Taking Off The Fan Hat: Cheering For The Name On The Front Of The Jersey

I am a Pittsburgh Pirates Fan; always have been. In my 35 years of cheering on the Buccos there have been ups and downs, players have come and gone, ownership has changed hands, a new park has been built and another was torn down and through it all I have persevered. Always trying to keep the faith, while remaining somewhat grounded, which is not easy to do as a fan. From time to time I have found myself pulling for a guy that I knew in my heart of hearts was not going to pan out. I have tried to will myself into believing that if he gets just one more shot, things will turn somehow be different. There have been prospects who gave me hope, only to be disappointed yet again.

Now I am not going to lie, there have been some moments of excitement, when everything looked like it was going to work out for the team as a whole as well as some of the individual players who I have put my faith in, but for the most part this has been the exception, not the rule. This has given me perspective to draw from; as a fan of the Pirates and a fan of baseball in general. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a step back and look at the player from a different lens; not as a fan, but from an analytical perspective because statistics are clear, concise and can’t be influenced by emotion.

Before you get too angered by what seems like me telling you how to be a fan, take a breath. You can be any type of fan you want to be, cheer for any player for a reason you see fit to and hope for the success of the team, along with your favorite guys. Just don’t take it the wrong way when I point out what I see as some of your misconceptions and clouded emotional views because in the end we both want the same thing, a winning team to return to Pittsburgh. There might just be a different path to achieving this and some of the guys who we have fallen in love with may not be a part of this.

Go ahead and get excited about a nice play or hit, but don’t let this become the entire narrative. Sometimes this reaction is our way of trying to prove that we were right about a particular player. However, if this is the only evidence you have in your favor, the argument you are trying to make doesn’t hold much water. It is only prolonging the inevitable, which is a career that does not reach the potential we have imagined or hoped for. Take each player’s overall performance at face value in order to be fair and objective in your assessments. It will save you a lot of pain, agony and frustration, possibly with me, if the player you like doesn’t end up being exactly what you want them to be.

The same can be said for player’s who outperform our expectations. Don’t try to hold them back just because your initial impression was incorrect and they may be taking a job from your favorite player. Be happy that they are helping your team perform well or at the very least giving them a fighting chance. As it usually is with a team that is building/rebuilding/refreshing, players could be constantly changing and the vision for the future will be continuously evolving and we as fans need to be open and willing to move along with it.

Published by Craig W. Toth

Former Contributing Author at InsidethePirates.com, Co-Host of the Bucs in the Basement Podcast and life-long/diehard Pittsburgh Pirates Fan!

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