1. The Frontrunner
Want to know how to tell if one of your friends is a douchebag? Ask him why he first started following his favorite team. If his answer has anything to do with how good that team is, you are legally allowed to punch him in the face and give him noogies until he cries. That’s the law.* Why? Because he’s The Frontrunner.
There are few things more maddening than listening to The Frontrunner brag about his team’s success. While fans of other teams loyally suffer and keep the faith that their luck will turn, The Frontrunner smiles and talks about how many titles the Yankees have won. Can you imagine being one of LeBron’s friends growing up in Akron, Ohio? As you watch your Cavs, Indians, and Browns fail in the most heartbreaking ways, you have to take shit from your friend who just chose to be a Bulls, Yankees, and Cowboys fan? Insufferable.
Note: Being a fan of a good team does not make you The Frontrunner. Choosing that team exclusively because they’re good does.
*Probably not true.
2. The “Drunk And Suddenly An Expert” Fan
This guy hangs out at the bar on a Saturday afternoon and seems nice enough. Quiet. Reserved. But then he starts drinking, and suddenly he’s screaming at the TV about Tim Lincecum’s mechanics this year are messed up because of a rare effect THC has on people in the Bay Area, or how he has a friend who works for the NBA who told him Dwight Howard is definitely coming to Brooklyn, but they just can’t announce it yet. The more he drinks, the more obnoxious and confident he gets in his absurd explanations. Never engage him.
3. The Fantasy-First Fan
It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re at you and your buddies all get together to watch your beloved Bills take on the Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the good guys down the field when Darrelle Revis picks off a pass and returns it for a touchdown. One of your friends starts pumping his fist. Why? Because he has the Jets defense on his fantasy team and he’s in a playoff hunt. This person should be forcibly removed from the party and your life. And he should not be allowed to stop by the table of wings on the way out.
4. The Sports Bigamist
A cousin to The Frontrunner, The Sports Bigamist says things like “Well I love the Dodgers, but when I was young the Braves were so good, and Greg Maddux was my favorite player so I’d say that I love them both pretty equally.” This person will never commit to anything in their lives. It is advised that you don’t try to join them in business ventures, rec-league softball teams, or relationships of any kind. They will only disappoint you.
5. The Regular Sports Radio Caller
This guy laughs at the idea of “first time, long time.” He’s not a fan. He’s a pundit. The Skip Bayless of Illinois. His local sports radio hosts know him by name and know to expect his call. Why? Because somebody has to speak up against Jay Cutler’s general Jay Cutler-ness. To you he may be Mike from accounting, but in his heart he’ll always be Mikey from Aurora. It’s best to just avoid him.
6. The Finance Faker
To some people a Red Sox game at Fenway is a nearly religious experience. To this “fan” it’s a networking opportunity. He doesn’t care, he just knows how to fake it in case whatever rube he’s taking does. He probably pronounces Favre, FAH-VREY.
7. The Former High School Star
“Ah, did you see that Marshawn Lynch stiff arm? BAM! Smash mouth football. Back at St. Joe’s, I did that all the time, and nobody could stop it. Not even those ass-clowns from Benedictine.” This guy always sucks, unless he’s your dad. Then he just sometimes sucks.
8. The “Hates One Guy” Fan
This is that guy who sits in your section at a game and criticizes everything JR Smith does on the floor. He shouts “NO!” everytime Smith takes a shot, and if one goes in, he’s the guy saying “Even tattoo-covered blind squirrels occasionally find a nut.”
Notice how LeBron was my example in The Frontrunner? Yeah, I may be guilty of this one.
9. The Pandering Politician
Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of New York for 8 years. In 2007, when the Red Sox went to the World Series he announced his support for the Yankee’s heated rival. Why? Because he was running for President, and wanted to connect with a crowd in Boston. He tried to make the point that he roots for the American League, but that’s crazy. I love Ohio State, but if Michigan represented the Big Ten in the National Championship, I would sooner streak across the field at The Big House while being chased by actual wolverines than root for U of M to win.
10. The “Sabermetrics Are Everything” Fan
I love stats. Thanks to sabermetrics we understand baseball better today than we ever have before. That said, I don’t care what the analysts say, I’m always going to hold out hope that one of Jack Hannahan’s fast starts actually holds up for a full year. Regression to the mean be damned. Crazy inexplicable things are fun, stop always trying to kill them with numbers (see Tebow, TIm).
11. The Armchair Coach
Sometimes coaches need criticism (note the photo of Romeo Crennel above). But these are the people who take it to another level. They pick apart every move a coach makes as a game goes on. They think Scott Brooks should start James Harden, but if he ever did, they’d be the first people screaming about the merits of a super-sub. They think pitch counts are stupid until Stephen Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery. They’re the type of people who go on reality TV game shows and spend all their time talking about alliances, how no one else understands the “secret of the game,” and their lack of a desire to make friends.
12. The Ken Burns
This fan can’t stop talking about how players today are prima donnas, or how in his day the stars didn’t cheat and were good members of the community. This fan never seems to mention Ty Cobb, the Black Sox, or all the NFL players who were doing steroids in the ’70s. Weird how that works.
13. The Hipster Fan
Despite what the awesome photo above might imply, this is not about hipsters who like sports. This is about the people who bring a hipster mentality to their fandom. They’re soccer fans who hate when the World Cup comes around and captures everyone’s attention. They’re the hockey fans who resent the casual fans who weren’t their during the ugly pre-lockout years. They are the first to condescendingly call out other fans as “just hopping on the bandwagon.” They don’t want to have to share their sports or teams with other people. They’re assholes.
14. The Contrarian
Anyone who is remotely like Skip Bayless.
15. The “Inexplicably Loves The White Guy” Fan
Also known as The Undercover Racist, this fan talks about unathletic white guys by unleashing an orgy of words that have vague meanings and positive connotations. Intangibles! Scrappy! Plays the game the right way! Most of these are code for “Isn’t a black guy.” Except if we’re talking about baseball. Then they’re also code for “speaks English.”
Conclusion: If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably on here somewhere. Me? I’m #8 and a little bit #13. Just a little bit.