One day I was watching a baseball game and I heard the announcers commenting on all the fans at the game and how there are different types of fans in baseball. That got me wondering about how many different types of fans there are in baseball. It also got me wondering about an even more basic question about baseball fans – what is a baseball fan?
As a general rule, a baseball fan is anyone who enjoys the game of baseball. A baseball fan is generally thought of as someone who is enthusiastic about the game of baseball, but there are a few categories of fans that a person could be classified.
From a little bit of research and from my personal experience, I was able to put together the list below of all the different ways a person could be a baseball fan. Please let me know if there is another type of baseball fan I missed!
Baseball Fan Definition
Before we dive into the types of baseball fans, let’s take a minute to review the definition of what is a baseball fan.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word “fan” is a short way of saying “fanatic”, which means someone who is very enthusiastic about something. Therefore, a baseball fan is someone who is enthusiastic about the sport of baseball.
But if you’ve been around the sport of baseball long enough, you’ll start to see different types of baseball fans emerge. It’s also likely that people will fall into multiple categories of these types of baseball fans.
9 Types of Baseball Fans
#1) Baseball Superfan
A baseball superfan is someone who is very engaged in all things baseball. Usually, they have a favorite baseball team, but they’ll happily watch any game that’s on.
While watching a baseball game, it seems like they instinctively know every team’s record and how a win or a loss will impact that team’s standings. Baseball superfans also know almost everyone who is on a team and they are also aware of new players who have recently been called up from the minor league.
In addition to knowing standings and players, baseball superfans are also aware of how each defensive player should respond to a ball hit that is hit in their direction. Maybe that player should turn a double play, fake a throw and try to get the lead runner into a rundown, or maybe that player should simply throw it to first for an easy out.
Baseball superfans tend to find baseball fascinating and they love everything about the game.
#2) Loyal Baseball Fan
Loyal baseball fans are committed to only one team. Sure, they may watch other games from time to time (especially during playoffs), but loyal fans will always tune into their team’s broadcast to see how well the game is going.
Fans who are loyal tend to have t-shirts and jerseys to show support for their team. These items of clothing come in handy whenever they go to the ballpark or whenever they’re at an event where it’s appropriate to show support for your favorite baseball team.
In addition to team clothing, loyal fans also have other memorabilia, like framed jerseys, bobbleheads, autographed baseballs, etc. These memorabilia are useful for displaying in their home or somewhere in their workstation to show support for their team.
Loyal baseball fans sometimes hang flags with their team’s logo outside of their homes. This signals to others in the neighborhood which team they are rooting for.
Just like with fans of any sport, loyal baseball fans can get some trash talk from other loyal baseball fans. This is especially true when interacting with fans that support their team’s rivals. But fans who are loyal to their team are quick to jump to their team’s defense for any small argument that comes their way.
#3) Casual Baseball Fan
Casual baseball fans are those who enjoy watching baseball, but they don’t feel the need to watch every game. Casual fans of baseball tend to watch baseball simply for entertainment value and they don’t typically get too hung up on the stats of each player or each team.
Casual fans still enjoy going to a few games a year and they generally understand enough about the rules of baseball to enjoy the game.
Mainly, they’re watching baseball because it’s enjoyable. And what makes a baseball game even more enjoyable is when the weather is just right – a warm, sunny afternoon with a light breeze.
#4) Baseball Trivia Buff
The sport of baseball has been around for a long time, which means that a lot of weird things have happened in baseball. All of these small, weird things lead to a lot of good trivia questions in baseball.
Baseball trivia buffs tend to know a lot about these trivial pieces of information. They also love to research about learn about baseball-related events, people, and places that are not well known.
For example, who hit the first pinch-hit home run in World Series history? Answer: Yogi Berra in Game 3 of the 1947 World Series.
Baseball trivia buffs also tend to know about how rules should be enforced, even when those types of plays don’t occur very often. For example, what happens if you catch a home run?
These pieces of information can be extremely entertaining and they can help others appreciate just how unique a certain play or a certain stat is.
