July has arrived and monsoon season in the Midwest has hopefully ended and Adam Dunn is barely hitting the Mendoza Line, so that means it’s officially summer. And with no more basketball or hockey to distract us, it is officially time to fully dedicate our summer evenings to baseball. Even the casual baseball fan is suddenly interested in baseball, until the NFL preseason begins of course.
With that in mind, I have been traveling around our great nation, taking in baseball games to find out what those casual fans will be walking into when they finally head to a game. If you go to any stadium anywhere in the country, you are sure to find these type of fans sitting around you.
The Meatball is the ultimate homer. In his eyes, every umpire has been paid off, every opponent is ‘roiding, and his team is just always getting screwed. He has dozens of reasons why his team should have five All-Stars and is not concerned with details like “better alternatives” or “lack of truth in his arguments”.
Meatballs cheer the loudest and most often, even when it is a completely inappropriate time to do so. It does not matter that their team hasn’t won a game in July; Meatballs look at the players on their team as if they were the ’27 Yankees. Meatballs know their team will win it all, they just need all of the players to get on a hot streak for the rest of the season.
The Empty Cup
The Empty Cup fan is the ying to the Meatball’s yang. He doesn’t see the cup as half empty; he doesn’t see anything in there at all. The team stinks. The coaching staff stinks. The management stinks. When things are going well, he thinks they are moments from total, inevitable, collapse. When things are going bad, it is just as he expected. I have often wondered why they continue to be fans and come to games, but these people will show up more consistently than any other kind of fan. They love the misery.
Obnoxious Visiting Fan
If the game is not going well for the home team, this fan can be found by following the popcorn and beer being thrown from the seats above. At home games, he may be considered a Meatball, but on the road he is the Obnoxious Visiting Fan (OVF).
He cheers wildly when everyone else boos, he stands when everyone else sits, and generally antagonizes the fans around him, both intentionally and by happenstance (but mostly intentionally). I don’t know if the OVFs have a death wish or just love their team that much, but I suspect their willingness to enrage a crowd has something to do with them being the second drunkest fans in the stadium.
They also rarely seem to be very big guys, which is odd because I always imagine them getting jumped on their way to get nachos. Still, these guys feed off of the hate from the seats around them and only get louder the angrier those around them get. With the willingness to piss off 40,000 people, the OVF is a passionate supporter of his team, and a really dumb guy.
[Note: OVFs do not, and should not, go to Dodger Stadium. Actually, it’s not a good idea for any visiting fans to ever go to Dodger Stadium, ever.]
This fan can be identified by his catchphrase ‘Called it’ which he exclaims far less often than he thinks, but often enough for you to notice. Over the course of a game, he predicts that just about every possible outcome will happen, in every at bat. 99 times he is wrong, but on the 100th time his prediction is right on. When this happens he screams ‘Called it’ and looks around his section to find praise for his Miss Cleo skills. Somehow, he is always shocked that no one around him is blown away at his psychic powers.
The Meat-Cup Transformer
This is the bi-polar disorder of baseball fandom. When things are going good, the hybrid is as meatbally as any Meatball, but at the first sign of trouble he goes all Decepticon and shifts into Empty Cup mode. Then the second anything starts going well again he is instantly back to being a Meatball. All game, Transformers shift back and forth between their two modes of fandom. The outcome of the game determines the mode they are then stuck in until the next game. The Transformer’s baseball worldview is either sunshine, rainbows, and fairy dust or darkness, doom, and despair. The team is great or they are garbage. There is absolutely no middle ground.
Poor Decision First Dater
These are harder to notice because they are considerably less loud than the other types, but if you look around your section, you will be sure to find one. They are notable because they are turned toward the girl next to them (away from the game) and talking about things that, although may be fine in a normal first date situation, are totally inappropriate while sitting shoulder to shoulder with some Meatball screaming “Phil-ly sucks.”
All game the PDFD goes on and on trying to force awkward conversation with the girl sitting next to him (anyone who reads my articles regularly knows how little patience I have for people talking about non-baseball topics at a baseball game), and she gives one word answers while her face is painted with an expression of intense boredom. She is either a baseball fan and has no interest in his questions about her siblings and college years, OR she doesn’t like baseball and has no idea why he brought her here. Either way, it’s not going well, and the whole section knows it. Bad decision for a first date, dude.
And the rest
Throughout the stadium you are also sure to see a guy dressed in a full uniform with a glove (ready to play if they need him), someone in a Cubs hat, and a guy constantly failing to start the wave. Though much less noteworthy, their presence cannot be ignored (especially that guy that won’t shut up about doing the wave).
I hope this has gotten you excited to take in a game. If not, now you know why the beer is so expensive. Enjoy.
Bacon + Beer + Sports = the Greatest Celebration to ever hit Chicago. Get ready to have your mind blown!
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