Ode To The Fan

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About a year and a half ago I was asked to join the team at Shutdown Inning. I wrote an article on my own called “Being an Emotional Fan,” and Patrick Despain thought it was decent enough to be featured as an article for his website. A lot has changed since then. Am I still an emotional fan? Yes, I am always an emotional person. Have I learned much, much more about baseball since then? Absolutely. I’ve learned, however, because it is my job to report and analyze this team. I’ve learned more about stats and which player can do what. It is my job. Is it yours as a fan? No. It’s not. It’s your job, as a fan, to cheer for this team even in the unlikeliest situations. I’m begging you to continue to do so.
The 2013 Texas Rangers had numerous injuries. From Lance Berkman to Colby Lewis. The Rangers started with just two out of their five-man starting rotation. Ian Kinsler started out extremely hot, but then hit the disabled list. Mitch Moreland exceeded his expectations, but ended up with a costly injury. Lance Berkman even showed promise before his time spent injured. Then there was the case of David Murphy as the everyday starter in left field. It was an experiment. He got the chance, and he did not succeed. However, through all of that, the Rangers ended up with 91 wins this season. That is not a failure, and you should never see it as such. You’ve always believed in this team. I’m here to tell you to continue to do so.Was David Murphy your favorite player? It’s definitely okay if you answered yes. Murphy had a bad year, and people like me didn’t want to see him in the batter’s box anymore. People like me were uneasy when he came up to bat. People like you, the average fan, rooted for him to succeed even though you know he was struggling. You heard Chuck Morgan announce his name, and you stood up and cheered. Why? Because you wanted him to succeed. You wanted to see him hit homerun number 14. You’ve seen him come through before, and you wanted him to pull out of the slump. You rooted for the guy that was down. Never be ashamed of that.

Was Mitch Moreland your favorite player? It’s also okay if you answered yes to this one. Moreland has been criticized by numerous people throughout his time in the majors. He had to show what he could do this year. He came out swinging during the first two months of the season. He defied expectations. It was a small sample size, though, and he ended up coming back from an injury being the Mitch Moreland sabermatricians expected him to be. You still rooted for the guy you’ve seen hit bombs to the right field upper deck. You knew that he had it in him, and you wanted him to do that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in him.

Was Yu Darvish your favorite player? He should be. Darvish lead the Majors in strikeouts with 277. He was dominate in most of his games, yet he still managed to garner some criticism from the media. Darvish rarely received the run support he needed to record a win, yet managed to keep his opponents to a .193 average against him. He recorded an 11.89 K/9 during the 2013 season. He was amazing pitcher to watch, and an easy guy to root for. You should believe in him for years to come.

No matter who your favorite player was, you invested in the 2013 Texas Rangers. You went to games. You read SDI articles. You listened to criticism day in and day out, and still chose to root for this team. It is my job to detach from emotion and deliver the facts of the game. My collegues and I are the ones who have to tell you that David Murphy is not the best option against a left-handed pitcher, or during the 2013 season, any pitcher. It is your job to believe in a team. It is your job to understand that even though Mitch Moreland didn’t get on base as many times as I would have liked, he still hit 23 homeruns, and maybe this at-bat will be his 24th. Don’t lose that faith, Rangers fans. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong, because being a fan is a special thing. Being a fan means showing up even when they’ve lost eight straight games, because you know they’ll win the ninth. Being a fan means you love it. And when you love it, they love you. Your passion is what has allowed this team to continue to get better.

Keep on cheering, Rangers fans.

Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or  on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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