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Monday, June 29, 2009

Calcaterra—Yankees and Mets fans are unimaginative

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner was at the Mets-Yankees game last night, and he wonders why Yankees and Mets fans are so darn economically inefficient when it comes to their cheers and taunts:

A pattern quickly emerged. The many Yankees fans regularly broke into their thunderous cheer: “Let’s go Yankees!” (clap-clap-clap-clap … clap-clap). If you are a Yankees fan (we are; but we do not hate the Mets), this was a sign of what might be called prideful hubris, or maybe hubristic pride: we can come into your stadium and rock it very, very hard.

How’d the Mets fans respond? Succinctly. In the space where the Yankees fans did their rhythmic clapping, Mets fans shouted “Yankees suck!” . . .This pattern was repeated all night. What surprised me is that neither side found a way to improve their effort. I kept waiting for the Yankees fans to fill in their clapping with some chanting that couldn’t be hijacked by the Mets fans, and I kept waiting for the Mets fans to either be proactive in their chanting or to move beyond “Yankees suck!” But neither side budged . . . I fear not that we are teaching our children to be coarse but that we are teaching them to be uncreative and unskilled in the use of game theory.

I can think of no greater indictment of the new expensive ballparks in New York than the fact that they have priced out one of the greatest forces of nature in the universe: verbally abusive, yet incredibly clever New York baseball fans.

Fat Al Posted: June 29, 2009 at 03:54 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, yankees

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3236662)
Who are the cleverest fans in baseball?
   2. The District Attorney Posted: June 29, 2009 at 04:49 PM (#3236668)
Mets fans are unimaginative
Oh, yeah?? YOU'RE unimaginative!!!

I do object to chanting "Yankees suck." That just adds to the little brother syndrome. "Let's go Mets", that's what's important.
   3. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: June 29, 2009 at 04:52 PM (#3236670)
Florida Marlins fans, if only because I am one.

Actually, the rarity of Marlins fans only helps my cause. Further fans would dilute my cleverness contribution. So, yes, the Marlins have the cleverest fans because they have the Barry Bonds of clever fans: Me.

Finally, the only way a team could have a higher cleverness factor is if I invented a team and cheered for it as its only fan. That would be the platonic ideal of a clever fan base.
   4. The District Attorney Posted: June 29, 2009 at 04:53 PM (#3236671)
I must say, that demonstrated imaginativeness.
   5. PepTech Posted: June 29, 2009 at 05:02 PM (#3236682)
teaching them to be uncreative and unskilled in the use of game theory.


How about we run both sets of fans through the Prisoner's Dilemma?
   6. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 29, 2009 at 05:05 PM (#3236686)
I have often thought that there were a lot of possibilities for coordinated chanting/cheering. But it all seems so droll. For all its datedness, the FSU/Braves tomahawk chant is at least a little out of the box, and can be intimidating if the crowd is really into it. But a fan base shouldn't limit itself to one chant. With the growth of fan sites and wireless internet, it seems like there should be greater capability for coordination. Wouldn't it be neat to text message to every fan in the stands (in actuality, reaching a few percent would usually suffice) that now we are doing chant 17?

Also, one of the things to keep in mind is that silence can be more effective than noise. A full-throated cheer followed by dead silence would be really cool.
   7. RJ in TO Posted: June 29, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3236693)
Who are the cleverest fans in baseball?


Nats fans. They're smart enough to realise that their ownership is a joke, the team stinks, and there's no point in paying to watch the team play.
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 29, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3236698)
Who are the cleverest fans in baseball?


Nats fans. They're smart enough to realise that their ownership is a joke, the team stinks, and there's no point in paying to watch the team play.

You've got a point there, but it's also possible that the Nats fan base exists only in Thomas Boswell's imagination or in a Douglas Wallop novel. And it's entirely possible that the 876 known MASN viewers for Nats games are nothing but channel surfers who happened to be passing through when the Nielson meter kicked in.
   9. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: June 29, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3236743)
Wouldn't it be neat to text message to every fan in the stands (in actuality, reaching a few percent would usually suffice) that now we are doing chant 17?

