Do you cheer for a player without any obvious reason? Do you model your jumpshot after Reggie Miller even though you are a die hard Knicks fan? Do you own 13 different Matt Stairs’jerseys? Do you quote Randy Moss on a regular basis?
Sports fans have emotional attachments to sports heroes. And some of them don’t make sense.
Midwest Bias is pleased to announce our new series, Illogical Fandom where we will discuss our favorite players. Except, they won’t be obvious. They are the ones whose cards we collected as kids. The ones whose jersey we still wear even though they left our team long ago. We root for them because they moved us with their excitement, they posed for a picture with us, or they threw us a foul ball that one time.
It’s illogical. It’s crazy. It’s sports.
Deciphering when my illogical fandom began is quite difficult. It may have been when the Timberwolves signed Michael Olowokandi. It may have been when the Vikings best offensive weapon was Michael Bennett. Or maybe it was when the Twins courtesy All-Star was Ron Coomer. It is certain that my illogical fandom comes from years of watching Minnesota teams struggle through the dark ages, clinging to one player who did not really deserve to play professional sports. My brother and I began forming bonds with players almost because of their obscurity. Of course everyone was going to be a fan of Kirby Puckett, Kevin Garnett, and Randy Moss, but we were going to love Pat Mears, Oliver Miller, and Jerry Ball.
Our love of obscurity for the MN Twins was supreme. Our dad would take us to games and we would watch them loose, but because of that father son bond, we remember those years fondly. Quick who is your favorite middle reliever from the late 90’s? Which back up catcher did you love more Mike Redmond, or Tom Prince? It got so bad that I almost bought a Twins Juan Guerrero #82 jersey. Juan Guerrero was a fictional minor league player in the video game MVP Baseball who got really good if you played with the Twins in franchise mode. I never bought that jersey, but to this day my illogical fandom leads me to regret not owning these one player’s jersey. Tony Fiore
Tony Fiore- Who? Yes, ‘who?’ is the proper response. Fiore was a middle reliever who player 3 years in the big leagues and was know for his palm ball. What? Yes ‘what?’ is the proper response. A ‘palm ball’ is little used pitch similar, as one might assume, any change-up. Few pitchers keep the palm ball in their repertoire because it is not that effective. In fact the Wikipedia page for “Palm Ball” lists the pitchers in the majors who threw a palm ball. By comparison, two pitches that do not provide a list of those who threw it are, the knuckle ball, and the slurve. Something about Fiore stole my heart. Every time he trotted in from the bullpen, I cheered like he was one out away from a no-hitter while most other fans wondered, who is this guy? That is not a ridiculous question seeing as he only made 87 appearances in his career. Somewhere in those 87 appearances he burnt a place in my memory and built a home in my heart.
Check out the first installment of Illogical Fandom with Andrew’s gushing celebration of Bill Gramatica.
Midwest Bias is your source for everything lovable about sports.