A fair-weather fan is defined by Urban Dictionary as "a fan who only likes a team when it is winning." For this reason the Kansas City Royals will not be on this list since their fans don't seem to like them at any time.
A great example of a fair-weather fan would be the "New Dats." Who dat, you ask? The "New Dats" are the brand new New Orleans Saints fans who crawled out of the woodwork when the Saints opened up a can of whoop ass on the 2009 NFL season, winning Super Bowl XLIV. Where were these fans when the Saints were bottom-dwellers for so many years?
Now that that's out of the way, here is the list of the most fair-weather fans in all of Major League Baseball. In order to attempt to save myself from extreme ridicule in the comments section, I have based the top five teams (in no particular order) with the most fair-weather fans on a mathematical formula. I found this formula on mkaz.com, which provided charts plotting attendance versus wins for each individual team over the past 20 years.
With these graphs you can tell if the average annual attendance for a particular team went up or down based on the number of wins per season. Hence, you can determine if a fanbase is fair-weather or not.
Though the top five fair-weather teams were determined by plotting and completely prevent you from blaming me for the outcome, I definitely don't want to take away all of your fun. For this reason, I most certainly plan on throwing my two cents into the mix to let you know if I feel the ranking to be justified.
In addition, the graphical information only takes into account attendance at the ballpark. Fans exist everywhere and cheer their respective clubs on from their living rooms, bars, etc....I will take this into consideration in my analysis.
Also just for fun, I'll throw in a couple of the best fans and worst fans in baseball, according to the data. Thanks for reading and commenting. Enjoy.
I've spent most of my life outside of the Washington, DC area, and at that time the Nationals didn't exist, so we had the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1992, '93, '96 and '97 the Orioles won 85-plus games, and their fans were there to cheer them on. There were more than 3.5 million fans in attendance annually in each of these years.
In 1990, 2003, '06, '07, '08 and '09 the Orioles won fewer than 80 games, and their fair-weather fans let the drop in annual attendance show their displeasure. In each of those years fewer than 2.5 million fans attended O's games.
Baltimore's worst year in annual attendance was 2009, when it won fewer than 65 games (64-98) and had the dubious distinction of finishing last in the AL East. However, in 1997 the Birds finished first in the division, bringing home a 98-64 record. That year the sun was shining on the Inner Harbor, so the fans came to the ballpark, roughly 3.7 million.
In my opinion the graph does not lie here, folks. Every game I ever attended at Camden Yards found the bars and Eutaw Street more full than the stadium seats. Not to mention the fact that if the O's are playing the Red Sox, chants of "Let's go Red Sox" can be heard on TV. It doesn't help you in the fan category when the opposing team tends to seat more fanatics.
I have to admit, this one surprised me a bit. Every Minnesota Twins fan I have ever met, literally ever, has been a truly dedicated fan. The graphical data, however, speaks otherwise.
The Twins graph is the one graph in MLB where the rise in attendance almost perfectly directly correlated with the rise in wins.
In 1994, '95, '97, '98, '99 and 2000 their wins were 70 or fewer, and the annual attendance was roughly 1.4 million or less. On the flip side, in years 1991, '92, '06, '08 and '09, when the Twins won more than 85 games, they had more than 2.2 million fans in annual attendance.
I'd say that it was the actual weather that tended to keep Twins fans away, but the roof was actually still intact when they played in the Metrodome.
As I stated earlier, I was shocked to learn that, graphically, the Twins seem to be fair-weather fans, but in reality (my reality) Twins fans seem to be some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable around. Who knew?
The New York Mets have it rough as it is. They are always overshadowed by their big brother in the Bronx.
The Mets are definitely not the worst of the worst, but in 1994, when they were 55-58 they had fewer than 0.75 million fans in attendance. But wait, that season was cut short by the players strike, so we will give New York a break and point out that in 1992, '93, '95 and '96 the Mets won between 55 and 75 games and had fewer than two million fans in attendance annually.
In 1995 they won 69 games, finishing second in the NL East, and only about one million fans showed their faces in Shea Stadium.
Conversely, in 2006, '07 and '08 the Mets averaged roughly 90 wins and had over 3.25 million in annual attendance, topping out at over four million in 2008, when they won 89 games. Ironically, they were kept from the postseason on the very last day of play by a team that can't have fair-weather fans because you technically need fans for them to be fair-weather, the Florida Marlins.
The spike in attendance in 2008 could very well be attributed to the fact that it was the final year of play for the Mets in Shea Stadium. Maybe fans wanted to experience Shea before they couldn't anymore. But isn't that the very definition of a fair-weather fan?
From a personal standpoint I have very little to say, as I am not familiar enough with the Mets fanbase to state an educated opinion. I would, however, very much like to hear your thoughts about why the Mets were placed on this list and whether or not they deserve to be there.
Just a kick ass photo
Maybe it is because there is so much to do in San Francisco. Maybe it is because the Alcatraz audio tour could very well be one of the coolest things to experience. (I should know—I've done it 11 times. Yes, 11, and no, it doesn't change, ever. It's the same audio tour every single time. Admittedly, I have issues.)
In 1991, '92, '94, '95 and '96 the San Francisco Giants had fewer than 75 wins and fewer than 1.75 million fans annually. But on the bright side, in 2000, '01, '02, '03 and '04 they won more than 90 games and had more than 3.5 million fans annually.
I lived in Northern California for several years and spent many of my days in this place. There are not many cities in this country that have more to do than San Francisco. Let's face it: You can actually get the crap scared out of you by the bush man (a homeless guy that hides behind several branches of a bush in the middle of the sidewalk and jumps out, scaring tourists) while walking to see another guy escape from a straitjacket as you wait in line for the streetcar.
But to be honest, New York and Boston have just as many attractions, and the Red Sox and Yankees seem to have no problem filling their respective seats during down years.
It could be that San Francisco is so close to Oakland that fans tend to head across the Bay to watch the A's instead. It could be, but it isn't.
I've never been to an A's game, so I have no opinion about their fans, but if they are anything like their brethren Raider fans, then they certainly aren't fair-weather.
According to the table though, it seems that they in fact only tend to show up at the ballpark when their team is putting W's on the board. What a shame too—they have some of the best young pitching in the game today. Fans should be appreciating that, W or no W.
In looking at the graph for Oakland, it becomes evident that its fans don't show up at all when the team is bad. In 1994 the A's won somewhere around one game (give or take), and only a million fans showed up. In 1995 and 1997 they won fewer than 70 games and averaged fewer than one million butts in the seats annually.
In 2001, '02, '03, '04 and '06 they won more than 90 games and seated between two and 2.5 million annual fanatics. Oddly enough, the A's could have brought in many more fans annually than they did even when they were winning. This means, according to the graphical data, that A's fans don't ever really pack the house, but they do tend to sort of fill it when the team is better than usual.
Some of the least fair-weather fans root for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
The worst fans in baseball (not fair-weather, but fans that just don't show up whether their team is winning or losing) follow (or actually don't) the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins. What gives? The Rays are usually in contention, even though they play in the AL East, and the Marlins have a couple of World Series wins under their belts.
Maybe the weather is too nice in Florida to sit and watch a baseball game. I'm sure Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals fans wouldn't mind that sunshine during their early spring night games.
Trivia: Now I haven't been there in a few years, so this may have changed since my last visit, but which former prisoner narrates the Alcatraz audio tour, and what was he incarcerated for?