Fans shouldn't leave games early

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - Fans are both the best and worst.

There are many fanatics, fans who show up in cold, rain and when their team stinks.

Those fans support their team no matter what. Lions' fans at the top of the list.

Then there are those other fans, the ones who show up late and leave early. It just seems silly to buy tickets and not enjoy the entire event.

But it happens all the time and not just on a Tuesday night in a regular season.

You can bet many left Comerica Park Thursday night before Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run, walk-off homer of Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tigers an exciting 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

You can't predict miracle comebacks. That's why it's always best to stick around until the final out or time runs out.

We saw one of the worst premature evacuations in sports history at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday night in Miami.

Despite LeBron James putting together another postseason triple-double, fans streamed out of the building when it appeared the San Antonio Spurs were about to wrap up the championship.

It wasn't like the Heat were down 15 with 28 seconds to go -- and even then deserting your team is lame -- they were down only five.

Nonetheless, they fled. It was the biggest mass exodus in recorded history since the Hebrews left Egypt.

It's totally understandable not to want to stick around and watch the Spurs celebrate on your home floor. We get that.

But before you bail, you better make sure your team has lost and hasn't pulled a miracle comeback like the Heat did in overtime to force Game 7.

It was so bad that security at the arena had trouble trying to keep fans out who tried to reenter the building after finding out the Heat tied it and there would be an extra session.

The bottom line remains that Miami is a bad sports town, one not worthy to watch an all-time great ply his trade in South Beach.

You would have thought it would not only be the hottest ticket in town for the time that James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were there.

You would think the sports fans there would recognize that they have a special opportunity to watch an all-time great player in LBJ.

Fans in Chicago couldn't get enough of Michael Jordan. In fact, NBA America knew what they were watching and didn't miss a chance to watch such a talent in person.

You would be hard-pressed to find empty seats during Jordan's run. Better yet, virtually nobody walked out on Jordan, especially after that shot over Craig Elho to win that 1989 playoff series in the deciding game.

Sadly, it's not the first time fans fanned on watching a great in action. There was probably no bigger injustice then what fans did to Oscar Robertson in Cincinnati. They didn't show up to watch him play.

Many sports fans consider Atlanta as the worst sports town in America. Sadly, there were plenty of empty seats for Braves playoff games late in their run.

And the city has lost three NHL teams, a dubious honor.

Truth be told, Miami has to be on that list. Not just for taking LeBron's existence there for granted.

Despite the Marlins winning two World Series the last 10 years, they continue to have attendance woes. Peeps come when they win and stay away when they lose.

The Dolphins also have trouble selling out their eight home games a year.

In 2012, Dolphins had the 29th-best attendance and had the worst percentage in the league at 76.3% capacity. That's just stunning when you also consider how good the weather is down there to attend a game.

For sure, once in a while fans may leave before a game is over because it's a blowout, it's late and they have to go to work early the next day.   

But an NBA Finals game, with LeBron on your squad and your team facing elimination?

Naw. Nope. Never.

After what we saw on Tuesday night, it's clear James took his talents to South Beach for the weather, not the fans.

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