Sociology of Royals Fans
Ok folks, time for a little self-examination.Â Not that kind of examination, Â put the rubber gloves away.Â Having been a fan of the Royals since the early 1980â€™s, Iâ€™ve become very familiar with the various creatures that are my fellow Royals fans.Â They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, socio-economic status, and mental health status.Â They are also, in my opinion, the brightest group of fans in the league.Â Youâ€™d have a tough time finding another fan base that knows their minor leaguersâ€”from AAA clear down to Rookie Leagueâ€”like Royals fans.Â And even though the Royals havenâ€™t been relevant for a long time, through thick and thin (mostly thin), the Royals have remained relevant to their devoted (and in some cases, delusional) fans.Â The following is a breakdown of the five general types of Royals fans that exist:
The casual fan:Â This person has little more than a rooting interest in the Royalsâ€”which is to say theyâ€™re aware that Kansas City has a baseball franchise, but probably couldnâ€™t name the starters at each position.Â They attend 1-3 games a year, but generally attend because it is part of some sort of social function than a burning desire to go sit at the park to watch some baseball.Â They probably have a Royals visor and no more than two Royals t-shirts.Â Drink a beer with this fan at your own risk.Â Just know that youâ€™ll likely find yourself explaining just what the hell a rosin-bag is, and why the manager wears a jersey.
The sunshine-pumpers:Â This person supports just about every move the team makesâ€”sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of arrogance.Â Some feel that if the GM or owner makes a decision, it must have been the right one because theyâ€™re in charge (ignorance).Â Or they justify every decision made because then it makes them feel like they would have done the same thing (arrogance).Â The one thing you canâ€™t question is their loyalty.Â Unfortunately, they often tout themselves as â€œreal fansâ€ or â€œtrue fansâ€.Â This person likely has a Royals bumper sticker or logo on their personal vehicle, and watches the complete 1985 World Series from beginning to end each year before spring training.Â This person attends at least five games a year, and undoubtedly owns at least one authentic Royals jersey.Â Feel free to enjoy a beer with this fan.Â Theyâ€™re a delightful group, and can at least momentarily talk you off the ledge when you feel your Royals fanhood is waning.
The arm-chair General Manager:Â This person has all the answers.Â You ask them who the Royals should sign/draft/trade for, and theyâ€™ll have a list of no fewer than eight names ready to barrage you with.Â This person will either be over-supportive or over-critical of every move the team makes.Â Not only that, but theyâ€™ll be able to provide at least three reasons why it was the best or dumbest move in the teamâ€™s history.Â Their knowledge of the game is immense, no doubt.Â Potentially a blogger, probably a stat-geek, and likely concerns themselves infinitely more on roster construction than how the game is played on the field.Â This person undoubtedly plays MLB video games or computer games, except they donâ€™t actually play the baseball games.Â Rather, they cast themselves as the GM, and simply use the game for roster construction purposes.Â Beware: The administrative decisions they make in their video games often blurs their sense of reality.Â You guys, the Royals should trade scrub A, B and C for Ryan Braun.Â This person probably attends close to ten games a year, if not more.Â Drinking a beer with this fan is highly recommended.Â Theyâ€™ll either open your eyes to new possibilities, or you can poke fun at their stupid trade ideas.
The Debbie-downers:Â Or the â€œRandy Quaidâ€, if you will.Â If youâ€™ve seen the movie Major League 2, you know what Iâ€™m talking about.Â If you havenâ€™t, donâ€™t as it is an awful movie.Â Just know that Quaidâ€™s character is a depiction of a fan of a notoriously bad team, yet he continues to monitor them closely for no other reason than to bitch.Â This person hates every move the team makes.Â They hate every player transaction, they hate every in-game managerial decision that was made, and they really hate your trade ideas.Â Oh, and theyâ€™re going to let you know about it too.Â Did you know your team has a 92% chance of losing if they bunt in the first three innings of a day game in April?Â They may be a blogger, but they certainly post on Royals message boards, and likely contribute to some sort of in-game message board thread.Â They are armed and ready with overreactions, firing demands, trade demands, release demands, etc.Â This person either attends a lot of games or does not attend any games because they arenâ€™t going to spend another dime on this team until they commit to making better decisions, and field a better product.Â This person likely has a deep understanding of the game, but lives in a constant cloud of negativity.Â They are likely well-versed in baseball analytics.Â In that vein, they likely share many of the same traits as the arm-chair GMâ€™s.Â The tell-tale sign of a Debbie-downer is if you find yourself questioning whether or not they even want the Royals to succeed (they do, trust me).Â Do notâ€”I repeat, DO NOTâ€”drink a beer with this fan.Â If you do, you will likely keep drinking, find your way to depression, and be found face-down in ditch muttering about sacrifice bunts and Wil Myers.
The Golden Boys:Â Passionate, attentive, realistic, and hopeful would be the best way to describe this fan.Â They set realistic expectations of the team, and hope the team somehow exceeds those expectations.Â Â They live and die a little with each game, but re-charge the batteries and come back for more the next night.Â This fan will laugh at you when you suggest the Royals sign Josh Hamilton.Â Theyâ€™ll also laugh at you when you suggest the Royals could win 100+ games.Â On the flip side, they love engaging in Royals banter, and love entertaining realistic options for their beloved Royals. Oddly enough, this type of fan is a bit of a hodge-podge of all the aforementioned types.Â The other fan types are often drawn to the Golden Boys.Â Â Absolutely take the opportunity to have a beer with this fan.
Whether you like it or not, these are your fellow Royals fans wherever you may fall on the spectrum.Â Get to know them, or learn to avoid them.Â Identifying them can be tricky, because memberships to their respective genres are non-exclusive.Â They may be an arm-chair GM one night, and a Debbie-downer the next.
Here are some helpful hints.Â Â Sunshine-pumpers and Debbie-downers generally have a strong disdain for each other.Â Arm-chair GMâ€™s and casual fans usually have a tough time talking baseball.Â The casual fan generally likes talking to the arm-chair GMâ€™s because they can learn a thing or two, but the arm-chair GMâ€™s typically have little or no use for the casual fan (unless they just want to feel smarter).Â TheÂ Golden BoyÂ types typically seek out their own type to associate with.Â Theyâ€™re equally uncomfortable around the sunshine-pumpers as they are the Debbie-downers.Â Theyâ€™re probably more tolerant of the casual fan than the other types, but would likely prefer the company of an arm-chair GM if they had to associate cross-genre.
I hope this has been helpful.Â It was done in fun, but there is a great deal of truth to it.Â Keep in mind, regardless of fan type, all are rooting for the good of the cause.Â All are dreaming of brighter days for the Royals, and all desperately want to be there when the Royals are once again on top of the baseball world.Â Go Royals!
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