Exit Jeter, Enter Bandwagon

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has announced his retirement from the sport of baseball, and he has been honored not only by every other team in baseball, but by fans across the entire nation. Jeter’s hype has been around for at least a month now, but right when playoffs start, the tributes all of a sudden stop. I mean, it’s not like many know of his .310 career batting average or surprisingly low-profile list of relationships with high profile celebrities such as singer Mariah Carey and actress Jessica Alba.

But now that Jeter has retired from the league, this means the MLB postseason is back. This year both the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants made the playoffs, and for much of the Palo Alto High School community, that means at least one of two things: sneaking in the occasional live stream of the game on your phone or computer during class and/or getting excited about a sport you wouldn’t care about any other time of the year.

Let’s face it, living near a good team does not give us the free pass for fanhood. But if you really want to game the bandwagon system, here are some things to avoid:

1) Trying to start a conversation about a team you clearly know nothing about

Very conventional and very easy to spot. Teams and websites already have people to collect hitting and fielding statistics for the convenience of all. We don’t need people to dictate random tidbits of information, let alone become our personal Joe Buck. In addition, just because you watch one game does not mean, especially in baseball, that such a performance reflects the success of their entire season. Even if one attempts to be a stats junkie, Trouble with the Curve already taught us the limits to computerized scouting.

2) Using personal pronouns

This, like the above, may seem very basic, but few actually abide by these norms. The bandwagon often thinks he or she may sound genuine by referring to the team as “we” or “our”. But fans are not the team, as fans do not squeak out hits or make SC Top-10 worthy plays on the field. “You and I” are not a top-notch baseball team, we are just the huge fanbase that supports a top notch team.

3) Not mentioning the team you support for the rest of the year

It takes much more than a minor head collision for one to legitimately have such a change of heart in the blink of an eye. Just because you’re oblivious of the past does not mean others forget your every previous action, and by doing this you’ve insulted the intelligence of many. The bigger stab in the back: you forget about and do not mention the offseason and next 162 of your team’s games the next season (which, if you do the math, means the next time you mention baseball is when the next year’s postseason starts).

4) Only overdressing in team gear for the one big game

We all know you buy team accessories to wear at most once or twice a year, if your “favorite” team actually makes the playoffs. As much as teams strive to create a larger fan base, it remains true that nobody likes bandwagons, because bandwagons will probably hop off at some point or another. Kudos for supporting teams’ revenues, but we’re also pretty observant of what you wear normally, so unless this is Spirit Week and you don’t wear these clothes somewhat regularly, you might as well save it for later.

If you do avidly support one or two teams, I commend you for your extended commitment to the team of your choice. If you don’t, I leave you with two final thoughts: either begin watching sports and consistently follow a team, or don’t even bother trying to fool others as a bandwagon.