With less than two months remaining before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, most major league rosters are beginning to come into shape. Some teams have made their necessary moves, others have stood pat and at least one will make one final lucrative signing (Prince Fielder).
So, with most rosters set, fans are beginning to formulate their own opinions on how well we should all expect our teams to perform in the upcoming season. With some fanbases, if their team is even halfway decent, then as far as they're concerned we might as well pencil them in for a World Series visit. No other teams even stand a chance.
Yes, when it comes to baseball—all sports, really—the fans seem to get a little arrogant about their respective teams. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. This arrogance is created by the intense passion that fans have for their teams, which is perhaps why the best rivalries in the game come from the teams with some of the most arrogant fans.
So, who are the most arrogant fans in baseball? Well, that's probably open to interpretation, so I'd be quite surprised if all of you completely agreed with my list, but nevertheless I'll share my opinions with you. I'm going to rank the 10 most arrogant fanbases in the game.
First up, No. 10...
The San Francisco Giants really only made this list because of their World Series victory in 2010. If not for that, their fans would likely still be disgruntled about the 50-plus years without a championship, and really wouldn't be all too arrogant.
However, don't underestimate what winning the World Series does to a fanbase. All of a sudden, you see championship gear all over the place, and now the fans see that there actually was hope for their ballclub all along. After you taste one, it's easy to imagine tasting another.
Giants fans know perfectly well that their team is lacking in offense. The mere loss of young catcher Buster Posey doomed the team, as they fell without much of a fight to the worst-to-first Arizona Diamondbacks.
But now, the fans know that that old adage "pitching wins championships" is in fact true, and if Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner remain with the team, then as far as they're concerned, the Giants should be considered perennial favorites.
I think having a number retired in their honor did nothing but feed into the arrogance of Indians fans. After a record 455 consecutive sellouts, the Indians retired the No. 455 for "The Fans," and they did so because of a then-unmatched loyalty and dedication to the team.
Unfortunately, since "their number" was retired, the Cleveland fans have only witnessed one successful season, in 2007, when the Indians fell in the ALCS to the Red Sox. Apart from that, they have had to sit idly by and watch as their favorite players were traded away one by one, from CC Sabathia to Victor Martinez to Cliff Lee.
Now, after a surprising 2011 campaign that placed them second in the division behind the Detroit Tigers, Indians fans are seeing their organization move in a new direction: forward. At the trade deadline, they actually traded for a star player instead of trading one of their own when they picked up Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
A new crop of young players has appeared in Cleveland with the likes of Carlos Santana, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall, so it's only a matter of time before the Indians retake the division title. When they do, and even before then, their fans will be there.
While the 2011 Dodgers only finished in third place in the NL West, there was plenty to be excited about.
Dodgers fans enjoyed watching phenomenal seasons from two of the game's greatest young players in the persons of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Kershaw won the pitching Triple Crown, leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA, and easily took home the NL Cy Young award. Kemp led the league in home runs and RBI, finishing third in batting average.
He should have won the NL MVP award, but instead finished second to the now-outed juicer, Ryan Braun.
In 2012, Dodgers fans will have quite a lot to say. First off, they'll be gloating about Kershaw's Cy Young award, one which now creates an argument as to who is the better pitcher, he or Phillies ace Roy Halladay (it's still Halladay). Second, they'll be quite bitter over Kemp losing out on the MVP to a steroid-user, and you can bet that they're going to let him hear it, as Braun's first game back will be May 31, at Chavez Ravine.
Finally, the Dodgers are not out of the running for a postseason berth in 2012, as the Diamondbacks and Giants have issues with inexperience and offense, respectively.
There's potential for an exciting season in LA under a new owner, and you can bet that the fans are ready.
The Atlanta Braves have always had some of the best fans in baseball. Once the team began to consistently experience success during the '90s, those fans went into overdrive.
The Braves won a record 14 consecutive division titles (three West, 11 East) from 1991-2005, building a solid fanbase that proved their worth over four seasons of failure from 2006-2009.
However, the Braves are once again a playoff team (2011 September collapse notwithstanding) and have a young core of players that should be able to produce enough for fans to get excited over the next decade.
After a dismal finish to 2011, Braves fans will be yearning for their team to prove to the baseball world that their team, not those big shots in Philadelphia, is the best in the division.
Honestly, two years ago, I never would have thought to include the Rangers fans on this list, but now it seems wrong not to include the fans in Arlington. They have proven to be some of the most loyal and boisterous fans in baseball for the last two seasons, making their presence known during their team's lengthy postseason runs.
Obviously, the Texas Rangers are currently the two-time defending AL champions, having been denied a World Series title in both 2010 and 2011 after fighting all the way to the grand stage. This kind of success is the best way to bring in more fans, and now those fans are hungry for a championship...and not afraid to show it.
