DC Comments: 12 Worst kinds of fans

Doug Pensinger

A dirty dozen of fan types that drive me crazy.

12. Bad Parent

Watch your kids so the rest of us don't have to.

11. Wrong Jersey Guy

I have no problem with anyone who wants to wear the opposing team's jersey to a game if they are a true fan and if that team is actually playing in that day's game. If the Dodgers are playing at Coors field and you are a huge Dodgers fan, by all means, make it happen. But the guy who shows up to the Dodgers @ Rockies game wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey is just annoying. And s/he is doing it to be annoying.

10. On the phone fan

The game is right in front of you! What are you looking at? This type of fan ranks low on this list because generally they don't affect the game experience for anyone else. But seriously, are we so addicted to modern technology that we are incapable of experiencing the actual world in front of us? How much money did you pay to get tickets to a seat so that you can have a professional sporting event serve as the background noise for you to continue doing what you do everywhere else?

The most irritating thing about the fan who spends the whole game on their phone is that someone, somewhere would gladly take your seat and be absolutely thrilled to be able to watch the game. Someone, somewhere who maybe couldn't afford it but is a huge fan, could be seating there glued to the game and having a pure experience. Instead, they are at home watching the game on TV and seeing you in the background, in the good seats, staring at a screen in your hand instead of the phenomenal athletes that are only a few feet away.

9. Group with agenda

These fans are at the game for some reason other than the game which is secondary to the business meeting or birthday party or night out on the town that is their primary concern. These fans are typically unaware of what is going on in the game. The last Rockies game I went to featured my whole section breaking out in a round of happy birthday in the middle of an inning when the Rockies had runners on base and were down by one run.

Since this kind of fan is a group, they are almost always much louder (again conversation having to do with anything other than the game at hand) and can have the ability to take over entire sections. These fans also have a tendency to easily morph into the next kind of fan on our list...

8. Unaware game obstructor

In theater and in concert performances, it is a common practice that you are not allowed to enter or exit the room until there is a break for applause. Sports are, and should be, a more relaxed atmosphere, but we should still be able to extend common courtesy. At a Rockies game I attended earlier this season with my mother, she had to ask on multiple occasions if the girls in front of us could please sit down. They were constantly getting up and walking around and talking to people in the rows behind us with their backs turned to the field.

I remember my mother saying "you know, some of us are trying to actually watch the game." I am certain these girls had no idea what the score was or who had done what, but they were great at getting in the way. The number of times they got up in the middle of an inning or generally obstructed the game for the people around them was made even worse because they combined it with...

7. Late arrivals/early departures.

Lets all take a second to laugh again at the Miami Heat fans who got locked out of the arena during game six of the NBA finals because they left early. If only the universe had that kind of humor all the time. It was almost worth the Heat winning that game so that those fans could feel what they felt. Late arrivals that get in other people's way and early departures that give up on their team are bad, but I've also noticed that a lot of fans tend to be both.

My question is this: can you not plan for travel? Is avoiding traffic really worth cutting off your investment in the game? During blowouts I get it, though I still never leave. The girls I was talking about above showed up in the third inning and left in the seventh. Sometimes it seems like these are the only innings Dodger fans are aware of.

6. Whiny Homer/Player hater

As my dad would say, "the other team has boys on scholarship too." I can be a major homer. There I said it. But I've always felt like it's counter-intuitive to build up your team by tearing down the other. In my opinion, the dumbest chant in sports is the one where the other team "sucks." If you are constantly tearing down the other team and their players abilities, how proud should you really be that you beat them? According to what you were just chanting "LA Sucks!" (for example) but if that's true, we don't really need to be any good to beat them. This chant is even more hilariously bad when you end up losing to that team.

The other thing the whiny homer tends to do, other than giving zero respect to the other team, is complain about the officials. This is when you say, "Drew, I thought you were captain of the team of complaining about officials." There is a fine line between being critical of umpires, referees and the like and using them as an excuse as to why your team lost. Sometimes officials do affect the outcome of the game, but you still can't tell balls and strikes from down the third base line.

The fan who complains about every single call, especially at the game where they don't have the benefits of technology, just poison the well for legitimate complaints. It's like the boy who cried wolf, if you are going to complain about a call, you better have the evidence to back it up otherwise you are just building in excuses for failure.

5. Season ticket absentees

Ok, so you can't make it to the game. Sell you seats to someone who can. Donate them to charity. Give them to an orphan kid. Do something. I hate seeing the best seats in the house empty just because some rich guy couldn't make it to the game and wouldn't bother help out a real fan who would potentially have a lifetime memory sitting in those seats. Each team should have a department of season ticket donation/redistribution. If you can't go, just let them know and they will give the tickets to hardcore fans who would really appreciate them. It's just greedy to hold onto something at the expense of others if you aren't actually using it. That is all.

