Back in late March, before this disappointing season ever got started, the Rockies declared 2012 to be “The Year of the Fan.” Much to their surprise, and to ours, there would be next to nothing for Rox fans to cheer about through the first half of the season. The general frustration expressed by our readers in the various comment threads here at the BSB is palpable.
Purpleshirts are profoundly disappointed – and for good reason.
- Our star shortstop got injured – again.
- The starting rotation is worst in the majors – again.
- The whole team has proven to be even more incompetent in the field than they are on the base paths.
- The pitching coach quit.
- The manager looks frustrated and exhausted, and he should quit.
- The GM sounds frustrated and exhausted, and he should also quit.
- The owner wrote an email to season-ticket holders, trying to sell them on ownership’s commitment to winning. He failed to persuade them. Dick should probably just sell the team instead.
And yet, Rockies fans can’t seem to resist flocking to Coors Field by the thousands. In fact, we rank 10th in total attendance this year, despite our team being more than 20 games under .500!
There are good reasons for that, too (which I’ll save for my next post).
But back in March, I thought this might be the season for us fans to rise up and demand a more active role in guiding the development of each of our major league baseball organizations.
So, I wrote this post and a few others questioning current ownership practices and structures. It was to be a rallying cry that similarly disenfranchised baseball fans could mobilize around: cross-country conversations on community ownership in “the year of the fan.”
Alas, it turned out to be more like a fart in the wind.
And so what was initially dubbed “The 2012 Pro Baseball Partnership Tour” actually ended up being a more laid-back and slightly awe-struck experience of various ballparks and lovely locals. I didn’t interview as many different people as I intended to and certainly not enough about initiating fans’ unions or community ownership models.
Honestly, it felt a little forced each time I brought up those topics with total strangers at the ballpark. Only after the games, in the bars, was there time and space for such conversations. But even then, talk ultimately drifted back to the diamond itself.
Naturally, pub conversations unfolded as freely and easily with clinically depressed Cubs fans as they did with
ex-convicts in Seattle. The die-hards in Denver and Oakland were only slightly more familiar with their home teams than the casual connoisseurs in San Francisco and Milwaukee were with theirs.
And nothing beat the big-city bitching coming from the nosebleed seats in Queens when Johan Santana didn’t get the call on his changeup,
“Auww, git outta heeeeuh!!!”
So, in another way, I guess this trip was about cross-country conversations in the year of the fan, after all.
Here’s one last look at the list of teams and fan bases we encountered, with a link to the story behind them…
Orioles – sights and sounds from cozy Camden Yards
Nationals – natitudinal adjustments had to be made in D.C.
Mets – too tragic for words; only these unforgettable images can capture another unmemorable loss in Queens:
The fact that we didn’t even get in to the final game of our tour – the true Battle Along the Beltway: Orioles vs. Nationals – seemed only fitting. After going 9 for 9 on our stadium tour, we finally struck out.
And perhaps that’s a metaphor for the sad fate of every baseball fan across America who brazenly wants to democratize the (un-) enlightened despotism inherent in current ownership models.
We’re always left on the outside looking in. Locked outside of decision-making processes and not permitted to hold positions of power or influence. Our role is to consume whatever products ownership sees fit to shove down our throats, while we pay them to do it.
Dr. Ken Reed, the sports policy director at the League of Fans, seemed interested in the initial partnership project from the get-go and encouraged those of us willing to pursue these ideas to take the next step.
I think a good goal would be to have fan representation on some type of advisory board for Rockies’ ownership. The fans’ voice needs to be at the table when decisions about the franchise are being made. Since the taxpayers built Coors Field and gave ownership a sweetheart lease, Rockies fans and taxpayers are essentially partners in the organization and should be treated as such.
Sounds like good advice to me.
And while this might be the final chapter in the “Touching Base with the Fans” series, with any luck it might turn out to be more than just another burp in the breeze.
What say you, Rockies fans…how much more losing can we bear to watch? Should we not start up a Fan’s Advisory Board for Rockies’ ownership? Let your voice be heard in the comment thread below.
Touching Base with the Fans (TBWTF): For the first seven weeks of the season, Kevin Kroh traveled across the country — from big city stadiums, to small town sandlots — chattering with baseball fans all over the nation on everything from the cold, hard facts of the stat sheet, to the utopian fantasies of community ownership models. With his trusty audio recorder and baseball-loving girlfriend at his side, he tried posting some unique perspectives from around the horn, and did his best to bring it all back home to the Rockies, in this year’s “Pro Baseball Partnership Tour: cross-country conversations in the Year of the Fan.”