Generally, I'm not big on all these "Best of" and "Worst of" lists that seem to crop up every five minutes.
You know the ones: "Top 10 Best Cities to Live In," "Twenty Worst Rock Songs of All Time," "Fifteen Dumbest Commercials," etc.
But when GQ magazine came out with its list of "The Worst Sports Fans in America," I got sucked in. Especially since it promised to feature "the bottle-throwers, couch-torchers and projectile-vomiters marring our national landscape."
Who can resist a come-on like that? Not me.
I got sucked in even more seeing who claimed one of the top spots on the list. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the fifth-most obnoxious sports fans in the country, your University of Maryland basketball fans!
Frankly, I was stunned to see Terps hoops fans listed so high.
Sure, they get a little carried away with the obscene chants when Duke comes to Comcast Center. And sure, they've been known to throw a full water bottle or two at the opposing team's family members.
And OK, every once in a while they like to do a little rioting after a big win. Or a big loss. Just to let off a little steam.
But was that enough to land them on a "Worst Fans" list?
Turns out it was. Especially the rioting. In fact, the subheadline on the Maryland listing was "Night Terrors," with GQ helpfully listing "The Five Worst Terrapin Riots."
My favorite was the riot April 4, 2006, which GQ described thusly: "Students light street fires, throw bottles, and try to tip over a bus — after a win by their women's basketball team."
Hey, isn't that what the landmark Title IX legislation was all about? No person, on the basis of sex, can be excluded from participation in post-game rioting?
OK, maybe not.
But tell me something: What kind of country do we live in where you can't even burn a few cars and brawl with the cops after a big game?
What is this, North Korea?
If you're curious about who else made GQ's "Worst Fans" list, many of them were the usual suspects.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles fans — dubbed "The Meanest Fans in America" — nailed down nos. 1 and 2.
And, naturally, the well-known anecdote about Philly fans booing Santa Claus was trotted out. As was the lesser-known story about fans in the City of Brotherly Love booing the recipient of the country's first hand transplant, who threw out a ceremonial first pitch — albeit poorly — "with his freshly transplanted hand."
The drunken Philly fan who famously admitted throwing up — on purpose — on an 11-year-old girl? He's noted, too.
"The truth is this," GQ wrote, "all told, Philadelphia stadiums house the most monstrous collection of humanity outside the federal penal system."
Orioles fans will be happy to see — although they won't be surprised — that Boston Red Sox fans were No. 6 on the list, mainly for their "display of epic hypocrisy."
"All their whining about the Yankees' salary-driven Evil Empire? They now gloat while drubbing opponents with what is routinely the second-highest-paid roster in baseball," the magazine said. "All that self-satisfaction about being a bunch of scruffy underdogs? They blindly maintained it while winning the 2007 World Series with a payroll almost $90 million higher than Colorado's."
And if it makes Terps hoops fans feel better, they should know that Duke basketball fans came in at No. 8 on the "Worst Fans" list.
"Duke fans who complain that everyone hates them because they're too good are like cheerleaders who complain that everyone hates them because they're too pretty," the magazine said. "Sorry, princess!
"Here's what the most reviled fans in college sports don't understand: When everyone already resents you for being a perennial national champion, brainstorming new ways to make fun of people doesn't make you clever. It makes you a [jerk]."
If there was an upset on the GQ list, it was that New York Yankees fans came in at No. 9, instead of much higher, as you would expect.
But maybe that's because the GQ editors themselves never experienced the joys of a steamy weekend night at Yankee Stadium, when the beer is flowing.
During a Friday game there years ago, I watched a half-dozen tanked-up Yankees fans pluck the Toronto Blue Jays cap off the head of a young boy, who couldn't have been more than 12.
After dashing up a flight of steps, they turned to face the kid again. Then one of the thugs pulled out a lighter and set the cap on fire as the others laughed.
I guess you have knuckleheads in the stands everywhere.
But those guys were extra special knuckleheads.
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GQ magazine ranked the 15 worst sports fan bases in the United States. Here's the list:
15. Los Angeles Lakers
14. Oregon basketball
13. Wisconsin football
12. Dallas Cowboys
11. Montreal Canadiens
10. LSU football
9. New York Yankees
8. Duke basketball
7. Penn State football
6. Boston Red Sox
5. Maryland basketball
4. Oakland Raiders
3. West Viriginia
2. and 1. Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies