Ranking the Top 10 Craziest Fanbases in Major League Baseball in 2012
After an exciting end to the season, it’s once again time to rank MLB’s top fanbases of the 2012.
This season marked a new era for MLB, as the perennial frontrunners took a back seat to playoff newcomers.
Teams like the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics got a chance to show off half a decade’s worth of rebuilding and attempt playoff runs.
With new and improved teams comes new and improved fanbases.
In determining this ranking, I’m taking into account the ratio of attendance to seating capacity and overall stadium atmosphere.
Here are MLB’s top 10 craziest fanbases of the 2012 season.
10. Washington Nationals
A newcomer to the top 10, the Washington Nationals have proved to be one of the newer, more exciting fanbases in MLB.
To start, a large part of the Nationals’ rebuilding process was their stadium. Nice stadiums attract crowds, and RFK was anything but nice.
Nationals Park is one of the best baseball venues on the East Coast to go and watch a game.
The fans are wild and love their Nationals, and the presidents races are an added bonus of entertainment, especially for the younger crowd.
Stadium aside, Washington managed to average 30,010 fans a game, 72.4 percent of its stadium capacity. Not bad for a team that ranked in the bottom third in attendance last season.
Much can be attributed to the Redskins' and Wizards' lack of success as well.
Washington always had a relatively good fanbase, especially for football, but like any city, fans craze success.
Washington took its first step to becoming a baseball town this season, and with continued success, the fanbase will only expand.
9. Chicago Cubs
You can’t have a top 10 fanbase list without including the Chicago Cubs and their loyal fans (loyal being the key word).
For Dorothy, there’s no place like home; for baseball fans, there’s no place like Wrigley Field.
Truly the mecca of sporting venues, Wrigley is without question the best place in baseball to go see a game.
While the quality of that game may be suspect, the fans keep a cool, consistent buzz that keeps the atmosphere fun.
The Cubs averaged 35,589 fans a game, 86.5 percent of their stadium capacity. Really outstanding numbers for a team that went 61-101 last season, the second-worst record in baseball.
Wrigley will always draw crowds no matter how bad their Cubbies are. With Theo Epstein now at the reigns and talent like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo beginning to emerge, the future looks bright for this Cubs fanbase.
8. Texas Rangers
The old saying “don’t mess with Texas” can now be applied to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Rangers Ballpark averaged 42,719 aggressively loud fans per game, 86.9 percent of its stadium capacity.
The atmosphere in Arlington this year can be attributed to, well, Texans, as well as the Rangers' success over the last few years.
Four straight years of winning baseball and great management have Texans flocking to Arlington rather than Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Arlington, being a hitter’s ballpark, has fans coming out expecting to see a few dingers off the bat of Nelson Cruz or their coveted All-Star Josh Hamilton.
Next year will be more of the same in Texas, as Ron Washington will be looking to advance his team deeper into the playoffs and fend off those pesky Athletics.
7. Minnesota Twins
Through the good and the bad, fans in Minnesota love their Twins.
The last two seasons for the Twins have been rough to say the least, with two straight last-place finishes in the AL Central.
Perhaps surprisingly, these fans continue to come out in force regardless of their team’s record.
In 2012, Target Field averaged 34,275 fans per game, 86.8 percent of the stadium’s capacity.
Target Field, built in 2010, is always home to one of the loudest fanbases in baseball.
ESPN The Magazine called Target Field the best stadium in North America in 2011, a title well-deserved.
Unless they can make some big offseason moves, the Twins will likely repeat their disastrous season in 2013. Regardless, fans will continue to come out in force.
6. New York Yankees
Sure, the Yankees may have lost a portion of their fanbase when they demolished the second-most historic stadium in baseball, the old Yankee Stadium, but this is the Bronx, people.
A must for any baseball fan, Yankee Stadium is a loud, energetic and even somewhat dangerous venue (for Red Sox fans at least).
Yankee Stadium averaged 43,733 fans a game, 87 percent of their capacity.
Being a Yankee fan is a tradition. Fans are groomed from birth to support the men in pinstripes.
Yankee fans will continue to regenerate for as long as they keep winning.
New York likes winners, and like we saw in the 80s, Yankee Stadium is capable of turning into a modern-day Tropicana Stadium attendance wise.
This season, catalyzed by media members like myself, Yankee fans gave players like Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson a lot of flak for not performing in October.
Expect more of the same in 2013, as the Yankees look to claim their 28th World Series.
5. Detroit Tigers
Detroit has had a pretty consistent and energetic fanbase for the last decade.
In the last decade, the Tigers have appeared in two World Series, losing both, including this year’s.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Detroit is at the top of this list come November of 2013.
The prospects for this team to claim its fifth World Series are higher than any other team for 2013.
This season, crazy, enthusiastic Michiganders filled Comerica Park on a regular basis, making Comerica the top venue in the AL Central for attendance.
Comerica Park had an average of 37,383 fans per game, 90.6 percent of the stadium’s capacity.
As Detroit continues to bolster its roster this offseason, suspense will build amongst the fanbase, and Michigan will come out in force to support its Tigers in 2013.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
First off, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals on a great season under first-year manager Mike Matheny. Few expected that performance.
Busch Stadium averaged 40,272 screaming Cardinals fans in 2012, 91.6 percent of its stadium capacity.
It was that 10th man that propelled this Cardinals team to Game 7 of the NLCS this season.
Even after losing their future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols, fans actually improved on last year’s attendance and consistently sold out games.
St. Louis is also a unique venue to watch a game, sporting some of the nicest fans in the country.
While the Cardinals will likely be doubted once again by baseball experts, next season will be more of the same for the city of St. Louis, and success is imminent for a very good baseball team.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The heckling capital of sports, Philadelphia, whether it’s hockey, basketball or baseball, is one of the hardest cities for opposing teams to play in.
Philadelphia Phillies fans were voted the meanest fans in America in 2011 by GQ magazine, a title they wear like a badge of honor.
This season was a tough one for Phillies fans, but they continued to be one of the most well-represented fanbases in sports.
Citizens Bank Park averaged 44,021 a game, virtually averaging a sellout.
Next season, Philly will be back to its winning ways, and the fans will play a psychological role in its success
2. San Francisco Giants
Congratulations to the Giants on their second World Series in three years, a very impressive feat.
Much of their success can be attributed to their outstanding pitching and large ballpark, but don’t discredit this fanbase.
I consider the fans that fill AT&T Park almost every game to be some of the most underrated in not just baseball, but sports.
The venue is aesthetically pleasing, the fans are loud and the food is, of course, delectable.
AT&T Park averaged 41,695 fans a game, 99.5 percent of its stadium capacity.
It’s also home to one of the loudest playoff environments in baseball, a trait that propelled the franchise to its seventh World Series last month.
The Giants will likely be a playoff team next season, and very few ball clubs will look forward to their trip to San Francisco come October.
1. Boston Red Sox
Take a look behind home plate next time you watch a baseball game. What do you see?
The empty recliners of Yankee Stadium? A fan reading a book or playing Angry Birds on their iPhone at Chase Field? Or, how about the classic guys dressed as umpires calling balls and strikes in the empty backdrop of Rogers Centre?
No matter where you go, an all-too-common trend in MLB is the empty corporate seats behind home plate.
Fenway Park is different.
You look at the fans behind home plate and you see tradition, fans whose tickets have been passed down in their lineage for a hundred years.
This season was one of the most disappointing in decades, but that didn’t stop fans from coming out to support their Sox.
With no surprise, Boston averaged 37,567 fans a game in a park with a seating capacity of just 37,495.
Fenway is the oldest park in baseball, but the best thing about it is that the atmosphere has yet to diminish over the years.
Next season, Boston will likely struggle in the best division in baseball, but fans will be there, selling out every game like it’s Game 7 of the World Series.
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