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Subj: Fans can't Wait Till Next Year. Take it to 'em NOW!
2003-04-11 08:33
by Jon Weisman

Got this e-mail - quite an e-mail, I'd say - on the eve of the Giants series:

Jon, I just clicked to your thoughts from BB Primer. As I read your posts It game me in a clear image, the difference between a Giant fan and a Dodger fan these days.
Giant fans are effusive, gregarious, sharing every this and that from Barry's stroll to the plate, how he scratches his nose between pitches. They share the tough times,( more than you care to know)and are already getting indignate towards newcomers who want on board the Borry Train, when they, the original masochists, have suffered all those cold and windy nights at the Stick, just to get to daBell for a Cepeda Barby and a Micro Brew, and think of themselves interesting, chic' and now have become winners. But I lived up there, know a little bitof the Bayo psychology, expecially of the Bay Giant Fan;. Very distrusting and cynical, feel abused and are suspicious about good things coming to them, so as they move forward with these new feelings about winning, they kinda huddle together, like a group of teenageers going through a spooky cemetary, exhilarated, but just waiting for something horrible to happen to them
You seem to typify the current Dodger fan. Complaining and whining about why doesn't Tracy do this or that. How come the Front Office brings us these old farts, those walking wounded, those cast-offs. Why did they blow all that money on Brown, Dreifort, and of course the champ rip-off Carlos Perez. Then of course, after the first two games had come and gone and that ole scoring with men on talking Dodgers Blues, cropped up again, already it's, "I knew this would happen. That got no power. Can't take a walk. Don't get men over. Can't hit clutch, and now they're tired." They look up north to the Giants, who are laughing, eating their Giarrdeli's chocolate and sipping latte as a Borry ball spashes down amongst the inflatable floatiing fans, and go "How come they are getting to have all the fun.?"
Well I grew up in LA, first saw the Dodgers in 59 at the Roman Coliseum, sat in that spanking new stadium in 62, saw Koufax's wonderful delivery and Will's scampering down to 2nd, getting closer to scoring their only run. To donw the road and seeing Fernando for the first time as the peyote was beginning to tingled in my body and I was trying to talk my new wife, who was German, into watching the Dodgers on TV with me instead of hiking in these beautful volcanic rock meas behind our house in sky blue New Mexico. But, much to my amazement, she agreed watched it with me,knowing next to nothing of the game, yet caught my excited spirit for my team, and still talks about me introducing her to BB and the Dodgers to this day, even though we have been divorced for 10 years! I live in Costa Rica, can only imagine what the traffic to the Stadium is like, but if I ever get there for a few days, I will be going, and I will be totally into it, regardless of what the team is supposed to guarantee me as a Dodger fan. It takes the fans getting into it, for the players to feel some of that fire, and they will put out more than they already do. Just like you telling that wonderful story of you and your daughter, Brownie on the mound, and your lady, Dad on either side. I can never have that, you are lucky, but if the Dodgers are to have a prayer, and I do think their is some bright spots in the lineup and on the mound, they are going to have to feel that the fans are with them, and not looking at their watches, trying to beat the traffic in the 7th, and writing those ridiculously petty Dodger bits like one TJ Simers, who may be funny, but he seems like a passive-aggressive who may secretly be a Giant, or worse yet, Yankee fan.


I wrote back. I'm worried that I sounded defensive. Maybe I was. Anyway, I just disagreed with some - not all - of what Thomcat wrote. Here's my reply:

Hi Thomcat,

Thanks for your wild and interesting - Kerouacesque, maybe? - e-mail - a lot to ponder. I don't think there's as big a difference between a Giant fan and a Dodger fan these days, as there is between the Giants and the Dodgers. One team is playing very well, the other a little less so. That matters. I've mainly lived in Los Angeles, but spent four years in the Bay Area and, not insignificantly, also have a father who grew up in Chicago and is a lifelong baseball fan. Los Angeles has known more good times in baseball than San Francisco or Chicago over the past 45 years, but the last several years have been frustrating. I don't think any city has cornered the market on being suspicious of success, or being susceptible to depression when things go bad.

I don't know if I'm a typical Dodger fan, but I can tell you that I don't spend all my time complaining and whining - either as I walk down the street or on Dodger Thoughts. (And I sure as hell hope you don't think of me as a poor man's T.J. Simers.) I've found plenty to be excited about - past, present and future. What I do try is not to get too excited by false highs or too crushed by false lows. I get emotional about the Dodgers, but I also am trying to find the truth about them, understand them, have perspective. I might wish the Dodgers were more fun today, but that doesn't mean I don't think they won't be fun tomorrow. I think it's less black-and-white than your letter intimates to me. I think there can be such a thing as a cynical optimist.

The thing you write that I agree with the most is this: I do think that it can only help the Dodgers if the support of their fans were less reactive and more proactive. I'd like to see more cheers before the run crosses the plate, and fewer boos when it doesn't. I'd like to see more patience and understanding. Again, I don't think that means you give up the right to wish for something better, but it does mean that you recognize the bigger picture - that vocalizing your disapproval isn't as valuable as vocalizing your encouragement. I tell you one thing - if it were me, the support would only help and the booing would only hurt.

Bottom line: traffic aside, you bet I feel lucky to get to go with my family to a Dodger game.

What do you think?

- Jon

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