If there is one thing my political science background has taught me, it’s to know the audience and climate you are trying to engage.
Chris Perez –with a rock-and-roll attitude and pretty fantastic stats to back him up– received a standing ovation after his initial critique of Cleveland fans. Now, he is taking it a step further with comments to NYT on the Cleveland Browns fan base.
“That’s what I don’t understand,” Perez said. “Their whole thing is, ‘We want a winner.’ Well, why do you support the Browns? They don’t win. They’ve never won. They left. You guys blindly support them. I don’t understand it. It’s a double standard, and I don’t know why.”
It’s pretty clear you don’t understand it. The Browns have a storied history of many championships, more recent than the Indians. “What if” happened for the Browns, it was just a long time ago. Also, it sounds as if you are insinuating the Browns players left on their own account, which clearly did not happen. But I digress…
If you want to rally the fans that are already regularly attending Tribe games, congrats. You’re not changing anything. It’s the equivalent of throwing Santorum an anti-gay marriage rally at a Catholic church in Texas. Sure, you’re keeping the extreme fans happy…but what about the average Indians supporter? Is that really going to engage them and encourage them to change their current patterns?
The average Indians supporter is the one who comes to a few games a year, watches the games when they have time to at home or at the bar, and would love to see the Indians go to the playoffs and maybe even win a championship for Cleveland. They enjoy sports in general, but have a life outside of them.
Just as the moderate voter might be turned off by extreme conservatism, the moderate Cleveland fan will be turned off by these rash comments. I am just as disgusted by the unabashed hate for Lebron and comparative less support for the Cavs…but I don’t tell people what to do. If Cleveland fans don’t want to come to your games until you have sustained success to earn a spot in the playoffs, that’s their prerogative.
But if you want Cleveland fans to come to your games, it’s probably not the best idea to hate on Browns fans and the majority of Cavs fans in this city. Even if you’re right.