A simple question, but not a simple answer. The fans of today aren't different in a lot of ways. Some years ago were just as crazy as some are today, but the big difference is it is the forums that the fans have to go to. In the 20's and 30's you could only go to the newspapers and the other fans around you. Today, you can go straight online and write anything you want. Whether it is true or false, you can write it and people and fans will read it and then they will come back and say something.
Fans fought in the stands in the 20's and 30's and drank beer and whiskey, but not to the excess of the fans today. Fans have always yelled at the players and umpires and at each other for as long as I can remember and that dates back to the early 1920's. God, my father (God bless him) used to yell at the umpires all the time. Even when he got the calls he wanted from them, he would yell. Funny thing, I did the same thing years later with my kids and grandkids. Fans haven't changed; they have just gotten louder and maybe a little crazier. I remember a few fights in the stands in the 30's and even later on, but it is happening at a larger rate today. And with more drinking and other substances, it is happening a lot faster and more often then what it was years ago.
I am a lot older than most of today's fans, but I still love to watch the baseball games, either in person or on TV and sometimes, more often then not, I still listen on the radio. [[Vin Sully] and the Angels broadcasters are great fun and enjoyment for me, especially at night listening to them explain the game. What is most fun is listening to them talk about the older players of yesteryear. Scully was talking about Sandy Koufax the other night on a Dodgers game and no one else in the room even knew who Koufax was. Then he mentioned Walter Johnson and you should have seen the looks on their faces when I thought that Sandy was faster than either Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan.
The oldest in my family is my son, who is 63. He knows these players well. Everyone else looks around and then plays stupid like I don't know what I am talking about. My son and his brother will jump on eveyone and then bring out some of the picture books and records books I have collected over the years. Then my greatgrandson, who is going on 25 (but is really only 7 years old), will jump up and tell everyone he knows who I am talking about and tells everyone to listen to Papa because he may be old, but about baseball, war, and history, his Papa is the man, or something of that matter. He is a fan, like me, and I try to make them all understand what a fan is supposed to do. When you go to a game, yell for your favorite player and even yell at the umpires if you don't like the calls, but behave and act like a gentlemen or lady. Don't throw things onto the field and never swear or use profane language, even through you may want to. I have considered myself a baseball fan only because during all the games I have been able to attend, I have tried to act as my father and grandfather and mother and grandmother taught me.
One winter on the farm, I must have been about nine, and Miller Huggins was still alive, Babe and Grover Cleveland with some of the others (I think Mel Ott and Nap Lajoie were there), I was yelling during the games and jumping up and down and Grover walks up to me and asks what all the yelling was about and I told him that that I heard that that was the right thing to do during the last series game I had attended. He looks at me and yells over to Babe. "George!" (that was what Grover used to call Babe to get a opinion on something and make him mad at the same time).
"George, did you tell this boy to yell up at the umpires to try and get them to make better calls for you or did you get him to do it to help you get into the pitcher's head?"
Babe, yells back at him and says, "Alexander, what does it matter if the umpire calls it for me or against me? I will hit it anywhere you pitch it."
"Yeah, George, just like you did in the '26 World series." Both of them started laughing and almost falling over, until Babe looks over at me at says, "You just keep yelling all you want. Doesn't matter to me one bit. I never listen to the fans until after I hit it and then they are all yelling because I hit it." Babe was always laughing and kidding me every time he came back down to the farm and maybe today that has struck in my mind about being a fan. I know that story doens't belong in a true fan, but it just came to mind and it was something I wrote down.
A true fan loves to go, to watch, to listen, to see... to whatever. Baseball is a game for kids that men play forever and I certainly hope that it doesn't ever change. Be a fan, but you must always remember there is a great responsiblity in being one. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and his favorite player, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Be proud of the team you like and the players you love to watch but most of all act like a true fan and enjoy watching the game for what it is, a game.