Say, did you see what Eric Hosmer posted to his Twitter account?
It would seem that Mr. Hosmer is speaking to the culture of fan known as “bandwaggoners.” This species is known to stay away from sporting stadia when teams are in the dumps, yet return in full face painting glory when the team is on top.
As David Puddy would say, “Ya gotta support the team.”
If The Process continues the way it’s drawn up in the master plan, bandwaggoners will be a byproduct. Be prepared. It will be difficult to get decent seats at the K for a decent price. There will be minor traffic jams and longer lines for a Boulevard. I’ll have to wait a super long time to ride the carousel in the outfield.
Part of me is stymied by Hosmer’s attitude. Is he saying that if his team succeeds and reaches the postseason, he would prefer playing in front of 10,000 people in October who have made sitting on their hands a form of performance art? I’m not knocking the die hards (I’m a card-carrying member) but the atmosphere at the stadium on some nights – especially late in the season – resembles a screening of The Artist.
The rest of me is slightly amused. Hosmer is still getting his feet wet in this league. He’ll learn soon enough that you can’t say negative things about the fans. (Although he was shrewd in his selection of a target. Who freely admits they’re a bandwaggoner? No one, that’s who.) But there’s a bit o’ swagger behind that tweet, no? It gives a little insight as to the culture of the clubhouse Dayton Moore and the Royals brain trust has built over the last couple of years. These guys are hungry, optimistic and able. They’ve all had success in the minors and they think they can replicate that at the major league level. Us die hards think this is great. Every spring we hear talk about how the Royals are improving and close to a breakthrough. This time, it feels different. This time, it feels right. Maybe because the messenger is Eric Hosmer and not Joe Mays.
Our Time, indeed.
Talk smack on the bandwaggoners all you want, but they are going to be at the K this summer – and hopefully for the next several. As long as they don’t wear pink hats (Heeeeeello, Red Sox Nation!) I’m fine with them. Every successful team has scads of bandwaggoners. Don’t hate… Embrace them. Regale them with stories of Ken Harvey getting hit in the back with a cutoff throw. Or Kerry Robinson scaling the center field wall to rob a home run, only to have the ball bounce 10 feet in front of him and over the wall for a ground rule double. Or the time Mark Quinn took a walk and they shot off fireworks at the K. Or the time the fireworks set off a brush fire behind the scoreboard and the fire department was called in during the game. Or… You get the picture.
Yeah, all that crap may have been pathetic and frustrating… but you cannot dispute it was highly entertaining. Seriously. Do you ever hear goofy stories about the Pirates? No? That’s because for the last 20 years, they’ve suffered a dual indignity: They suck and they’re boring. Damn, that’s a horrible combination. I mean the Pirates have never lost a game because their center fielder was shielded from a batted ball by a bird. Am I right? I’m glad I stuck around for all these years. For what the Royals lacked in fundamentals, they made up for in inventiveness.
My advice… Adopt a bandwaggoner. Take him or her under your wing and educate them what it’s all about… How this team was once upon a time a model franchise and now after 27 long years we’ve rediscovered our mojo. Tell them the stories of the good times and the bad. And maybe when this team hits a rough patch, your bandwaggoner will decide to ride the storm out right along with you. Maybe they’ll even buy you a Boulevard Wheat.
Misery loves company. So does success.