To a professional sports franchise, the best fans are like great pets. They never stray because they lack intellectual curiosity. They never ask for more than a little love and some food. They’re easily distracted by toys and other nonsense. Very simply, they are dumb, happy, and satisfied.
We do have some of those fans here in Seattle. Many, I’d imagine. But we also have a number of other fans. Different types of fans. Unique fans. Good fans, even. It’s time we examined those fans and looked within ourselves to find out who we truly are.
Below is a list of 11 fan profiles for your viewing pleasure. This isn’t just any list, though. It’s a list pertinent to our very region. These are Seattle sports fan profiles. They’re ours. And they’re amazing.
11. Disciples of Geoff Baker
These people hate their lives. They’re constantly under the impression that the sky is falling and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. They read everything Baker writes and treat it like gospel. He is their Jesus. Some of them don’t even like Geoff. Not at all. But they’re addicted to him like a bad smack habit, returning to get their fix — his take on the Mariners — time and again.
Trying to talk to a Disciple of Geoff Baker (DGB) is like interacting with a 13-year-old emo kid. A DGB will rarely, if ever, make direct eye contact with you. A DGB possesses the personality of Eeyore, wears dark clothing, and appears convinced that a doomed fate is inevitable. DGBs need help, but don’t ever seek it out. You, in turn, want to help these people but simply don’t know how. Questions you’ll find yourself asking DGBs are along the following lines:
-Can I take you to a rehab clinic?
-Can I offer to pay for your counseling?
-Have you confided in friends or loved ones?
-You’re not cutting yourself, are you?
DGBs aren’t bad people. They just happen to belong to a cult founded upon negativity. Can they be saved? Yes. Will anyone step up and save them? That remains to be seen.
10. Irrational Imbecile
The Irrational Imbecile is both crazy and stupid, hence the name. He does not have a clue about life in general, let alone sports. He may or may not have graduated college. Hell, he may or may not have graduated high school. He loves Seattle teams, but he also hates Seattle teams; his opinion changes from one minute to the next.
The Irrational Imbecile has never had an original thought that wasn’t borderline insane. He calls into sports radio shows and yells, then goes online to message boards and misspells the shit out of everything he vomits onto his keyboard. He wants everyone to see things his way, but that would be impossible because “his way” is about as clear as mud.
The Irrational Imbecile is a complete idiot, but no one has the stones to tell him that for fear he might kill them. He is a danger to society. He should be forbidden to procreate, but unless he donates at the sperm bank that shouldn’t be a problem because no one will ever attempt to conceive with him.
It’s okay. He won’t ever read this. He doesn’t like to read. It’s like we’re communicating in code right now. He has no idea this is happening.
9. Irrational Imbecile Who Doesn’t Know He’s An Irrational Imbecile
Unlike the Irrational Imbecile before him, the Irrational Imbecile Who Doesn’t Know He’s An Irrational Imbecile is the most dangerous of the most dangerous. He is convinced that he’s a genius and is determined to push his agenda on everyone else. He may have (ahem) a blog, or at least (ahem) post his thoughts on Twitter or Facebook on a daily basis. But no matter what it takes, he shares his stupid thoughts with as many people as he possibly can, whenever he can possibly do it.
The thing about the Irrational Imbecile Who Doesn’t Know He’s An Irrational Imbecile, he knows like twelve big words. He doesn’t necessarily know what those twelve big words mean, but he likes to use them to sound smarter than he really is. He’s a lot like ESPN’s Mark May. If he can present things in a way that sounds good, he may be able to distract you into thinking he’s not as stupid as he really is. Don’t be fooled. This person is just as crazy as the yelling, ranting, raving Irrational Imbecile. He just packages his irrationality in a nicely-wrapped gift box.
