Diehards: Why Fans Care So Much About Sports
Diehard sports fans are arguably the beating heart of the sports industry. In good times and in bad, they file into stadiums and arenas of all shapes and sizes ready to expend financial and emotional currency on a hobby that goes horribly wrong half of the time.
Does the payoff from the good times – the thrilling victories, championship glory and miraculous performances – outweigh the trauma inflicted by the bad? Why do diehards invest so fully in sports teams and players when that commitment, love and adoration is seldom reciprocated – if ever?
Through the lens of baseball, Diehards unravels the mystery of sports fans and provides context for what fuels the evolution from casual fan to diehard. In Diehards, Chip Scarinzi canvasses experts about the impact of sports fandom on fan psyche, health, and family life while also sharing personal accounts of deep-seated sports passion from the most dedicated of fans.
Praise for Diehards
“I needed a tool to teach the students about their own fandom in order to help them more successfully examine baseball in a more scholarly fashion. Diehards became the perfect tool for that. The book gave us a common vocabulary, awareness, and set of concepts that we could use to deal with our own fandom as we moved forward with our work. It allowed us the opportunity to celebrate what it is to be a fan while at the same time gain an awareness of how our fandom may sometimes get in the way of rational or objective thoughts. Whenever I teach this class in the future, I will start with Diehards.” —Chris Hatch, Professor, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
“For the true fan of baseball, reading Diehards is like sitting in your season seats and trading stories of euphoria and defeat with the other fanatic regulars around you. Scarinzi is amusingly confessional and unapologetic about his own fandom as he explores the social and psychological causes and effects of loving a sport and a team. He is one of those overly informed, nostalgic and even romantic bleacher creatures that are the characteristics of baseball lovers everywhere, yet he cleverly couples anecdotes and historic moments with quantitative data and cultural analysis to make this a very smart and authentic take on baseball’s place in the cultural fabric of America. Diehards confirms for every true baseball lover that they are not crazy, or at least not alone in their fanaticism for the game. If you list your bobblehead collection in your will, this book is for you.” – Heidi Watney, MLB Network
“Through this fine book – that is as lively and humorous as it is well researched and insightful – Chip Scarinzi has brought me to a deeper understanding of my own obsession. The author does a remarkable job deconstructing the excitement, joy, frustration, heartbreak, and range of other emotions sports bring into our lives.” – Josh Pahigian, author of The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip and 101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out
“Ever wonder why you are so crazy about your sports teams? Diehards puts you in the Psychiatrist’s chair to find the answer. Why do diehards invest so fully in sports teams and players when that commitment, love and adoration is seldom reciprocated – if ever? Chip explores the most passionate of fans with insight from experts in fields like anthropology, sociology, and psychology, essentially creating a psychological portrayal of the diehard fan. He dissects the brains of diehards, investigates their place in society, and examines some of the health implications. Analyzing the fan psyche is intriguing and essential to the story, but the heart and soul of Diehards is the cast of characters Chip meets along the way: Superfan Will MacNeil, ‘Banjo Man,’ Father Jim Greanias, along with the long forgotten St. Louis Browns and ‘Baseball Heaven’ in St. Louis.” – Scott Butler, Editor of Phils Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies [Read full review.]
“In Diehards, Chip explores what it is that makes the fans in places like Philadelphia and Oakland so passionate. What is it that all have in common? What leads us to spend our good money on shirseys, and often act out at a ballpark in ways we would never consider doing, say, at our workplace or even right in our own backyards? Chip weaves in references to other research, to modern studies on the topic, while instilling the work with his own flavor, which is both understandable and enjoyable to read. Chip covers various areas of fandom over the course of an easy to read 205-page work. From costumed ‘superfans’ and what drives them, to the violence sometimes caused in the name of a team. He touches on big-ticket issues like faith, loyalty and family and how these influence our choices as fans, from the teams and players we root for to the ways in which we act while cheering and following. –Matt Veasey, Editor of That Ball’s Outta Here [Read full review.]
Chip Scarinzi is an award-winning communications executive by trade and a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan at heart. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, he lives with his wife and two young daughters in the shadow of the O.co Coliseum in nearby Alameda, Calif. Diehards is the manifestation of his own passion for sports and a desire to understand why he and his tribe care so much about games. He is an Athletics season ticket holder, member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and spends most of his free time at the ballpark.
Author can be directly contacted through:
Author photo by Dennis Agatep.