Bandwagoners vs new fans

Fall is an exciting time to be a Toronto sports fan. The Blue Jays secured their wildcard spot this past weekend. The Raptors are gearing up for another season after reaching the conference finals last season. The Leafs’ exhibition games are underway with a coach who is coming hot off a win at the World Hockey Championship.

The Blue Jays and the Raptors are the only Canadian teams in the MLB and NBA respectively, so they truly are “Canada’s teams” when it comes to baseball and basketball. Toronto is also the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are one of the greatest sports franchises of all time. Now that the Leafs finally have a decent coach with a good head on his shoulders, playoff hockey may be closer than we think.

It’s no doubt that there’s any reason to be an excited fan in Toronto and as October baseball quickly approaches, I can’t help but wonder how many bandwagon fans are going to drop by the mall to pick up a Jays hat and start cheering on the boys of summer.

The hype around sports teams can bring in new fans that fall into two different categories, which I consider to be the bandwagon fans and the new fans.

There is a big difference between a band wagon fan and a new fan. If you’re that guy that watches Toronto playoff games and then, upon seeing the team lose, begins to remark “typical Toronto sports club,” or “classic Leafs,” you are the exact person that every true sports fan hates.

If you choose to cheer for a sports team, then don’t dismiss them with snide comments when things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Only supporting a team when they win is comparable to being in a relationship and only liking your partner when they’re doing something nice for you.

If that’s how you operate, you’re not a good person and don’t deserve the joys that come with a successful sports win.

On the other hand, I strongly welcome and encourage new fans who are just starting to discover their love of the sport, whether it be baseball, football, hockey, or any other.

Over the past several years, Toronto teams really haven’t given us a reason to support them. The Jays haven’t won a world series since before I was born, the Leafs only recently broke their record setting playoff drought and the Raptors, for much of my life, haven’t provided much in the way of post-season entertainment.

Despite the Leafs’ complete lack of success during my lifetime, I was brought up watching hockey and cheering for the Leafs. If someone else grew up in a family that didn’t watch hockey, then I surely can’t blame them for not wanting to support a losing team.

However, when things start to go well, naturally, people start to become intrigued. If someone hasn’t inherited a love for a team, but suddenly wants to explore a sport that their city is dominating in, I say go for it.

So with the MLB playoffs around the corner, I extend an invitation to give the sport a chance and see if watching baseball is something you find enjoyable. However, if you’re going to be making sarcastic remarks and chirping the real fans at the first sign of trouble, then do everyone a favor and don’t bother watching at all.

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