There aren't fans better than this anywhere in the world. This isn't about whether or not you love the Yankees. This is about Yankee fans.We constantly hear this praise heaped upon us. Derek Jeter said it in his final speech at the Old Stadium. Michael Kay would like you to believe that Yankee fans are the only ones in baseball that cheer in anticipation of anything. I know I've heard John Sterling say that Yankee fans are the best in the world on the radio broadcast as well. But all of those guys have great reason to pander to fan base, and along with fans themselves trying to compare themselves to followers of other teams, that's all these declarations ever come down to.
There are other baseball fans in other cities, of course, Mets fans in this one. There are fans who come out strong for teams who haven't won the way the Yankees won, who don't make the playoffs just about every year the way the Yankees have since Joe Torre first came to town 13 years ago and the winning came back to the Yankees and the Bronx.
But no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.
It's pretty much impossible to compare fan bases, just as it would be to compare other groups which contain millions of people to each other. Are people from Vermont more laid back then people from New Hampshire? Are Baptists more religious than Evangelists? Are BMW drivers more alert than those who own an Audi? Are people who drink Bud Light cooler than those who drink Coors? (Trick question, they both suck!) The only way to deal with groups that big is to look at them with sweeping generalizations or compare them anecdotally.
The Yankees have some great fans, no doubt, but they also have their fair share of supporters who expect everything and are ready to jump ship two losses into the season. We might have some of the best fans in baseball right now, but that's largely because the ownership and players have given us ample compensation in return for our support. The Yanks only regained their place atop MLB attendance in 2003. There are plenty of factors contributing to how many fans the Yanks draw to games like the logistics of trying to go to a game after work in NYC and price of parking once you get there, but let's not pretend that the Stadium have been selling out through thick and thin.
I'll give you one measure that I find to be interesting, however. There are far more blogs about the Yankees' than any other team. We've got a decent amount linked up over on our Blogshelf, but check out this post by Ross at New Stadium Insider or run down the sidebar at LoHud. There are a huge amount of people that feel compelled to write about the Yankees (most of them for free) and I think that tells us something.
Maybe that something is that the Yankees have been more successful and compelling over the last 15 years than any other team in baseball. And maybe the fact that Yankees fans are so dedicated to the team isn't a function of how great we are as fans, but how successful the team has been over that time. Following the Yankees is easy. The people who follow teams like the Royals, Reds or Pirates through thick and thin are the best fans in baseball, in my opinion.