Cranks and Kranks

From time to time I refer to the constant complainers on Angels fan boards as “cranks.” These people act as if they know more about the game than professionals in the business for decades, that they know the most intimate details of trade offers and player contracts, that the owner has an infinite sum of money to spend, etc., ad nauseum.

Occasionally, I’ll see one of those people post (on another board, apparently lacking the courage to directly respond here) that they object to my use of the word “crank.”

Reading an article today, I ran across the term “krank” which was defined as a term used to describe baseball fans around the turn of the last century.

So I did a Google search on krank and came up with this:

Once the favored term for spectators at sporting events, a term latter supplanted by “fans”. By implication, the “kranks in the bleaching boards” think they know more about the sport than do its participants.

“Crank” was given as an alternate spelling and used as an example in this sentence:

“A crank is defined as a man who cannot be turned.” —Nature, 8 Nov 1906

Hmmm …

A Wikipedia entry has this to say:

The term "krank" (or crank) is a now-obsolete term for baseball fans in particular, and also carried much the same connotation as both "fanatic" and "fancy", of devoted attachment to something, in this case a team.

So that’s where the term came from.

And it certainly seems legitimate for me to use it.





    Mr. Smith:

    Your website is wonderful and helpful. Please accept my sincere thanks for a well-constructed and very informative effort. I do want to say that you may be unfairly labeling those who see things differently than you. You have in fact resorted to petty name-calling and in this spirit, I must not resist from pointing out that you betray your own lack of learning by your utterly predictable misspelling of ad nauseam. Please be more careful about telling others that they “can not be turned,” lest you forget about the beam in your own eye. Again, many thanks for a stellar website.


  2. Stephen

    JD, I have to point out that you’re confusing disagreement with self-inflicted ignorance.

    I have no problem with someone who wants to disagree, so long as it’s based on the facts. Show me a fact that proves me wrong — i.e. the spelling of ad nauseam — and I’m more than willing to correct myself.

    I’ve made it very clear that my criticism of people who are “cranks” refers to those whose egotism won’t allow them to realize that maybe they don’t know everything in the world about baseball. You need only spend five minutes on the Angels fan forum to see many examples of this.

    Do you really think I should respect someone who writes, “Bill Stoneman should be fired because he could have got A-Rod for cheap but wouldn’t pull the trigger!!!!!” Be honest. That’s just plain dumb.

    I could give you many other examples, e.g. the people who post “SEASON OVER” threads just because the Angels lose a couple games in a row. Or the guy who posted a thread claiming that “Mickey Hatcher forces the minor leaguers to hack.” Or the people who repeatedly post the falsehood claiming the Angels “released” Bobby Jenks even though I’ve given them the facts over and over. (Jenks was being moved off the 40-man roster to the Triple-A roster and was claimed by the White Sox on waivers.)

    The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. One big reason got started years ago was to present people with information unavailable elsewhere — photos, interviews, video. The idea is to present people with the facts, let them see and hear for themselves, so they can make an educated opinion without being fed pablum like they get on so many other sites.

    But some people *want* to be fed pablum, because it’s easy and simple and they don’t have to think for themselves.

    Exhibit A: the Mason and Ireland show on KSPN 710 AM weekday afternoons here in L.A. These guys are on a crusade to get Stoneman fired. Swear to God, back in May-June when the Angels had the best record in baseball, these guys demanded that Arte Moreno fire Stoneman — quote — “to show Angels fans he’s serious about winning.” They proceeded to take phone calls from people who swallowed whole this pablum.

    I’m going to speak out against stupidity. Make a cogent argument and we’ll talk all day long.


    Stephen (may I?):

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. Your misspelling ad nauseam was an admittedly petty criticism on my part. I did so to prove a larger point. I believe that in your zeal to crusade against baseball ignorance, you often commit the same faults of those whom you criticize. If you can easily find posts by those who mindlessly call for Stoneman’s firing, I’m sure a little extra effort will find posts that offer more substantial criticisms. I think you have a habit of picking on especially bad arguments and/or comments. You are bright and well-read in baseball issues and more value would come from your selecting more worthy opponents. For instance, the forums you cite should probably be avoided altogether.

    If someone claims that Stoneman should be fired, or at least is not doing a very good job, he may have a point. Yes, he needs to argue his point. But his complaining alone does not constitute him as a “crank.” My goodness, it is every baseball fan’s natural right to complain about his team according to the dictates of his own conscience. That must be half the fun of being a fan! I just want to make fair distinctions.

    Again, your website is a great service. Keep it up!


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