Mariners fandom, as seen through logical positivism
Second 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.
True fandom is grounded not in the unquestioning belief in a team and the infallibility of everything it does. The meaning of our fandom is built on
verifiable facts, stacked one on top of another. Each fact must be verifiable, and so the fan must be both scientific and suspicious. Emotional ties are neither true or false, but meaningless.
A fan might acknowledge that Edgar Martinez is an outstanding hitter, deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame, based on his accomplishments. But an argument that he is a clutch hitter would be discarded, as that’s not a clearly verifiable claim.
However, first-person observations of specific events are evidence and can be treasured. I can describe seeing an Edgar Martinez double down the line and use that at-bat as an example of his outstanding ability.
It is through this path that much of our following for a team is built. For the experiences we’ve been through establish a long list of things that have made watching the team worthwhile. If nothing else, you can argue from this standpoint that being a fan has been rewarding by providing you with notable experiences that enriched your life.
Unfortunately, this is frequently weighed against the burden of provability, and the reasoning required by this approach. If a great team turns for the worse, bungles their success and is run incompetently, a logical positivist will be one of the first to see this, as they will be constantly weighing the actual results of the team on the field, unswayed by past years.
This unsentimental fandom provides a particularly strange and oft-scorned viewpoint: I’m a Mariner fan because of these things I’ve seen, but my fandom is waning as they continue to lose, and I suspect my time and money might bring better returns if invested elsewhere.