While taking in a CSUF baseball game at Goodwin Field, it is impossible not to notice the “Braveheart” look-alike down the right field line yelling and chanting as he roots on the Titans. His name is Keith Franklin, and he is known as the Titans baseball “Superfan.”
Baseball plays a large part of Franklin’s life. He used it as an escape to get away from a lot of troubles he dealt with in his early life.
Growing up, Franklin found himself getting into drugs and alcohol, which led to two terms in prison for drug possession and burglary charges. While getting clean, Franklin would work 16-hour days as a mover, then head to Angel Stadium to catch a game.
For Franklin, wins and losses don’t matter, it’s the relationships he builds with the team and the fans that he cares about. At CSUF, the Titans are more than just a team to him. He calls it the “Titan baseball brothership”.
“You create a relationship with the players, you create a relationship with the fans. You don’t have that in the Major League system, not at all,” Franklin said.
Franklin said he is the leader of “Section Anarchy,” which is in Section A of Goodwin Field where he runs wild throughout the section. His unique chants and energy attract people of all ages to come join him.
Most of all, Franklin loves having kids join him in his cheers.
“He’s great with the kids, you know the kids love him,” said Randy Segovia, CSUF alumnus and Section Anarchy regular.
Segovia said Fullerton fans are lucky to have Franklin, but acknowledges that his energy isn’t for everyone.
“You know we really love Keith a lot,” Segovia said. “I know some people don’t like him, but once people get to know him, I think they’ll like him.”
Franklin was previously known as the UC Irvine baseball Superfan. He was banned from the stadium in 2014 following an incident where he ran on the field as soon as the game ended after Anteaters Head Coach Mike Gillespie secured his 1,000th career victory.
After the incident, Franklin tried to return to the stadium but he was stopped by the police.
“That year was hard for me. It was like a dad in divorce to be honest. I went home sometimes heartbroken,” Franklin said.
People rallied for Franklin to come back and the story even received national attention from The Wall Street Journal. He followed the Anteaters on the road but ultimately decided he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.
Later that year, Franklin attended a CSUF fall scrimmage game. Before leaving, Titans Head Coach Rick Vanderhook spoke with Franklin and gifted him a shirt, igniting his Titan fandom.
“When they give me something, I feel like I got to give them something back. I have something to offer, I’m going to bring it to these guys so I did,” Franklin said.
Franklin eventually bought a season ticket in Section K, behind home plate, the same area he sat at Irvine. During the first game of the year, fans approached Franklin exclaiming how happy they were to see him at the game, Franklin said.
However, that was not the case for the second game. Many people were not happy with Franklin and the act he brings to the ballpark.
“People start going ‘Get out of here! Irvine hates your guts and we hate your guts!’ They were yelling mean stuff,” Franklin said.
On one occasion, the situation escalated and security got involved. Franklin found himself walking out of the stadium, and for the time being, walking away from the Titans entirely.
Mike Guerrero, fellow Titan baseball fan and friend of Franklin, encouraged Franklin to come back, even reaching out to Fullerton’s athletics department to help bring him back.
“I emailed (Jim) Donovan and a few other people just telling them, ‘He’s never done anything negative, never cussed, he’s never said anything bad to the other team, just always positive vibes,’” Guerrero said.
Things changed once Steve DiTolla, senior associate athletics director, called Franklin. Ditolla and the athletics department apologized to Franklin and invited him to come back to the ballpark.
Franklin returned to Goodwin Field and met with members of the athletic department to find a better area to sit. While walking the stadium, he saw the empty section all the way down the right field line, and it became his.
“So I came and the rest is history. We adopted it: Section Anarchy, Section A. I’m an ex-punk rocker, so to me, it said anarchy,” Franklin said.
Section A at Goodwin Field has a sign on the railing that says “Welcome to Section Anarchy,” a sign Franklin welded at work.
Even at work, Franklin can’t keep his mind off the Titans.
“I’ll be honest, it’s my life. I look forward to it. When I’m at work and I’m welding and grinding, nothing gets me through the day than a good Titan thought, man,” Franklin said.
For Franklin, the off-season is where he constructs a lot of his Titan thoughts. Franklin and Don Hudson, a longtime Titan baseball fan, spend the fall and winter watching the team practice.
To countdown the 2018 season, he wrote a fictional story about each player on the team.
The stories ascribed nicknames that Franklin created for each player. He named second baseman Hank LoForte “The Renaissance Man, Agent Hanky Panky.” Shortstop Sahid Valenzuela earned the title, “The Desert Scorpion.”
“Keith studies each player, gets to know their personality and playing style, and he forms a bond with them, starting with their custom-chosen nickname. Whether a player is a preseason All-American in his draft year or a redshirt freshman holding the 35th roster spot, Keith loves every one of those players and makes the connection,” Hudson said in an email.
Whether the Titans are up 10 or down 10, Franklin’s love for the Titans never waivers. His energy remains the same from the first pitch to the last.