That Bootleg Guy's 25 Worst Fans in Sports: Part 5 of 5

Welcome to part five of a five-part feature on The 25 Worst Fans in Sports!

First off, thanks to everyone, once again, for their interest and enthusiasm in this feature. And thanks to those of you who didn’t read ahead and scroll down immediately after clicking the link to get here. Just couldn’t wait to see if I included”¦whoa, don’t want to spoil it for those of you who actually began at the beginning.

Here are the first twenty inductees to the list of bad fans:

25.) San Francisco 49ers
24.) Toronto Raptors
23.) American Olympic Viewers
22.) New York Islanders
21.) Florida Marlins

20.) Anna Kournikova/Maria Sharapova
19.) Sacramento Kings
18.) Oscar De La Hoya
17.) New York Yankees
16.) University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball

15.) San Diego Chargers
14.) Philadelphia Eagles
13.) Atlanta Braves
12.) Nebraska Cornhuskers
11.) Televised Poker

10.) Arizona Diamondbacks
9.) Anaheim Mighty Ducks
8.) Sports Talk Radio
7.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
6.) Tiger Woods

We conclude our countdown to number one with”¦

#5-Notre Dame Football Fans

If any one of you were to walk into any sports bar on any Saturday between now and November, you’re likely to see a Notre Dame Football game on NBC. Consequently, you’re almost assured to run into booths full of their obnoxious fans.

Y’see, most college football fans at least have some kind of connecting allegiance to the team they follow. And their explanations run the gamut from “I’m an alumnus” to “Hey, I like their offense”. Somehow, one must assume that a common love of communion wafers and booze doesn’t qualify you for fandom.

Now, we’re not about to bash Catholicism, but come on. Do these people really believe that anyone who’s ever had their wrist whacked with a ruler by Sunday School’s Sister Mary Margaret now feels that they’re a kindred spirit with Touchdown Jesus? Making matters worse, the program has reeled in eleven National Championships.

Talking to their fans, you’d think they were around for each one”¦although, I’m not sure where any of them have been since 1988, which is when the Fighting Irish last won it all. Ah, but see”¦therein lies the rub. Notre Dame Football has fallen on hard times as of late. Only two winning seasons in the last six years and no bowl wins since 1994.

Now, do Notre Dame fans take these struggles in stride and chalk them up to the cyclical nature of success at the college level? Maybe it’s bad recruiting or bad coaching or bad scheduling? Nah”¦according to them, it’s all about academics. Don’t you know that Notre Dame would never lower themselves or their standards for just for a few more frivolous football wins?

That’s why the alumni put up with five years of mediocrity from head coach Gerry Faust in the early ’80s and Bob Davie in the late ’90s…because, winning isn’t everything.

Of course, heaven and hypocrisy cross paths every few years here and the fans that have been loathe to latch onto the quick fix, did just that with their caustic calls for the end of the Tyrone Willingham era and the start of the Charlie Weis regime.

And, don’t get me started on their love of Rudy.

#4-Oakland Raiders Fans

Memo to members of Raider Nation”¦the whole “unwashed outlaw” image only looks less-than-laughable on long-haired grown men in Metallica tour date T-shirts.

And, we’re laughing at them, too.

Hell’s Angels and Halloween costumes mixed with Crips and Bloods”¦it’s family entertainment for everyone! Four years ago, a Chargers fan was stabbed by a Raiders fan for daring to wear his team’s colors”¦in San Diego! It wasn’t always this way, though. When Al Davis took his team to Los Angeles prior to the 1982 season, the Raiders’ on-field thug image (think cornerback Lester “The Molester” Hayes, among many others) was embraced by their fanbase. And, in the ’80s, that meant incurring the adoration of the local, uh”¦”urban youth groups”.

Y’know”¦the kind that like to shoot people.

By the end of the decade, no one would be caught dead in the stands of the L.A. Coliseum, because they feared”¦well, write your own joke, people. In 1995, the team moved back to Oakland where the fans feigned enough enthusiasm to sucker the city council into offering the Raiders a sweetheart deal at the taxpayer’s expense.

Fans promised to not lose this team again and all that empty insistence led to destruction of one of the more underrated ballparks in the country, the old Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Gone were the beautiful bleacher seats and open views of the hills in Fremont and, in their place, the monstrosity of Mount Davis seating.

But, the fans demanded it, because they were coming back with a vengeance and”¦oh. So, they’re not interested in the team, anymore? Well, then”¦enjoy paying for the Raiders return for the next thirty years. You’ve earned it.

#3-Mike Tyson Fans

Twenty years ago, “Iron” Mike Tyson began his wrecking ball run through the heavyweight boxing division. He was the division’s first pugilist with a personality since Muhammad Ali was still on top of the mountain a decade earlier. Tyson fans were worldwide and even non-fans knew the name.

Over the course of his star-crossed career, nearly all of those fans abandoned him, leaving behind a select few who chose to look past his erratic behavior out of the ring, his inconsistent performances in the ring and that little three year bid for sexual assault. It’s like cheering for a train wreck”¦and, his fans are still out there.

C’mon, guys, even the last few water n’ waste infested inhabitants of New Orleans eventually left that cesspool. Do we need to call in the National Guard for Tyson fans, too? The saddest aspect is that these few fools still equate Iron Mike with his myth, which James Douglas first busted when he took the title from Tyson in February 1990.

And, how many times can a Tyson fight take your hard-earned money before you realize he’s two or three rinse cycles past washed up? On a personal note, why are a handful of African-Americans the only ones left in the land who can still stand this guy? Is it really that hard for y’all to find another Black boxer to get behind?

