Skip to content

Some Thoughts About Attending a Ballgame

Posted in:

Last week I wrote a think piece about the relatively recent protocol of giving foul balls to random kids. That piece generated so much response that I’ve decided to do a companion piece about other aspects of ballpark behavior and etiquette.

I should say here that about 98% of the big league ballgames I’ve attended have been Mets games — first at Shea Stadium and more recently at their current stadium. So my experiences and habits are, admittedly, very site-specific. I realize other ballparks may have their own unwritten rules, standards, and so on.

Arrival Time

Personally, I like to go through the turnstile about half an hour before gametime. That gives me plenty of time to get to my seat, settle in, yak a bit with whoever I’m attending the game with, maybe get a beer, and so on. If I arrive a bit closer to the start of the game, that’s not the worst thing in the world. But I hate getting to my seat after the game has already started. It just doesn’t feel right.

Tipping the Usher

The ushers at Shea, who were mostly elderly men, would lead you to your seat location and wipe down the seat (as if that actually made it cleaner). The usual routine was to tip them a buck or two for this service, and in return they’d often let you move down to a better section later in the game. Learning about this as a child was probably my first exposure to small-scale corruption — the ballpark equivalent of the party apparatchik who fast-tracks your visa application in return for greasing his palm.

The ushers at the new ballpark are younger, don’t bother to wipe down your seat, and seem very by-the-book. I don’t tip them, and my impression is that they’re uncorruptible. Moving down to a better seat no longer matters to me as much as it did when I was younger, so I don’t really miss that aspect of the old system, but I do miss the romantic charm of unspoken rules, the wink and the nod, and so on.

The National Anthem

I always stand for the anthem, but I don’t remove my cap. If other people want to remove their cap, or stay seated, or whatever, that’s fine — none of my business.

Standing Up During the Game

I’ve always hated the insipid radio show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and its host, an insufferably smug guy named Peter Sagal. My already considerable antipathy toward him was cemented in 2006, when he wrote a painfully tone-deaf article about how a fan at a White Sox game had the nerve to stand up, blocking his wife’s view, at a key moment of a ballgame (bases loaded, big slugger up). What kind of idiot would (a) object to a fan standing up at a key moment in a game and then (b) write an article about it?

Obviously, it’s rude to constantly stand up and block people’s views — you don’t want to overdo it every time your pitcher gets two strikes on a batter or anything like that. But at a tension-filled moment in a close game? Standing up is fine. If the person behind you wants to see, they can stand up too. And if they want a guaranteed unobstructed view, they can stay home and watch the game on TV.

Leaving My Seat

If I have to go to the bathroom or visit the concession stand, I try to do it in between innings (in part so as not to annoy other spectators and in part because I don’t want to miss any of the game). If I can’t get back in time for the start of the next half-inning, I might wait in the concourse until the third out is made, or I might just go back to my seat in the middle of the action. That’s sort of a judgment call, based on the game, the crowd, whether or not my seat is near the aisle, and other intangibles.

Going for a Stroll

Some people like to spend an inning or two (or three, or more) walking around the ballpark, shopping at the various merch shops, checking out the latest offerings at the food court, and generally treating the stadium like a mall. Personally, I don’t get that — I don’t care about the merch, the food is usually mediocre and overpriced (I bring my own), I dislike malls (and even if I did like them, I wouldn’t pay an admission price to shop at one of them), and the whole reason I’m there in the first place is to watch the game — but I understand that that’s how live sporting events work nowadays. Anyway, far be it from me to tell anyone not to stretch their legs. Just don’t expect me to go with you.

Cheering/Booing My Team

I always cheer the players as the home starting lineup is introduced, and of course I cheer my favorite players when they come up to bat, when they make a good play, and so on.

But I do think there’s a time and a place. Back in the late 1980s, Mets fans got into this ridiculous habit of relentlessly cheering for a curtain call anytime a player hit a home run, even if it was, say, in the fourth inning of a 5-2 game in May. I always found that embarrassing — save that stuff for a go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth, or a triple play, or a big September win against your big divisional rival, or whatever. Have some sense of occasion, some sense of proportionality.

As for booing the home team: Again, I think there’s a time and a place. I’ve always tried to remember that baseball inherently involves a lot of failure. Even the best team loses 50 or 60 games per season; even the best hitter makes an out more often than he reaches base. Lately I’ve seen fans boo every time a player strikes out to end the inning with a runner on base, or every time a pitcher leaves the game after giving up a few runs. Again, I find that embarrassing. If the team really stinks over an extended period, or if a player is really underperforming, then sure, booing makes sense. But again, have some sense of proportionality and don’t act like you have an entitlement mentality.

Cheering/Booing the Opposing Team

I usually boo the visiting team’s players when they’re introduced as part of the starting lineup, although I’ll cheer if there’s a particularly good player who I’m fond of. And of course I’ll cheer if a visiting player makes a great defensive play, or if a player leaves the field after an injury. That’s just good manners, right?

Chatting with Strangers

Obviously, most of my conversation at the ballpark is with my girlfriend, my brother, or whoever is attending the game with me. But I also like to talk with strangers. Much like a bar, the ballpark feels like one of those spaces where it’s okay to make eye contact and engage with someone, and it often makes for a really fun experience.

Profanity

My speech, much like my writing, includes occasional uses of words like “shit” and “fuck.” I’m not using those words every sentence, or even every inning, but they’ll probably come up here and there during the game.