Oh, and by the way, if the Rangers can come to an agreement with Japanese superstar Yu Darvish, their fanbase is going to get a lot larger.
If any fans deserved to be excessively arrogant this offseason, it was those of the St. Louis Cardinals, the 2011 World Series champions. It was a magical year for the Redbirds, culminating in one of the most memorable Fall Classics in MLB history, and the Cardinals earned every bit of it.
However, everything is now not as pleasant as most thought it would be for the reigning champs. Legendary manager Tony La Russa has retired, and superstar slugger Albert Pujols has left for Anaheim, suddenly subtracting two of the game's most iconic faces from one of the game's most iconic teams. Still, despite these losses, Cardinals fans have a lot to be excited about in 2012.
Carlos Beltran was brought in to offset the loss of The Machine, and ace Adam Wainwright will return to the rotation. Suddenly, a roster that won a title in 2011, even sans Pujols, has actually improved. The Cardinals are now the favorites in the NL Central with the Brewers losing Prince Fielder and 50 games worth of Ryan Braun, and you can be sure that their fans will let it be known.
Prior to the 2010 season, the Angels had been experiencing quite a bit of success, winning five AL West titles from 2004-2009 and capturing their first World Series title just two seasons prior in 2002. All the success had really generated a feeling of excitement in Anaheim, up until the Texas Rangers stole the crown the last two seasons.
However, this offseason has given Angels fans a reason to gloat. Both C.J. Wilson (a former Ranger) and the great Albert Pujols have signed lucrative contracts to play in Anaheim for the foreseeable future, instantly transforming a struggling second-place team into the clear division favorites with a real shot at the World Series in 2012.
Angels fans are definitely going to get a lot more arrogant this year, and really, can any of us blame them?
Ever since winning it all in 2008, the Phillies have been taking whatever measures necessary to try to get back to the Fall Classic every year. In fact, a lot of people have begun to compare them to the Yankees due to their constant overspending. What all this overspending has done is turn them into perennial World Series favorites in the National League, and all this recent success has really excited their fanbase.
Phillies fans now expect to win just as much as Yankees fans do, but the difference is that the Phillies have only won it all twice (1980, 2008). They have won five consecutive NL East titles though, which has caused their fans to assume that the other teams in their division shouldn't even be considered as realistic threats to dethrone them.
It might not happen in 2012, but the Phillies' reign will come to an end sooner rather than later, as teams like the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals are packed with young talent and are preparing to make runs at the division title.
The Phillies are one of the best teams in the game, and their fans know it. It's normal to bask in the success of your team, and Phillies fans have proven so far that they know how to express themselves. It's just starting to get a little old—that's all.
It was a tough call between No. 1 and No. 2, but on this particular list, the Yankees do not find themselves on top.
Nonetheless, fans of the Bronx Bombers sure do think highly of their team, and why shouldn't they? Perennially playoff-bound, 40-time American League champions and 27-time World Series champions, what more justification does a fanbase need than that to comfortably call their team the best?
As a proud member of this fanbase, I'll be the first to admit that I'll talk a big game from time to time. Even last year, with all the favoritism surrounding the Red Sox in spring training, I was still going around saying, "Doesn't matter, Yanks are still going to win the division!"
Yankees fans have confidence in their team because we know that over the years, more often than not, things have gone our way. We don't just want to win—we expect to. I'll admit it, that attitude made it fairly difficult to place us anywhere but first on this list, but there was one other fanbase that I have dealt with time and time again that forced their way to the top in my mind...
Prior to the end of the Curse of the Bambino, the Red Sox likely would not have landed atop this list, but ever since winning it all in 2004 and again in 2007, "Red Sox Nation" has been the most arrogant fanbase in the game.
I mean, right there is a prime example of what makes them so arrogant. Red Sox Nation—I mean, really, who names their fanbase? Obviously our second-place team, the Yankees, have also created a moniker for their fans, the "Yankees Universe," but that was only in retaliation to Boston owner Jim Henry's creation of the Nation and referencing New York as the "Evil Empire."
It's a little juvenile, but that's the rivalry for you.
Heading into the 2011 season, the Red Sox had already won the World Series according to their fans. The AL East? That was merely a formality on their march to their third championship in eight years. They even remained confident up until the final day of the regular season, when not even they could hide the fear for the survival of their season.
It took this humiliating defeat to finally silence the Nation, and to be honest, I personally haven't heard much from them since, which is huge considering I live in Connecticut.
However, all it will take is one day in first place in 2012 for Red Sox fans to start up again. While I personally don't think they'll have much to cheer about next year, I'm sure they'll find something; it's what they do best.