#5) Baseball History Buff
Baseball was first played in 1846, which means the sport of baseball has a lot of history. Baseball history buffs love researching and learning all about the extensive history that baseball has to offer.
Most fans of baseball know the history of baseball from when they were born up until the current day, with a little bit of knowledge about the greats of baseball that came before their time. But baseball history buffs can name the year an event took place and what teams or what players were involved in that event.
Baseball history buffs also tend to know about records that have been set in baseball. For example, who is the leading home run hitter of all time, which baseball stadium has the largest seating capacity, or what is the oldest baseball stadium that is still in use?
Visit YourDictonary to see a list of 20 historical baseball facts. You’ll quickly see how entertaining and enjoyable it is to learn about some historical baseball facts.
#6) Fantasy Baseball Fan
Of all the sports out there, baseball is arguably one of the most statistic-centered sports. All aspects of baseball are broken down by stats. In fact, there are 121 unique statistics in the game of baseball.
With all of these statistics being kept, it was only natural for fantasy baseball to emerge. Along with fantasy baseball, fantasy baseball fans came into existence.
Fantasy baseball fans love watching a variety of baseball games, but their motivation tends to lie in how well specific players are doing because they have those specific players on their fantasy team. Unlike other types of baseball fans, fantasy baseball fans are glued to what happens on every pitch because every pitch has the potential for fantasy baseball points.
Because each play in baseball has the potential to earn fantasy baseball points, fantasy baseball fans can be more passionate about small plays. For example, most baseball fans would consider a groundout to be a very common play, but a fantasy baseball fan could easily get upset if they wanted that specific player to earn some fantasy baseball points by getting a base hit.
#7) Scorekeeper Baseball Fan
One type of fan you might see at a baseball game is someone who accounts for every single play by taking score with their own scorecard. But since technology has allowed fans to more easily follow the game on their phones, do people still keep score at baseball games?
People still keep score at baseball games, but the popularity of keeping score at a baseball game has been declining. Most fans prefer to use the scoreboard because it is always updated with the latest information and it shows what each batter did in their previous at-bats.
Even though keeping score at a baseball game has been on the decline, there are some scorekeeper fans who enjoy keeping their own scorebook. Why do fans keep score at baseball games?
Most baseball fans who keep score say keeping score helps them stay more involved with the game, helps them to better remember what happened during the game, and it’s a great thing to do when going to a game by yourself.
In addition, some fans may have dreams of becoming an official scorekeeper and this is a great way to get in some practice. Or at the very least, the scorecard makes for a great souvenir.
#8) Baseball Fan Who Predicts Every Play
Baseball fans who are also baseball players can’t help but guess what is going to happen on the next play. I also find myself guilty of this whenever I go to a ball game.
Although we get most of the predictions wrong, there is something satisfying about being able to accurately predict what will happen on the next play.
One common play people will try to predict is when a batter will hit a home run. Home runs don’t happen very often in a game, but it is thrilling to be able to correctly predict the next batter will hit a home run. And for some reason, home runs seem to happen more often after the defense makes a big error.
#9) Enjoys Playing Baseball But Doesn’t Watch Baseball
Some people just really love the sport of baseball, but they would rather play baseball than watch baseball.
Although these types of fans are not common, I’ve played with a handful of players who love playing baseball, but only loosely follow Major League Baseball.
These fans compare their love of baseball like some people love golf, which is that it’s a fun sport to play, but if they want to take a nap then they’ll find a game on TV.
How Many Baseball Fans Are There?
It’s difficult to come up with an accurate number about how many fans there are for any sport. It all depends on what someone’s definition is of a “fan” and how they decide to measure that definition. But there was one article from Sports Show that lists out an estimated number of fans worldwide for different sports.
So, how many fans are there in baseball?
There are roughly 500 million baseball fans worldwide, with the most popularity coming from the United States, Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
This number is a rough estimate that is calculated by looking at 15 separate criteria factors, which include how many people watch the sport on tv, how many people attend a sporting event, how popular the sport is on the internet, and social media presence.
Visit the Sports Show article for more information on how they calculated these numbers.