May 2

Accuse me of being a traditionalist, but there are certain unwritten rules I follow when attending a baseball game.  Well, I say unwritten, but several of the guidelines would more than likely be supported by any stadium security personal inclined to have a quiet afternoon.  While these rules may be slightly inclined toward the average Yankees fan, they’re vague enough that anyone can apply them and have a better experience for it.

First of all, start your day off on the right foot.  How hard is it to get to the stadium and in your seat before the first pitch?  Getting up to let someone out of the row for the bathroom is one thing, but I can’t be bothered to let you walk to your seat when you’re just getting to the game in the fifth inning.  Unless you tell me that you were involved in a ten-car pileup on the way, you don’t have a valid excuse.

How about during the game?  Do yourself a favour and leave your glove at home.  If you happen to be eligible for little league baseball, knock yourself out, but you can’t respect a middle aged, balding man wearing a glove while he’s well out of foul ball territory, especially those wearing one while their small child is not.  Your only defense here is if you’re in range to take a line drive to the face or crotch, and even then, you should be watching the game.  Please, leave the gloves for the kids.

No Excuse for This

No Excuse for This

You should also be leaving your umbrella at home.  There is no scenario where you should have an umbrella.  Either it’s a light drizzle and you’re blocking the view of those behind you with your oversized, complimentary golf umbrella, or it’s a rain delay and you should be toughing it out.  Flooding to the concession stands and making everybody even more miserable than they already are is not a viable option.  Sit in your seat, get wet, and deal with it.  Besides, it’s a great time to talk about the day’s matchup and compete with your friends on whose hands get the most wrinkled.

And if you want to take the term “fair-weather fan” literally, this is one example of a time when you do not leave the game early.  There are very few scenarios in which you should be leaving the game before it has been cancelled or ended.  Inclement weather is not one of them.  Your team blowing out the opponent isn’t one of them.  The opposite is certainly not one of them.  Beating the traffic isn’t one of them.  The concept of leaving the game early to “beat the traffic” is one of the biggest myths in sports.  Not only do you expose yourself to the rest of the crowd as being a fair-weather fan, but you rarely end up being in any better of a position than anyone else.

Oh, and if it’s not raining and you know you’re someone who should be wearing sun block, help everyone around you by wearing it.  It’s unfortunate that you’re balding, but I’m at the stadium to watch a baseball game, not to watch the various blister phases of your head as the game progresses.  I’d have to question whether I’d choose feeling the breeze on my head and skin cancer over wearing a hat.  Also, try to remember the deodorant.

Now, these were all things that you can control as an individual.  How about our responsibility as a collective crowd?  If you’re not familiar with the concept, a curtain call is when a baseball player does something worthy of recognition and the crowd cheers until they come out of the bullpen and give a tip of the cap.  In 1979, Yankees favourite Bobby Murcer gave a eulogy at team captain and close friend Thurman Munson’s funeral and then later that night drove in five runs winning the game for the Yankees and dedicating hid performance to Munson.  Murcer received a much-deserved curtain call.  Today?  Fans request a curtain call when someone hits two home runs.  I exaggerate, but it’s gotten out of hand and occasionally a player will do the right thing and ignore the cheers, of course resulting in jeers.  Let’s save the curtain calls for something special.

Also, let’s keep in mind what game we’re watching.  Nothing is worse than attending Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees game and having to not once, but repeatedly hear “Red Sox suck” chants.  We can’t save that for when the Red Sox are actually in town?  What’s worse, don’t chant that the Red Sox suck when they’re ahead in the standings.  And if someone is brave enough to wear a Red Sox hat to the game when they’re not even in town, applaud their bravery and rather than throwing your beer at them, save it for drinking.

That brings us to beer.  Surely one of the best parts about going to a hot, July baseball game is the beer, but you’ve got to know your limits.  While we’re all very impressed that you can both drink and afford a dozen beers, it’s the rest of us that have to deal with you.  The wife beater and superman tattoo are a great combination, but I can do without the close-up as you’re falling on me walking by.  Oh, and take it from me, watching someone face plant down a flight of concrete stairs is hilarious until the paramedics show up.  Then, it’s just funny.

So there it is.  I hate to be a snobby baseball fan, but I pay a lot of money to see those games.  A little tradition, consideration, and common sense can make it an enjoyable experience for all of us.  By the way, special recognition goes to the five-year old who was witnessed throwing his Father’s glove off the upper deck.  Here’s to the future leaders of America.

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