It had to happen. They've already ranked everything else (and by "they" we mean The Media), so why not sports fans?
Is it really possible to give an objective rating to a city's sports fans? Can you say that the citizens of one city are better at wearing licensed merchandise, painting their faces and screaming unintelligibly than another's? Well, give Forbes magazine credit for trying.
These tireless bean-counters evaluated all the teams in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB on three criteria: home game attendance, away game attendance and merchandise sales. Anyone gazing at the sea of red around Busch Stadium on game day (or even Wrigley Field two weekends a year) might suppose Cards fans would be a lock.
They would be wrong.
According to Forbes, fans of the Boston Red Sox are the nation's most devoted. Cards fans rank a pitiful tenth (though it's slightly less pitiful if you rationalize that Cubs fans did not make the list at all).
The magazine describes BoSox devotees thus:
Just look at the fans all over the country who follow every pitch of their beloved Boston Red Sox. They pack Fenway when the team is in town, and fill other stadiums when they're on the road. They stayed true throughout an epic dry spell, when the Sox went 86 years without winning a World Series--and when the team finally broke that drought in 2004, they grew even more fanatic. Today, the team is No. 2 in MLB merchandise sales (behind their hated rivals, the New York Yankees). And members of "Red Sox Nation" are so devoted, they top our list of "America's Best Sports Fans."
The encomium for Cards fans was slightly less glowing:
St. Louis is known as a great baseball town, with its fans bedecked in Cardinal red packing the stands for every home game. They had a hard time swallowing one-time legend Mark McGwire's admission of performance-enhancing drug use.
Filling out the top ten:
- 2. Pittsburgh Steelers
- 3. Detroit Red Wings
- 4. Indianapolis Colts
- 5. New England Patriots
- 6. Pittsburgh Penguins
- 7. Boston Celtics
- 8. San Antonio Spurs
- 9. Dallas Cowboys
Seriously? Above the New York Yankees? Or the Chicago Blackhawks?
It's true that hockey is the national sport of Canada and the Canadiens have been the only professional sports franchise in the province of Quebec since the Expos decamped for Washington, DC, and became the Nationals and adopted some seriously awesome Racing Presidents. (By the way, does anybody remember that the Colorado Avalanche used to be the Quebec City Nordiques? Yeah, didn't think so.) Oh, and that they won the Stanley Cup 22 times.
Still. The only plausible explanation is that there was some Canadiens fan manipulating the voting. Oh, hell, and a Red Sox fan, too. Wouldn't put it past them. Sneaky Canadians. And Bostonians. Minimizing the ardor of Cards fans.
Well, we know the truth. What other fans are insane enough to regularly go see their team play outside in 100-degree weather?