The Irrational Imbecile Who Doesn’t Know He’s An Irrational Imbecile likes to engage in online warfare with accredited media members. He’ll challenge writers, radio personalities, and TV newscasters alike, all in an attempt to prove he is more knowledgeable than they are about sports, and therefore more qualified to possess their career in the industry. Never mind that he lacks people skills. He has no idea what those are, so they have become irrelevant. His goal is simple: fight media member online, announce triumph over media member online, get attention for fighting media member online, impress media member’s boss by having won this fight, get hired by major media outlet to cover sports, marry hot chick. Every day of his miserable existence is spent pursuing this goal. He will never achieve it. He will never even come close. In his mind, though, he is a superhero. And maybe that’s really all that matters.
8. Disciples of Dave Cameron
A Disciple of Dave Cameron (DDC) is incredibly matter-of-fact. So matter-of-fact, in fact, that you want to kick his ass for being as matter-of-fact as he in fact is. Does that all make sense?
DDCs have a tendency to visit USSMariner.com on an hourly basis, reading the occasional USSM article, but mostly showing up to weigh in on comment threads. DDCs are normal enough on the surface. Underneath their average exteriors, however, they own a burning desire to be perfect. DDCs aren’t sports fans so much as they are information junkies. Their day is made when stats are laid out neatly in front of them and numbers are used to draw a conclusion. This makes their world go ’round.
DDCs are creatures of habit and routine. They wake up at the same time each morning. They go to bed at the same time each night. In between, they press their slacks, starch their shirts, pack their lunches, go to work (same route each day, regardless of traffic patterns), pencil-push at their desk jobs, spend five minutes at the water cooler, laugh heartily at small-talk jokes with coworkers, unpack their lunches, eat their lunches, use the bathroom after eating their lunches, pencil-push some more, come home, kiss their wives, watch world news, tuck their one-and-a-half children into bed, kiss their wives again, go to sleep, and begin anew the next day. These aren’t opinions. They are facts. Science has proven them. This is a matter of fact. Just as DDCs, themselves, are products of matter-of-factitude.
Are they boring? Yes, DDCs are rather boring. Are they smart? Yes, quite smart. Are they annoying? I can’t quite put my figure on why they’re annoying, but (as a matter of fact) they kind of are.
7. Storm Fans
Well. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
Here, I’ll give you a blank. You can fill it in with your own explanation. Like Mad Libs. Enjoy.
Storm fans are _____________________.
6. Casual Businessman Transplant
The Casual Businessman Transplant (CBT) didn’t arrive in Seattle until at least age 18, and in many cases not until after college. He migrated for one of three reasons: school, work, or wife. He either went to college in the area, had his job relocated here, or married a Seattleite who wanted to be closer to her family. He had some say in the move, but he’s a fairly passive individual and really wouldn’t have cared if he ended up here or anywhere else. He’s a businessman. He’s casual. He’s whatever, ya know?
The CBT couldn’t care less about the local teams, but he does have a good deal of generic sports knowledge. He watches SportsCenter semi-regularly. He’s up-to-date on all the current events. He has an opinion on Tim Tebow. He’s likable, but not overly-likable. He’s quiet, but not too quiet. He can speak on almost any subject, from the weather, to politics, to the hot college intern in Human Resources. He’s a guy’s guy. He drinks beer. But not too much beer.
If you ever have an extra ticket to a game, the CBT will definitely take it. He’s good for things like that. He’ll sit with you for two or three hours and keep the conversation going, as per usual. He won’t really cheer or anything. He won’t cause a scene. He’ll wear neutral colors. He’ll buy you a drink for inviting him. He won’t wow you. You won’t make a habit of inviting the CBT to games with you in the future. A year from now, you’ll forget you even went to a game with him at all. Which is good and bad, I suppose.
He’s like the color taupe, a quality umpire, or Eddie Murphy’s singing career: you hardly notice he’s there at all. That’s the CBT. And for the record, I crammed him into the middle of this article so you wouldn’t remember him. You’re welcome.
