Starr: Justice for the baseball bandwagon

From Gabrielle Starr at The Hardball Times on October 30, 2019:

When did the word “bandwagon” become a bad thing? Its origins in the 19th century, the combining of the words “band” and “wagon,” were innocent enough: a wagon used for carrying a band in a parade, circus, or procession. But its meaning has morphed into supporting a cause or activity that is currently or already popular, and on sports social media in particular, being called a “bandwagoner” is equivalent to being a fake fan. It means you’re probably watching a team or rooting for a player only because they’re good now — as opposed to the pure intentions implied by following one team and one team only through thick and thin. As if it isn’t human nature — and animal nature, for that matter — to be easily distracted by shiny new things.

But watching the Nationals play in the NLCS and World Series for the first time in their franchise’s short history in the nation’s capital (they’d never won a postseason series until this year), I keep coming back to wondering why it’s so bad to be a bandwagon fan. When I tweeted that I was about to “bandwagon so hard” for the Nats, a fair amount of people replied only to cry “fake Sox fan!”

What’s wrong with rooting for a team once your own is eliminated from contention? Fans of the other 29 major league teams have all bandwagoned together against the Yankees for decades. What’s wrong with enjoying some great baseball, and picking a temporary side? It doesn’t mean you love your own team any less. It just means you love the game of baseball, too.

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Originally published: October 31, 2019. Last Updated: October 31, 2019.