Mariners fandom, as seen through Materialism
First in a series of high-faluting articles that came out of discussions about how to cope with being a Mariner fan. You can blame Jeff for encouraging this kind of content.
Fans without a team are in a state of anarchy, almost unbeing, restless and chaotic, a life almost not worth living. It is natural then that these fans seek out teams that they can follow and believe in, even in places where their favorite sport is not popular. Otherwise, they may fall into cheering at silly, trivial things, like the changing colors of traffic lights, or racing clouds.
This proclivity to fandom is a piece of our nature, and we seek out the sensations of being in the audience for a game as surely as we do water or food. Our joy at a team’s victory and our discomfort at our team’s losses are both products of the body and motivate us to find ways to grow closer to a team or to distance ourselves from them and seek a more pleasing team (which should worry the M’s, given the Seahawks recent success). Our perceived choice in the matter is little more than an illusion, and we will reliably look to whatever choice best satisfies our desires. We are baseball fans because a set of specific causes led us here, and we are Mariner fans because the Mariners are here and they satisfy their needs.
We all may wish to compete, but few are good, and fewer great, and so from any group of people, some will naturally be elevated from the population. These best athletes, who play the most favored sports, and these form teams. Teams, as an organism of their own, must find fans, for there is no audience for a game otherwise, and a team without an audience and revenue streams is like a state without citizens. So there is a contract between fan and team, established when a team deigns to come to some god-forsaken hell-hole, that inexorably binds them both.
Fans must submit to their team. The team is headed by a single leader, the owner, who then surrounds himself (it’s always a him) with employees to assist in the administration, and these are delegated authority. This is a necessary and inevitable development. A city could not run their own team, it would be impractical to take decisive action and even it was not, the populace would be paralyzed over every tiny decision and the tough ones Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like whether to ditch a local kid in favor of anyone better Ã¢â‚¬â€œ would never be made, or would be made badly. This structure actually enhances the enjoyment of a fan, for they enjoy the benefits of fandom without any responsibility, and are free to whine, praise, or wail about every move of the team freely, while others put in the actual work. Thus in submission we are all freer fans.
There is no defense of fans of other teams within a team’s home. The minority who prefer other teams have no right to complain about the local team, or to support foreign interests Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they are bound by their contract with their peers to be fans of a single team and support it.