Fan Behavior in the Face of an Absolutely Miserable Season: An Unfortunate and Unintended Study

New Flash: the Angels are having an absolutely miserable season! Oh, so I take it you’ve heard that already, then? Right. You must be one of those not living under a rock kind of people. Yeah, yeah. I suppose that would explain your having an internet connection and all that.

Anyway, so where was I? Oh, yeah. Angels. Miserable season. Right. Which, you know, does tend to create some pretty miserable fans. Beyond miserable in many cases. My case, for instance. And, sufficiently so I might add, that I have noticed many changes in my behavior towards the game over that which I tend to exhibit during good or even meh Angels seasons. For example:

I find that I’m watching QuickPitch and Sports Center a lot less. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that my desire to watch QuickPitch, Sports Center and the like and, indeed, even to watch the Angels’ own post game show or listen to Angels Rant…er…Talk…er…oh never mind, Rant is far more accurate and understandable this season…is directly proportional to how well the Angels did on any given night. And the team is currently 55 and 68, so I’ll just leave the connection of those particular dots in your more than capable hands.

On those occasions when I actually do watch QuickPitch/Sports Center/Intentional Talk/MLB Tonight/Name Your Poison of Choice, I absolutely dread when it comes time to talk about the Angels. Because, even when they win, you know that the analysts and commentators still have to put the game in the context of the Angels’ overall season…and then those all the more cringe worthy for being so very spot on words pour forth.  Disappointment…Catastrophe…Underperformance…Injuries…Errors…blah blah blah. We know already, okay? We know. Oh, how we know. *Sighs and shakes her head* Can’t you maybe just, I don’t know, relate the final score, say “And the Angels…” then sigh, shrug and move on? I mean, why continue to beat a dead horse.

I find myself experiencing irrational annoyance over any Angels wins that occur when I’m not watching. Seth and I watch a truly sick amount of Angels baseball. In the course of any given season, we easily catch 140 or so of the games on TV, from the ballpark, on the radio or online when no other option is available. But there is just no way we can catch every single game. Weekday day games? East coast weeknight games? We catch some of them, but there is this work thing, you know. And we both kind of have to do it. Damn that Morty and Bill, insisting on being paid and all that. Anyway, in a normal season, if the Angels win and I’m not watching, I cheer and catch any should not be missed highlights on MLBN or online. This season, however? It’s not that I don’t appreciate the win, but even so I actually find myself with thoughts like this: “Those, fuckers! I suffer through watching how many crappy games and they finally decide to play like a major league baseball team for a game or two and don’t even have the decency to do it when I can watch them?!!” Yeah. Um. Hey, remember I did say irrational. After all, Fan does come from fanatic, not from some word that means calm, reasonable individual.

Ads are frequently annoying, and the Angels ads simply have never been funny enough to avoid this description. However, this season I find that the Angels ads annoy me more than usual. “It’s time for Angels baseball!” No kidding! You think? I mean, it’s practically September. It sure is time for the team to start playing Angels baseball already. Any day now guys. Any. Day. Now.

Facing “bad” teams is no longer the source of relaxation and enjoyment it once was, indeed quite the opposite. For, while one of the glories of baseball is that on any given game day the worst team in the league can defy all expectations and beat the pants off of the best team in the league, this is an unlikely scenario. When your team, however, is also among the worst teams in the league facing “bad” teams is suddenly just as dicey a proposition as facing any other team. Yet, there is still that part of me that thinks of my team as a “good” team because, hey, they have been before, by golly. So all of the humiliation of struggling to beat or – Gasp! — losing to a “bad” team is still there, only now it’s oh so much more likely an outcome. Baseball fans of teams who don’t have you nodding along with this post, trust me. The end result of this situation? Yeah, it’s even less fun than it sounds.

I almost — almost mind you! – find myself wishing the season away. And for me, this is the ultimate sacrilege as a baseball fan. And, while I will always love my Angels through suck and through win, I can’t help but hate them just a little for this. A bad day at the ballpark is still better than a good day almost anywhere else. But having so very many bad days? With no end in sight? Well that actually does the unthinkable – it sucks some of the excitement right out of that day at the ballpark.

It’s only one season. Maybe next year. Blah. Blah. Blah. *sigh*

9 Comments

I just hope they don’t go and implode the team and start from scratch. Something didn’t work this year and they’ve got to try and figure it out. They’ve got a great team, but dismantling everything would really be a bad move. Like you say, Next year. Believe me, being a Cubs fan–There’s always next year.

Sorry for the delay in responding Mark, but I still absolutely agree with this statement. I hope they get pitching for next year without imploding the rest of the team but I don’t know how possible that is. Ugh. We shall see. Here’s to a better 2014 for your guys and mine.

– Kristen

I’ve now seen the Angels in four cities this year, and I am always amazed each time I see them (since I don’t really have time between attending and writing about games to actually pay attention to the standings) that they haven’t righted the ship. I could have very easily have seen them in the World Series this year, and they are slightly off track for that so far.
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

I know, Mateo, right? I can’t help but think that if they’d had pitching this season things might have been different. Oh well. Time to pick who to root for in the post season.

– Kristen

Chin up, Kristen! Like you said, a bad day at the ballpark, and so on. I haven’t been able to watch the Angels enough to give any insight on this season, but we all know they have good players, and sometimes bad seasons just happen. My Whitecaps are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third year in a row, so I feel your pain. I still hate to see the season end, though, and that’s a month or two earlier than the majors…
-Mike

Good luck to your Tigers in the post season, Mike!! And I say that with sincerity. Thanks for continuing to be one of my online baseball friends and support my blog even though life has made me one flaky blogger this season.

– Kristen

Thank you, Kristen! The A’s will make it a tough series.
-Mike

I know how you feel. The Brewers…..O MY GOSH, things couldn’t get worse! I was wondering your opinion on the personality of Mike Trout?
-David S.

http://bleacherboy.mlblogs.com/

Sorry for the delayed response David. Thank you for continuing to read. I love Mike Trout’s personality. I absolutely adore the fact that in addition to being a amazing baseball talent he seems like such a nice young man to boot. He’s definitely a stubborn, bulldog of a competitor which I also like, but he has a sunny disposition, plays the game the right way and seems like one of the good guys. I will root for players who don’t seem like they’re nice in person, but for a player to become a favorite of mine, I have to like them as a person too and Trout is definitely a favorite of mine on all counts.

– Kristen

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