“At the ballpark or even in front of the television, fans are, for the interlude of a few hours, different from whom they are in everyday life. … In the drama that is a baseball game the fan imagines himself not a spectator but a participant, as if the fervor of his rooting will have a bearing on the outcome.” ~ John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball
Sometime in the 1880s or so, newspapers started to mention baseball “fans” and “cranks” and “rooters.” Before that, who knows what they called the men (and they were mostly men) who would sit and watch the other men (and they were mostly men, too) play baseball.
Ty Cobb unkindly called fans “bugs,” but he didn’t have a good word to say about anyone.
Umpires might argue that today’s fans can be rowdy at times, but all in all, fans are a pretty…
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