I rarely text, so I don't know the answer to this. Can you text a broad range of people? Or do you actually have to have all of them in your phone's address book? This seems like an ideal situation for Twitter. But I don't know if there's a delay in Twitter. This only works if everyone gets the message at the same time.
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 29, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3236754)
Wouldn't it be neat to text message to every fan in the stands (in actuality, reaching a few percent would usually suffice) that now we are doing chant 17?

Wouldn't it be easier and more efficient to just get with the team and put something on the scoreboard? (Granted this would nix anything that wasn't fairly vanilla and inoffensive, but still...)
   11. adamadkins Posted: June 29, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3236757)
I think the author is forgetting the all-powerful effect of alcohol in this situation. Frankly, I'm shocked the fans in the stands even knew where they were.
   12. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 29, 2009 at 07:01 PM (#3236854)
I think every team's fan base should send over an ambassador/trainee to learn from the British soccer/football fans.
Those guys know how to organize a fan base for chants, songs, flares, chair throwing, beatdowns and general rioting.

I kid, but they do really have good chanting/singing in the stands. I went to catch a B-level game (Charlton Athletic, before they got demoted another level) and they were quite good.
   13. Jay Seaver Posted: June 29, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3236868)
From what I recall watching the Sox/A's opening in Japan last year - and more or less every story I've seen since - we North American fans could all learn a little something from the Japanese. Whether you talk the massively co-ordinated stadium chants, the guys sticking up for Bobby V, or the tossing Colonel Sanders into the river, they all seem wonderfully nuts and enthusiastic.
   14. TerpNats Posted: June 29, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3236873)
Who are the cleverest fans in baseball?
Red Sox fans. Just ask them.
   15. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 29, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3236916)
Either this guy is dumb or the chanting traditions of the late 90s and early 2000s had died out. Back when the Subway Series first started stretching through the REAL Subway Series in 2000, Yankee fans adapted to chanting "Let's go Yankees" and then \"#### the Mets!" in the space where the Mets fans would chant "Yankees suck" or "Let's go Mets"
   16. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: June 29, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3236943)
Nats fans. They're smart enough to realise that their ownership is a joke, the team stinks, and there's no point in paying to watch the team play.

Oakland A's fans have got us outwitted to the tune of around 5,000 fans per game on the same list of criteria!
   17. Zeba Zeba Eata Posted: June 29, 2009 at 10:35 PM (#3237088)
I can think of no greater indictment of the new expensive ballparks in New York than the fact that they have priced out one of the greatest forces of nature in the universe: verbally abusive, yet incredibly clever New York baseball fans.



This had been going on for years at Shea; the new ballpark has nothing to do with it.
   18. Mattbert Posted: June 30, 2009 at 10:55 AM (#3237526)
I think every team's fan base should send over an ambassador/trainee to learn from the British soccer/football fans.

One thing footie has going for it in this regard is that the supporters know they've only got 90 minutes of cheering, chanting, and singing to do, come hell or high water. Maintaining that level of enthusiasm (and volume) for a ballgame that will usually clock in at 150-200% of the duration of an EPL match would be a tall order indeed.

That said, we Americans could certainly learn a thing or two about fandom from our colonial oppressors. I am as proud of the Fenway atmosphere as anyone, but it doesn't hold a candle to a good footie ground of comparable capacity. It's not even close. The singing and chanting that goes on over here is a bit like the "Sweet Caroline" experience at Fenway...for 45 minutes at a time.

Some of the more common chants would be easily adaptable to baseball games as well. "Can we play you every week?" would be perfect for Sox fans to break out during Yankee games this year. There's also "Are you [insert name of rubbish team or player here] in disguise?" when the opposing team or star player is having a bad game. For NL fans, "Are you the Nationals in disguise?" would be a beauty.

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