By now you’ve likely heard the story of Stephen Krupin, the unfortunate Nationals fan who saw the team go 0-19 in games he attended during the 2009 season. (Here’s some of the D.C. coverage: Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog; WTOP).
Any baseball fan who attends more than a game or two a season is familiar with the tendency to track the team’s success in his or her presence, though we’re all looking for positive outcomes when we do it. How many times have you been to O’s games and thought, “Sure they’re bad, but they seem to play better when I’m here”?
I appreciate Phil Taylor’s take on the Krupin dilemma as he offers a fresh angle on a widely circulated story and personalizes it for most fans. The truth is, as Taylor states, that our teams are most likely to lose when it’s all said and done, because at the end of the day only one team wins it all. It’s the cost of doing business as a dedicated fan of a particular team.
[More after the jump.]
Here’s an excerpt of Taylor’s column, “Unluckiest Fan in America.”
Maybe you weren’t as unfortunate a fan as he was this season, but you probably have more in common with Krupin than you realize. To root for a team is to experience varying degrees of misery, whether you’re devoted to a club that hasn’t won a World Series in generations or one that just missed the playoffs or, like last-place Washington, one that muddles along so deep in the cellar that first place seems to exist only in a galaxy far, far away.
Those giddy, exuberant baseball fans we see on our television screens this time of year, the ones waving their white towels and clapping ThunderStix as they cheer for their teams in the postseason, are the outliers, like the swimsuit models and the guys with six-pack abs on magazine covers. They are the fortunate few, hardly representative of the masses. It’s much easier to relate to Krupin because for the overwhelming majority of fans championships are, at best, occasional. Losing is universal.
Only in sports would a consumer keep patronizing the same establishment despite never getting satisfaction. What Krupin did is like continuing to have dinner at the same restaurant even though it burns the entrée every time.
O’s fans in particular can relate to this message, but let’s face it: not all losing is created the same. There’s a difference between losing the Wild Card down the stretch and never being in the race at all. You may not always win, but it’s still nice to place or show every once in a while.