By Frank Portillo
With the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, a lot of bandwagon fans have come out of nowhere.
The sea of blue and white jerseys, shirts, hats and even car flags is impossible to escape and begs the question: “Where were all of these fans before the success of the Dodgers?”
The term fanatic is subjective.
The definition of what constitutes one as a sports fan varies from person to person and is tough to define.
Is one a fan simply because they belong in the same community as the team, or does it take more involvement from the people who call themselves fans?
According to Google, a fanatic is a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.
The definition that Google provides shows why many of the people wearing Dodgers gear should be considered fake fans.
The average fan should, at the very least, be able to identify the starting players and their respective positions on the team.
Being obsessively interested in something requires a degree of knowledge on the subject.
Not knowing the players involved can be an embarrassing situation for people who call themselves fans.
How can one root for a team without being aware of who they’re rooting for?
Some would argue that there are simply varying degrees of fandom. Casual fans will tune in every now and then but don’t know any of the players involved.
Then there are fans who pride themselves on knowing the history of the team. These fans keep up with all the news related to the team.
It is hard to keep up with the changes that occur season to season, especially as a full-time college student that also works full-time hours.
But why do people not show support for their teams despite their success? Perhaps they aren’t true fans.
This bandwagon phenomena must all stem from the feeling of being a member of a community.
The feeling of belonging is powerful and it creates the sheep-herd mentality that drives bandwagon fans.
Wanting to fit in and be cool is what drives the sudden embrace of a sport franchise.
It has maintained a large fan base despite its 29-year championship drought, but is suddenly fashionable.
Take the Los Angeles Lakers as an example.
The team is going through a rebuilding phase and it’s rare to see a Lakers jersey these days.
If they were contenders for the title, the degree of fandom would be different.
At the pinnacle of their success, bandwagon fans rejoiced in their sense of belonging, but are nowhere to be seen when times get tough.
Since when did a team’s championship become synonymous with rioting?
Any time a professional Los Angeles team wins a championship, bandwagon fans take to Whittier Boulevard in celebration to rock people’s cars back and forth as they drive down the street.
Half the people celebrating can’t even name half of the lineup.
The “fans” that make the evening news because of their shenanigans give actual fans a bad name.