Thom Loverro: Nothing wrong with Capitals supporters being bandwagon fans

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Mike Knuble -- a former beloved player for the Capitals who's now with the Flyers -- decided to compare his old home in Washington to his new surroundings on Philadelphia sports talk radio last week.

He didn't compare the Liberty Bell to the Washington Monument. He didn't talk about how Bookbinder's stacks up to the Palm.

No, he dug much deeper than that. He compared fans -- specifically hockey fans.

"[Rooting for the Flyers is] just tradition -- the fact that, like, being a Flyers fan and being with the Flyers is passed down from generation to generation," Knuble said on Sportsradio 94WIP last week. "Washington, you see everybody's a new fan. Nobody's from there really. They're kind of just jumping on the bandwagon."

Knuble is in his second stint with the Flyers, so you can understand his Philly affection. But he left out a few things, like blood in the parking lot following a game or projectile vomiting on children by fans. GQ named Philly fans the worst in sports last year.

None of this is new, and if Knuble wants to celebrate that, fine. My issue is this notion of the bandwagon fan -- and why in the world it's perceived as something bad.

In sports, there is this belief that it's some sort of indictment about the fan base when larger crowds start showing up as a team plays well.

I think it's proof of intelligence -- which, of course, is why Knuble doesn't think Flyers fans are bandwagon fans.

In what other business is there some sort of recognition for supporting a lousy product? Why is it considered bad form for fans to make decisions on how they spend their money based on results?

Every team goes through hard times and change. And perhaps you can fault "bandwagon" fans if they fall by the wayside during those tough times.

But the only way sports fans can register their frustration over poor decision making by a franchise is with their wallets and pocketbooks.

Change didn't come to the Washington Redskins until that second Jim Zorn season in 2009 -- specifically the diminished and angry crowd at FedEx Field for a 14-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The way the franchise conducted business had to change after that.

Fans didn't show up at Nationals Park when the dysfunctional era of Jim Bowden put an inferior product on the field -- even in a new ballpark. They slowly began coming as they saw progress under general manager Mike Rizzo, and last year more than 2.3 million showed up. More will be there this season -- because the team will be good.

If there is a fan base at fault, it's Wizards fans who have been through decades of mediocrity and still -- even under new owner Ted Leonsis -- are willing to settle for table scraps.

Bandwagon fans? How about intelligent fans?

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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Thom Loverro

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The Washington Examiner