5. Jet Setting Hipster
Contrary to popular belief, not all coffee-shop-dwelling, beard-doting, skinny-jeans-wearing, bespectacled, bike-riding hipsters are anti-sports. Some are jet setters. Some appreciate a bout of athletics from time to time. Some wear slim-fitting Mariners apparel every now and then. These sports fans are known as Jet Setting Hipsters. And they are abundant here in our rainy climate.
Your typical Jet Setting Hipster lives in the hills: Capitol Hill, First Hill, Queen Anne Hill, etc. He is working on his fifth Masters’ Degree in a field that matters to no one outside of academia. He is a pompous, friendless ass, but he means well. He spends most of his time sampling Americanos and Espressos and Mochaccinos. He smells funny and shops at the Goodwill. Not because he can’t afford to shop elsewhere. It’s a matter of principle, you see. This is just what Jet Setting Hipsters do.
He owns a Sonics shirt, a Sounders shirt, and a retro Mariners cap. He wears the shirts beneath his Patagonia fleece, often in tandem with his cap. He remembers Shawn Kemp from his childhood, hence he’s a “true fan.” He also goes to games occasionally. But only on nights when the homework load is light.
He’s pushing 30 and he has no plans for a career. He has a girlfriend who he sees every other weekend; she is also a hipster, but not a jet setter. If all goes well, she will one day be a high school counselor. For now, though, she’s a barista. That’s part of why he likes her.
He doesn’t have a job. He has various forms of financial aid and a rich father who he doesn’t tell people about. He likes to pretend he makes his way on his own, but the trust fund doesn’t hurt. He’s just anti-trust fund, you see. It goes along with the Goodwill shopping, et al.
He laments the Sonics leaving. He didn’t really petition for them to stay or anything. But Starbucks represents The Man, and The Man is bad. The Man stole those Sonics. It’s a travesty. Plus, his girlfriend works at Caffe Ladro. So, you know.
He is a man of mystery, this Jet Setting Hipster. That is to say, he was a man of mystery. Mystery solved.
4. South End Seahawks Fan
A running punch line on local sports radio, the South End Seahawks Fan is a special breed of human being who deserves an entry on this list all his own.
First, and most obviously, he is from the South End. The geography of the South End extends north of, say, Centralia, and runs all the way up to the east-west line that connects Bellevue to Seattle. There are a handful of reputable do-gooders who live in this precise region. I, myself, happen to have settled (at least temporarily) in Renton. But the South End Seahawks Fan? He’s a special guy. And you gotta love him.
He is loud, your South End Seahawks Fan. He is proud, as well. He will paint his face blue, scream for hours on end, and essentially allow his entire world to revolve around the Seahawks. He drinks to the Hawks, prays to the Hawks, bleeds for the Hawks…let’s face it, he basically is the Hawks.
He is no savant, your South End Seahawks Fan. That’s just a fact of life. He likely won’t ever beat you in Jeopardy or anything. He’d get schooled in book-reading and fact-finding by your Jet Setting Hipster. But what he lacks in intellect he atones for in passion. That is something the Jet Setting Hipster could never understand. He’s got spirit, that South End Seahawks Fan. He quit his job once to go to the Super Bowl. He divorced his first and second wives for season tickets in the Hawks Nest. He puts blue food coloring in his Natural Ice before drinking it. He defines devotion. He has a picture of Kenny Easley tattooed on his left buttock. He’s as hard as they come.
When the Seahawks win, he wins. When the Seahawks lose, a part of him dies inside. He takes defeat harder than any player ever has. He doesn’t know why. He just does. And if you can’t understand that, well, that’s too bad.
The South End Seahawks Fan. Holding it down from Kent to Lacey and all points in between. Represent.
3. Disciples of Softy Mahler
They would kill a Cougar fan. Seriously. They’d do it. Don’t test them! They’d do it!!! Or, at least, you know, they say they would.
They are all things purple and gold. They are the University of Washington’s proudest fans. They graduated from I.T.T. Tech with an AA in searching the web, but come on. You don’t have to go to the school to be a part of the school, you know? Alumnus. What does that word even mean? It’s a stupid word. It’s like…French, or something. France sucks, anyway.
