of those people, over 39 percent of all baseball fans in Florida rooted for Florida ballclubs, Marlins Park and Tropicana Field would be packed every game. The teams could then afford to go after better free agents, go after better executives and build a better scouting system.
And if that happened, the Braves, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees might not win as many games, which means they’d lose some of their fan base.
Then maybe there’d be people in Atlanta, Boston and New York wearing Marlins and Rays hats and jerseys.
- Comparing Central Florida vs. South Florida
- A Baseball Fan’s Guide: Going to Marlins Park
- A Day at the Clevelander at Marlins Park (Gallery)