A tip of the cap to the electric atmosphere at Safeco Field this weekend: The largest weekend crowds since 2007. There was a playoff feel – one that’s been somewhat foreign to all of us for a pretty long time.
As Jon Morosi of Fox Sports put it: “Seattle has fallen in love with baseball all over again. It sounds, it feels, it looks that way.”
The thing is: Most of us never fell out of love with baseball. We just rarely had good baseball to be in love with! Or more simply: We’ve loved the Mariners. They just haven’t loved us back!
The Mariners are 20 games over 500 for the first time in over a decade. That’s huge. So while you can label a certain number of fans as “bandwagon” or “fair-weather” if you’d like, many of them have always been fans. They’ve always been there, waiting for this franchise to catch fire, instead of disappointing year after year. As I’ve said before, you can still be a fan even if you’re constantly critical of an organization: It shows that you care.
Indifference is the enemy. Apathy is the villain. Not skepticism. Not caring so much about a team that it gets you flat-out angry.
If you’re one of those few fans who have showered this franchise with unmatched optimism and positivity and never said a negative thing about them, even during the worst times, I applaud you wholeheartedly. Please, pat yourself on the back. But don’t accuse all the rest of us of being haters and bandwagon fans. Sure, there are some dopes. But don’t paint us all with the same brush.
Case in point: After the Mariners came back on Friday night to win in dramatic fashion, here’s what a Red Sox beat writer said about the Boston fan reaction on Twitter: “A team wins four in a row and postgame tweets are few and far between. They lose a one-run game to a hot team on the road and half the lineup has to be traded or released and the GM fired...Calm down.”
Pretty funny. That’s not apathy. That’s passion. Definitely misguided overreactions, borderline crazy. But passion nonetheless.
Today, Safeco Field hosted the seventh-largest regular-season crowd in stadium history. They might still have some mediocre weekday crowds going forward, but continue this kind of baseball through the month of July, and today’s impressive showing won’t be the last this season.
In the end, we don’t have to have the debate whether Seattle is a “football town” or a “baseball town” or anything else. It’s a legitimate sports town. It’s ridiculous to question our fandom as a whole, because at the end of the day, this is a city where we’ll be there if there’s a reason to be there.
And if it’s not, we still care...at least, most of us do.