It’s comfortable inside the box where they do most of their thinking. Give me two choices, they say, and I’ll take one. Gun to your head: Bishop Sankey at running back OR a hot meatball sandwich? GUN TO YOUR HEAD!!! YOU CAN ONLY HAVE ONE!!! DO YOU REALIZE THE CRITICAL NATURE OF THE QUESTION??!! I don’t think you do. Amateur.
Disciples of Softy Mahler (DSM) like loud noises. If they had ever studied poetry, they would be purveyors of onomatopoeia. BOOM! CRASH! WHAM! SQUIRREL! Oh yeah. They also get distracted easily. Some of them have various forms of A.D.D. Hence the squirrel.
They don’t like Oregon. We can all respect that.
They’re up on their recruiting news. They basically know where every kid age 12 or older may one day be going to college. They’re just invested like that.
DSMs also have a really weird affinity for Kevin Harlan. It’s kind of hard to explain, but every time they hear his voice on play-by-play, they kind of get aroused.
They often yell at work. Yelling at work is underrated.
Sometimes they get so sidetracked, they can’t even complete their — Squirrel!
To your typical Eastsider, Seattle may as well be Siberia. Cross a lake to get to a game? That doesn’t sound very enjoyable, let alone efficient. We already do it five times a week for work. Isn’t that enough?
Eastsiders are not exactly motivated by the fact that they have comfortable SUVs to ride in, or the financial wherewithal to travel to and from games by Lear jet, if so desired. No, for Eastsiders, it’s all about martyrdom. Eastsiders love to bitch and moan and be negatively impacted by the positive world around them. It’s why they listen to rap music and watch movies about gang warfare. They like to pretend they’re going through the struggle, too. Except, well, they’re not.
The Eastsider treats ballgames like social events. He throws on his logo-embroidered Cutter & Buck windbreaker and treks over to Safeco Field to mingle with business associates and engage in forced conversation all evening long. He enjoys a genuine ballpark hot dog and sips on $10 stadium microbrew. He has a small dose of fun, but he’ll never admit this. Owning up to a good time would reduce the aforementioned martyrdom. Games are supposed to be an inconvenience. He’s just doing this to make partner, anyway.
1. The Committed
In the past five years, he has been to Starbucks once. He really had to take a leak. So he walked into the men’s bathroom, pissed on the wall, unrolled all the toilet paper, carved “Save Our Sonics” into the mirror, and walked out.
He once camped out for a regular-season Mariners game. And it wasn’t a bobblehead night.
He owns a game-worn Jack Perconte jersey. Signed by Jack Perconte, too. But he doesn’t frame it. He wears it to bed.
He has sworn on his mother’s grave that if he ever came across David Stern — EVER! — he would kick “that motherf**king punk-ass motherf**king bitch” in the balls with no fear of retribution. His friends believe him. They’ve already started a collection to pay his legal fees should it ever go down as promised.
He has season tickets to the Seahawks. He eats ramen four nights out of the week just to afford his seat in the nosebleed section, five-yard line.
He graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in BS. It was his dream to be a Dawg. He didn’t have a plan. He’s still paying his student loans. He’s pushing 50.
His congressman gets a hand-written letter from him every day. Most days, it has to do with arena funding. Some days, he changes it up. He once wrote a letter about the problems associated with the Wing-T offense, for example. He has not yet received a single letter back.
His AIM screen name was SeattleSportsFan. Notice it has no digits attached. He was that good.
He made $10 million off a tech startup in 1999. He blew much of the money on a cross-country, year-long road trip following every Seattle team to every out-of-state destination on the map. He blew the rest of the money on a failed investment in a professional jai alai league that would have been headquartered in Seattle. He really likes jai alai. He wanted the best for his city.
He is the committed Seattle sports fan. He is one of us. He is part of all of us. He may or may not exist. But he is a figment of our imagination that we, as sports fans ourselves, can all admire.