Hmmm”¦well, maybe they do have a point.

Anyone know which rock Afro Thunder has been hiding under?

#2-Red Sox Nation

With the recent passing of TV icon, Bob Denver, I’m reminded of an episode of Gilligan’s Island. In it, an unattractive woman arrives on the island after tiring of society’s rejection of her plain appearance. After a shenanigans-laced beauty makeover, it turns out she could now pass for Ginger’s twin sister. With her new found confidence, she becomes an insufferable bitch.

Ladies and Gentlemen”¦Red Sox Nation.

After more than eight decades, the baseball gods smiled on Boston in 2004, as the franchise won its first World Championship since what seemed like the 17th century. Finally, an entire fanbase that wore their victimization on their sleeve like Valerie Bertinelli in a Lifetime Movie of the Week and who made martyrdom mandatory for its members, had their life-long affiliation with failure rewarded.

Right about here is where the Gilligan’s Island ending kicks in.

C’mon, people”¦even Red Sox fans have to be sick of Red Sox fans, at this point. The whole “little engine that could” story didn’t sell, so ownership went out and bought a title just like the Yankees. The Yanks buying a championship? Odd, how that was the Red Sox fans’ refute to the Yankees’ hierarchy of high-rollers, before they sold their souls for a ring ceremony.

And, now Red Sox Nation is an infestation.

“We never stopped believing!” Bullsh*t, I say. I watched the 2004 ALCS and from Game 1 to the penultimate moments of Game 4, the streets of Red Sox Nation were running red with resignation to another ass-kicking in pinstripes.

In the stands at Fenway, the same hands that had once bared banners and placards decrying the busing in of Black kids to their exclusive enclaves were on the verge of watching another express ride out of the playoffs. When the Sox came back to win, you’d have thought the bandwagon would’ve broke down with all the “true believers” back on.

And, don’t think the earlier mention of race was not without merit. It’s no secret that the Red Sox’ history on the subject has been just south of shameful for most of their existence. They were the last team to integrate (even the Boston Bruins of the NHL beat ’em to the punch. That’s hockey, people”¦in the ’50s!)

They infamously refused to entertain the notion of signing Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, while Earl Wilson and Tommy Harper were let go for speaking publicly on the realities of being Black in Boston and on the Red Sox. The latter incident with Harper happening just 20 years ago.

Now, this is absolutely not an indictment of any Red Sox fan as racist or harboring any of the same views as the organization that they’ve supported “all their lives”. But, there’s an old saying that says, “Silence equals Acceptance”. And, I must’ve missed the column where Bill Simmons writes one of his sycophantic Red Sox missives about any of the above. Perhaps Boston legend Jim Rice said it best to hot prospect Ellis Burks in 1987:

“Get your six years in and then get the hell out of Boston.”

What a Nation.

#1-Los Angeles Lakers Fans

From the Friday Music News Bootleg, June 18, 2004

(Laker fans) have driven me to the brink of barbarism heretofore only found in the stands at English soccer “friendlies”.

Y’all know that stereotype of the West Coast fan, right? They come late and leave early. They’re front-running bandwagoners who only show up when the team is winning. Trust me”¦I’ve lived out here my entire life and the only team that applies to are your Los Angeles Lakers.

Even 100+ miles south, down here in San Diego (and if you don’t know, we’re pretty much the antithesis of LA in every way) we’re infested with their fans who bust out the Lakers’ replica jersey with screen printing and short-sleeve cotton t-shirt underneath. It’s like all these white and Hispanic folk are paying some sort of sad tribute to 1985 Georgetown Patrick Ewing, without the gallons of game sweat.

And, my people are not excused either. Or didn’t you know that the whole Kobe Bryant legal drama was just another attempt by the white man to keep the Black man down?

Every Laker fan in Southern California played up that theory. In fact, before Kobe was actually charged with sexual assaulting Becky”¦or Amber”¦or Kaitlin or whatever her name is, all these apologists were lining up telling us that they know Kobe and he wouldn’t cheat on his wife, much less rape somebody.

Then, mere minutes after Kobe was formally charged and he admitted to adultery (which he would’ve kept lying about, if the charges never had come down), Laker fans (and the Los Angeles media) turned on the accuser and painted Kobe as the innocent victim.

Of course, Los Angeles Laker supporters are soon to be endangered species, anyway.

If the post-Showtime ride in the mid-’90s is any indication, the fans in this post-Shaq, no postseason era will be falling over each other just to jump off that very same bandwagon. Oddly enough, these fans who have, or will be abandoning ship, shortly, never seem to come back. The Lakers are a fad to these people, not unlike Pop Rocks or the pop-lock.

You will never hear someone say they’ve been a Laker fan “all their life” (unless they’re 10). Today’s fan, most likely, wasn’t even born when Norm Nixon wore out those short shorts or the Coop-A-Loop was the truth. Those fans flamed out around Air Jordan’s first retirement in 1993. Shaquille O’Neal arrived in 1996 and the universe began again for a new clan of fans.

With several upcoming seasons of mediocrity on the horizon, God has successfully incinerated their ranks for a few more years, until they’re born again for the next big thing.

Hurry, people”¦the Andrew Bynum era is upon us!

Honorable Mention (Friday): Throughout the week, I’ll be posting one of the five teams/athletes who didn’t make the Top 25. Visit the Inside Pulse Fan Forums to see today’s inclusion and continue the discussion on The Worst Fans in Sports.

Aaron Cameron writes The Friday Music News Bootleg in Music every”¦uh, Friday and is a senior contributing writer emeritus for IP Sports”¦occasionally. AOL n’ Yahoo IM address: ajcameron13