By Brendan Owens
Athletes feed off of the energy from each other, but when that runs out, they turn to their fans for that little extra boost. Fans do even more for the players than they realize. Texas A&M University football team’s fans are a huge example that fans can make a big difference.
Most sports buffs know the legendary story behind A&M’s twelfth man and how the fans were brought into the game more than ever. The college’s new stadium can hold over 100,000 people, and it has even been said that the stadium moves because it gets so loud inside.
In baseball, fans can get in the opposing pitcher’s head and rattle him. Johnny Cueto pitched for the Cincinnati Reds against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Game.
When the Pirates’ fans started chanting “Cueee-to! Cueee-to! Cueee-to!” The ball slipped out of his hand while he was on the mound. This erupted the Pirates’ fans even more and proved that fans have the ability to change the outcome of a game. Pittsburgh ended up winning that game and advanced to the National League Division Series. That’s where home field advantage comes into play.
Home field advantage is a sports term suggesting that there’s a benefit the home team has over the opposing team as a result of playing in a familiar venue and in front of supportive fans.
“It’s critical that hometown fans support us at our games. They play a big role in sports and can even take a team out of the game for us,” Northeast Eagles baseball player Jonathan Soberanes said. “I believe that’s why they call it ‘home field advantage.’ They tend to provide the confidence boost we need to win games at home.”
If a visiting team comes out and starts winning early, the fans’ voices go away and it gets quiet. Then the home team sees the fans out of it and the game is pretty much over for the team. Watch any professional team play and look for the fans and what the players do if something big happens. They go to the fans and the fans respond with a roar of applause and cheers. That noise fuels the team to do even more and want to do more.
“The bigger the game, the more of an impact they make,” Eagles pitcher Brandon Colbert said.
To me, fans do make a difference and they bring out the best in me. I come from a 6A high school where the stands filled every home game and especially in big games against rivals.
The biggest crowd was when I pitched in front of over 4,000 people at the University of Houston in the Region Three championship game. I came in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out. When I was running out to the mound, our home crowd erupted and my heart started beating out of my chest. It gave me the energy to go out and finish the game without giving up a hit or a run. My team ended up winning the game and advancing to state.
Playing in front of those crowds back home compared to here at Northeast doesn’t even come close. The spring season is closer than it appears, and I will be hoping for a nice turnout from the hometown fans. Soberanes also came to Northeast from a 5A high school the year before 6A was created. As a returning Eagle player, he has experienced the transition from a stadium filled with fans to a smaller audience support system at Northeast.
“The crowd was definitely smaller than my school. We had a very strong fan base especially in playoffs at my high school,” Soberanes said. “I would love to see our hometown come support us, especially because I feel like we will dominate this upcoming season.”
This spring, we need fans out at the ball park to support our baseball and softball teams on their journeys to the regional and national tournament. “Fans make a huge impact on the home team during big games,” Northeast baseball player Barry Casey said. “They give the team the will to win.”
A strong fan base will not only look good against other teams, but it will help the Eagles finish games and get the big wins they need to make a run to regionals.