What Mickey Hatcher Really Does – Part Five

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Ben Bolch writes today about the cranks’ favorite punching bag, in an article with the opening line:

"So, what do you have to say about Mickey Hatcher now?"

The fact of the matter is that the Angels have one of the better offenses in baseball.

After batting .315 with 12 homers and averaging six runs during a 10-game homestand, the Angels packed even heavier lumber for their interleague trip. They scored 10 runs Friday and then piled it on again Saturday night with a 9-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium …

"There’s critics all over the world, and it’s funny that they want to get rid of half of these guys and do all this stuff, and now these guys are producing," Hatcher said.

What about the criticism directed at Hatcher?

"I can’t get caught up in that," he said. "I just do my job. I work my [tail] off, and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. Those guys in that room over there [in the clubhouse], they determine what your future is going to be."

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that some people who call themselves "fans" really aren’t. They’re customers. They put down their money and expect a certain type of entertainment in return. Professional baseball, let’s face it, is entertainment. It’s no different from going to the movies or the theatre or a concert. If the movie stinks, you’ll complain about it. You might even ask for your money back. You’ll criticize the actors or the writing or the director.

There’s nothing wrong with being a customer, but a customer is different from being a fan.

The dictionary definition of "fan" says nothing about demanding someone lose his job because you were insufficiently entertained. Here’s a definition of "fan" from Dictionary.com which quotes many different published dictionaries:

fan noun an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.

I don’t see anything about bashing or strident demands in that definition.

A "fan," in my opinion, goes beyond simply demanding quality entertainment for your dollar. It isn’t about you. It’s about the team. It’s easy to root for a team when they’re winning. It’s not so easy when the times are tough.

That’s what I love about Arkansas Travelers fans. I’ve been coming here since 2001, and every time I’m in town I’m impressed by how supportive and positive these fans are. Sure, there are exceptions (mostly people hiding behind their modems), but for the most part the only time I hear Travs fans boo the home team is when they fail to hustle or make a bone-headed move. These fans are pretty baseball savvy, so they know when someone failed to execute. But if there’s a sincere effort, they’ll support their players, win or lose. So long as they try.

In any case, the "Fire Hatcher!" crowd have crawled back into the woodwork, because they’re getting value for their dollar. That’s their right. But they’re not fans. In my opinion.

Previous entries in this series:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


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