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
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.