August 23, 2006

Sit Down Already

I realize that DC is still a relatively young baseball town (at least if you ignore the last 70 years). There's a good number of knowledgable baseball die-hards that attend each game, but they can't make up for the cluelessness of your standard summertime fair-weather fan. Once again, a short list on ballpark etiquette.

1) You decided to come to the game and pay for a seat, How's about you sit in it? And I mean the seat you purchased, not a better seat that seems to be open. Also, once you're there, stay there. Don't come in during the middle of an inning where your make your entire row stand up to let you in, sit down for 30 seconds, and then get up again to go get a hotdog. We'd much rather watch the game than watch you try to kick over as many beers as possible. If you have to get up, wait until the inning is over, or at least a stoppage in play. Same goes for you coming back.

2) We want you to bring your kids to the ballpark. Baseball needs young fans and they're fun to have in the stands. That doesn't mean the ballpark is a substitute for daycare. If you know your two year old has trouble sitting still for 5 minutes at a time and enjoys shrieking at the top of his lungs please don't bring him. Wait until he can actually comprehend what's going on.

3) Corollary to number two, if you are a grown man who catches a ball in the stands that has zero significance (i.e, wasn't a milestone homerun), please find a child near you and give them the ball. You get to be a hero to the kid and you still have a great story to tell. Same goes with T-shirts.

4) If you go into a bar, it's customary to tip the bartenders. That goes for stadium vendors as well. That extra $1 tip won't kill you and it's the right thing to do. Matter of fact, you should tip all the vendors that bring anything to you, even the lemonade guy.

5) If the game is 14-0 with the Nats WINNING in the bottom of the 7th and the game is a foregone conclusion, feel free to start the wave. If either A) the Nats are losing or B) the game is still even remotely in contention don't start the wave. If someone else starts the wave, don't encourage it. It's disrespectful to the players and annoying to those of us that want to see the game.

We're all stuck at RFK for few more years so anything that can help make it a good experience should be embraced. Now if only we can figure out a way to keep out Philly fans . . .


Nate said...

I agree with 99.44% of Watson's Rules for Better Ballpark Living. But we have one area of minor disagreement.

There is NO wave in baseball. None. Under any circumstances.

A baseball game does not lack for opportunities for crowd involvement. Rythmic clapping, chanting, good-natured heckling, bleacher bouncing, dancing like a jack*ss for the cameras... these are all acceptable forms of participation that your average RFK crowd could stand to do a little more often. (The scoreboard should not have to tell you when to make noise.)

With all these outlets for individual and group expression there is no need, or place, for the wave.

El Gran Color Naranja said...

When I was in Philly there was an usher keeping people from entering the aisle until their was a new batter. Reminded me of a hockey game. (of course it helps that you can still see the action from the concourse).

I disagree with the caught baseball rule to some degree. I think not only does the ball have to have no real meaning for the cather but the child (or his family) has to be within arm's length for you to hand it off. I see it as more of an acknowledgement that the kid didn't really have a fair chance to catch the ball. I was very annoyed when I got a foul ball at a minor league game and about 20 seconds later some kids ran over asking me for the ball. You don't just get a ball for being a kid at a ballgame.

And Nate's right NO WAVE ever. You're at the ballpark to be entertained in context of the game.

Watson said...

Arizona had the same usher technique for keeping fans out of the aisles during play. It worked really well there.

I can also get behind the rule that if there was no kid near you it's okay to keep the ball.

I like the idea of the wave as a celebratory event if your team is kicking butt, but I can see the "no wave" rule.

Anonymous said...

Guess what? Those clueless, summertime fair-weather fans are exactly what the Lerners are hoping to attract in droves by building a new stadium. So if you think things will get better when we leave RFK, think again. You're probably getting a much higher concentration of hardcore fans at RFK now than you will ever see again at Nats' home games. (Except for next season, maybe.) The team desperately needs those people to boost attendance and raise revenue so we can pay all those big league salaries. Not to mention the new stadium itself. Do you think the racing presidents and front-lawn fanfest are there to appeal to true baseball aficionados?

As for the wave, lighten up, wave-haters. If you can't hunker down and focus on the field while a few thousand people are rising and waving their arms for a couple of seconds, then maybe you're not the hardcore scorecard jock you think you are.

Regarding little kids at the ballbark -- it's a crowd. You don't get to dictate who's in the crowd. Young and old, smelly and clean, loud and quiet. Responsible parents should, and most will, remove really uncontrollable children from the scene until they're calmed down. If they don't, though, it's pretty much tough cookies unless you want to summon an usher and insist that they move. Prepare to deal with some hostility from surrounding patrons if you do. There are lots of empty seats at RFK. If noise bothers you, maybe you attend quieter sporting events like golf.

Points 3 & 4, I'm totally on board with. But I think I agree with el_gran_color_naranja -- if random kids run over to me begging for a ball, they're not getting it; but I'll hand it off to any kid sitting within arm's reach. As for tipping -- coughing up a tip on top of a $6.50 beer hurts, it really does. But those vendors probably make a lot less than I do, so OK.