4. Bleacher Coach

I'm sure you know more about the game than the players playing and the coaches coaching, but do the rest of us really need to hear about it? There are few things more asinine than some guy yelling out advice to a professional athlete. This kind of fan also tends to exude a palpable feeling of either the failed athlete or coach who believes on some level he could have done what the players/coaches are doing. I remember hearing a guy years ago at a Rockies game yelling over and over again, "stay on your back foot, Todd!"

1. Todd Helton can't hear you. 2. Todd Helton was probably the best hitter in the world at the time. 3. Staying back is something we teach at 13u teams, not at the MLB level. 4. Todd Helton can't hear you!

But the rest of us can.

3. Wave Starter

Quit it. Seriously, just quit it. I don't need to preach to the choir about why the wave is bad, suffice it to say that it is a self-indulgent form of entertainment that distracts from the actual event at hand. The wave shows that the crowd is more interested in itself than the game and it is distracting to the players, especially the pitcher who has to deal with a swirling siren noise that for some reason accompanies the wave as well as visual distractions behind the plate.

The oft unspoken issue with this particular fan, however, is the position she or he puts the people around them in. Someone really trying to start the wave needs to get a bunch of other people's attention and practically has to beg others to get involved. This leads to one of two things if you aren't on board with starting the wave; either you get angrier and more frustrated the more s/he persists, or (even worse) you actually start to feel bad.

After enough people start to feel bad that this person is making an ass of themselves trying to get a whole arena to do something stupid, people just give in and say to themselves "well at least he will shut up if we just start doing the wave." Stop making us feel bad for you wave starter. If you can't get it to go in the first couple of attempts, just sit down and, oh I don't know, watch the game?

2. Know-nothing loudmouth

If you are a novice, by all means come to the game and watch and listen and ask questions and get involve. Please, do not act like an expert who has the right to scream and whine and coach and make yourself the center of attention even though you have no idea what is going on.

This type of fan is usually a combination of already listed fans (showing up late, obstructing the game) but is made a thousand times worse by being a loudmouth who has no idea what they are talking about. There was a game this year where I was sitting in the Rockpile and a young woman who appeared to be in charge of her group would scream nonsensical things at the players, but first she would have to ask one of her friend what the player's name was.

I swear to the old gods and the new that she turned to her friend after a routine double from the other team and said, "who is that guy?" "That's Cargo," her friend explained. "You suck Cargo! Learn how to catch a ball!" she screamed before going back to not paying any attention. Every time she spoke she did it with all the confidence of an expert, and none of the credentials.

Another fan similar to her was a guy sitting near me once who tried to get everyone to agree that Dexter Fowler was lazy because he didn't catch a fly-ball that no one would have caught. He then mused "this is why I don't watch pro sports anymore, this is my first game in years but these guys are just prima-donnas."

If you don't watch, your opinion doesn't count, and if definitely isn't worthy of being screamed.

1. Vulgar temper-tantrum guy

This is the first time I'll mention that alcohol often has a prominent place in many of these kinds of interactions. There are many who can enjoy the game and a beer or even several and keep things civil. But the loud, oftentimes drunk, fan who gets too serious about the game and resorts to vulgarity and violent language is by far the worst kind of fan, especially when done around kids.

Watch a sporting event (or play a video game) with me sometime and you'll learn that I am not the spokesperson for a clean mouth. I can be as bad as anybody. But not around kids, and not at the expense of fun. It's just a game, but some people take it way too seriously and allow that to boil over into a kind of ridiculous anger that affects the people around them.

I used to be a "Big Brother" which I got involved with by first volunteering for a program called Sports Buddies (after watching a Todd Helton commercial for it) where I would regularly attend sporting events with a remarkable young man named Dante. We were walking out of a a tough loss the Broncos had just incurred at the hands of the hated Raiders and some loud, obviously drunk "man" in his thirties was on an intense tirade. It seems the Broncos had ruined not only his day, but his whole week and maybe even more. F bombs flying everywhere and an insistence that the Broncos were just "trash" was met with confusion from my young friend of only 11 at the time.

"I thought they played well and tried hard," he said. "I had fun."

Ah, the power of perspective. Sports are supposed to be fun. So let's all go out to the ballgame, pay attention, and have some fun.

Got a kind of fan that I missed? Share it in the comments.

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