This list comes from an argument I had with a friend of mine, who was bemoaning something about his favorite team that may have just won the World Series last season.
It got me thinking.
Which fan groups have had it the toughest and the easiest? Which fans have been most fortunate to be fans of their teams? Which fans get the best experience, and the best performance from their respective clubs from year to year?
For arguments sake, I decided to look at teams success and stadiums from the last 20 years. Which fans must be forced to watch poor games in great stadiums, and which must watch great teams play in barely inhabited monoliths?
Here are fan bases 20-11
20.Tampa Bay Rays
To be fair, the Rays haven’t been around for two decades, but in their limited history they have only given their fans brief glimpses of success and a reason to watch.
Better times are ahead for the Rays, but until they get into their new stadium, their finances aren’t likely to allow them to match up with those many mentioned financial titans.
19. Chicago Cubs
Chicago Dogs are awesome. Wrigley Field is a historical monument.
The Cubs are kinda like the Washington Generals: Whomever the Cubs face in the regular season or playoffs always manages to play like the Harlem Globetrotters, and while the Cubs make it close, they never can seem to pull off a win.
This is year 103 since a championship. I’m so proud that so many fans still show up.
18. Cleveland Indians
The Indians had a multiyear sellout streak back when Jacobs Field, ahem Progressive field, opened up. Fans continue to come but certainly in lesser numbers in recent years.
I guess being the Chicago Cubs of the American League doesn’t inspire too much confidence in potential fair weather fans.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks
Another team with a short history. It’s a surprisingly rich one with an improbable championship in 2001. Since then, little has gone right for the Diamondbacks and their fans.
They are in contention this year, but when the home team fans are outnumbered by visiting fans, it kinda makes you think something might be a bit off.
16. Seattle Mariners
The Ichiroll is past its prime–so is Ichiro evidently.
Even when the Mariners won an astonishing 116 games in 2001, they couldn’t even make it to the World Series, let alone win it.
Times are better with Safeco than they were with the god awful kingdom, but without a potential Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriguez on their foreseeable horizon, their fans might have to put up with a max of three runs per game.
15. Detroit Tigers
Any team that has a recently opened stadium is going to rank decently high. Problem is, nearly every team has a stadium built over the past two decades.
The Tigers have not had great success other than a pennant in 2006. They looked on the verge of turning their franchise around after so many years of record-breaking failure.
I feel for Tigers fans and Detroit in general. I’m just going to say that something will fall the Tigers’ way sooner than later.
14. Minnesota Twins
1991 World Series, Kirby Puckett, Paul Molitor–these are a few of my favorite Twins things.
Also, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. A lot of stuff to be proud of and to watch for.
Just not this season. Yes, they hunkered down in their hefty bag bunker for a number of years, but it did give them a good home-field advantage and it let fans not sit in 40 degree weather. Definitely something to consider yourself fortunate for in Minnesota.
Target Field looks immaculate, and hopefully the talent will bounce back soon enough.
13. New York Mets
A team in New York shouldn’t be in financial trouble. A new stadium is supposed to usher an era of success and prosperity, not a fire sale.
Even before the whole Bernie Madoff, Mets go broke thing. It can’t be great to be a second class team in the nation’s biggest sports market.
The Mets had the chance to hold NY bragging rights in 2000, only to see it quickly snatched away. How many more years must the Flushing Meadows faithful wait for the Big Apple to be theirs?
12. Colorado Rockies
Maybe a bit high on the list, but the Rockies have a beautiful stadium, a good number of fans and tons of hitting.
Even when they weren’t good, it was always fun to go to a Rockies game, as long as you don’t like pitching. Prior to the humidor era, so many balls left the yard every single game.
Now although home runs are down, the team is exciting and worth watching. Now for that elusive championship.
11. Los Angeles Dodgers
I might be carrying a bit of their 1988 championship into this ranking. The Dodgers have always had a good deal of talent, many colorful characters and world class management.
Most of that has disappeared as of late, and Chavez Ravine has really lost its panache in recent years.
The Dodgers would be much lower if this were only the past few years.
Dodger Dogs, I knew I forgot something.
For Fan Bases 30-21
For the Top 10 Fan Bases