To paraphrase my writing mentor/fictional character, Californication’s Hank Moody – I’m on a mission to civilize baseball. Progress is slow, but I’m in it for the long haul.
You see, this baseball season, like every baseball season, I will spend a lot of time in stadiums taking in games. And this baseball season, like every baseball season, I will spend a lot of time annoyed by the bad baseball fans that sit around me.
With that in mind, my mission is clear – to insure, you, my dear reader, will never be ‘that guy’ who all the other fans talks shit about when he goes to get a beer. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’. So, for your sake, and the sake of the people around you, I have come up with this set of rules for proper baseball watching etiquette.
Follow them. If I’m sitting near you, I’ll appreciate it.
Do not wear gear from a team not playing
I’m talking to you: Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankee fans. I understand what you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I am going to a baseball game and have some baseball related stuff. It makes sense, kind of’. But here’s the thing, when you wear gear from a team that isn’t playing, you point out that you either don’t care about the game you’re at, or you are very confused about where you are at that moment. Either way, I’m not sure why you’re trying to give me a high-five when the home team scores.
Just because a ball is hit way up in the air does NOT mean it is going to be a homerun
Please act accordingly.
Do not pretend to know things about baseball
People like to talk baseball while sitting at a game. It’s one of the best parts of going to a game. One of the worst parts of going to a game is hearings someone regurgitate the ‘facts’ they heard (but can’t remember where) and having their poor unsuspecting friend accept what is said as truth. If you don’t know about baseball, it’s ok. Just don’t pretend to. Even if your friends don’t know that you are talking out of your ass, someone sitting around you will.
If you chose to trash talk, follow the Rules of Smack Talk
Sure, this is kind of a shameless promotion for one of my other articles, but civilizing baseball is a long process. It cannot be done in only 500 words.
Do not boo your team for a strike out
(Yankees fans are exempt of this. The Bronx Cheer is one of the most endearing qualities of New York City.) If a guy drops a routine fly ball, or gives up 3 runs without recording an out, boo. Boo to your heart’s content. But don’t boo someone just for striking out. Why do fans act like it’s somehow more acceptable for someone to hit the ball and get out than to miss the ball and get out? An out is an out is an out. A person that strikes out is just as out as a person who hits a bomb to the wall that’s caught. There’s no reason to be any more or less mad about any one of them.
Do not cheer for your fantasy team at the expense of your real team
Fair is fair. This one was brought to my attention when I was cheering for a random member of the Seattle Mariners in Chicago. Apparently it’s pretty annoying, because the person that pointed it out was my mom. You’re right, Mom, real baseball comes first.
Do not talk about things other than baseball
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t ever discuss anything besides baseball during a game, but you’re sitting very near a bunch of strangers for a long time. They don’t want to hear about how cute your teacup yorkie is while the bases are loaded with two outs (even though they really are totally adorable). There is plenty of time for things like that – like between innings, in the bathroom, at a restaurant not in the stadium. If you HAVE to talk about something else, remember: as few words as possible, as quiet as possible, between pitches or at bats, and, if you can, try to connect it back to baseball somehow.
On second thought, just don’t ever talk about anything other than baseball.
Do not yell that your team needs a strikeout or needs a homerun
You may think that because you bought your ticket, you should be able to do whatever you want. But, you’d be wrong. Follow the rules, and enjoy your game experience.
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