Now, if a little kid is sitting right next to me or right in front of me, I’ll tone that down. But if kids are just in the general vicinity — four or five seats to my left, three rows behind me, that kind of thing — then fuck it, I’ll talk the way I talk. Exposure to a little salty language at the ballpark won’t stunt their growth. Might even be good for ’em.

Littering

Longtime readers may recall that my father actually taught me to litter at the ballpark. I used to think that was the coolest thing, and for many years I left a few peanut shells under my seat in his memory. But in the last year or two I’ve decided that that’s selfish — littering is just unacceptable, at least for me. So now I try to leave my space as clean as it was when I arrived. I don’t think my father would mind (and my mom would definitely be thrilled!).

Keeping Score

For many years I kept a scorecard during the game, but at some point, I think in my early 30s, I stopped doing it. I found that it’s a trade-off: On the one hand, keeping score kept me more engaged with the action on the field, plus there’s something geekily satisfying about it; on the other hand, it also made me less sociable, less chatty, more intensely focused. Nowadays, I’ll sometimes see someone else keeping score at the game and get sort of wistful, but then I think of how relaxed I feel, and how I’d probably be more tense if I were keeping score. I’m okay with that trade-off.

Checking Out-of-Town Scores

It will never not be fun to shout, “And the Yankees are losing!” (Well, assuming they actually are losing, which admittedly isn’t often the case these days.)

Critiquing Other Fans’ Jerseys

I guess because I’m the Uni Watch guy, people watching a ballgame with me will sometimes say, “Look at the jersey that guy’s wearing — the number font is wrong.” Or “Look at that guy wearing a Yankees jersey with ‘Jeter’ on the back. That really bugs me!” Or even “Doesn’t that guy in the Reyes jersey know that Reyes isn’t on the team anymore?”

My response is always the same: “Who cares? Fans can wear whatever they want.” And that’s really how I feel about it. If you’re happy with what you’re wearing, that’s fine with me. And besides, maybe that Jeter jersey was a gift from a parent or relative who just didn’t know any better. As most of you know, I don’t wear team gear myself to begin with, so I really chafe at the notion that there’s a “right” or “wrong” thing to wear at the ballpark. Live and let live, I say.

Pavlov’s Crowd

I cheer (or not) when I want to, not when the scoreboard tells me to. But if other people want to cheer when the scoreboard tells them to, that’s fine. Similarly, I don’t mind if other people do the wave; I trust that they’ll do me the same courtesy when I opt not to do it.

The Seventh-Inning Stretch

I always stand up, stretch, and sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but that’s just me. I don’t care if other people stay seated, or yak, or whatever.

Leaving Early

There was a time in my life when I made a point of staying until the last out, no matter how lopsided the score, how late the hour, or how miserable the weather.

Looking back on that now, what the fuck was I thinking? If you want to leave early, go ahead and leave early. I sometimes do!

———

So that’s me at the ballpark. How about you? Any behavioral categories I missed?

Pin Clearance Reminder

In case you missed it earlier this week, pin pricing is now at a rock-bottom $1 apiece, plus you get one free pin for every three you order. So that’s four pins for $3, eight for $6, and so on. Full details here.

•  •  •  •  •
Today’s Ticker can be found here.

Comments (214)

    Great article! I was at a game once with a group and one of my buddies stood up to cheer (it was the bottom of the 8th, bases loaded and we were down by 3) and the people behind us told him to sit down. He “politely” reminded them that it the go-ahead run was at bat and if they didn’t like it, too bad!

    What are your opinions on trash? Are you the “leave the empty beer cans and hot dog wrappers on the ground for the cleaning crew to handle post-game” or throw it out on your way out kinda person? And peanut shells? On the ground or in an empty cup?

    My father actually *taught* me to litter at the ballpark (explained here: link), but I no longer think that’s OK. I now try to leave the place as clean as I found it.

    I’ll add that to the text.

    As someone who put himself through college by working on the operations crew of the basketball arena I appreciate your change of heart. There’s always going to be trash that accumulates in the seating aisles just from having that many people present and we understood that picking it up was part of our job. However you’d be surprised to know how appreciative we were of fans who threw away what they could. Just that simple act is very helpful.

    I’ve was always taught, like Paul probably by my father, that you should always throw away your trash (cups, bottles, containers, left over food etc.) but that it was perfectly acceptable to just drop shells (peanut or sunflower). Does that just create an unholy mess for the crews and should I not do that?

    Peanuts and such are understood as unavoidable and part of the job. We never expected fans to leave their space immaculate its just the idea of doing simple things that can help.

    At Phillies games the ushers are supposed to let you get back to your seat only between at bats. However, this isn’t always enforced. Same at Flyers games-only during stoppages in play.

    That’s because of the possibility of getting hit by a stray ball/puck. It’s been a big thing since the death of that young fan in Columbus in 2002. Liability, torts, all that kinda malarkey.

    That is long gone, at least in the 400 level. Most of the time there is no usher and in the rare instance there is, it’s a free for all. I don’t think Wells Fargo enforces it much either.
    Citizens Bank Park has really gone down in quality the last two seasons, at least aesthetically. Behind the Center Field fence is overgrown, behind the Scoreboard wall is plain (no longer a picture of a Phillies hat or the Phanatic). They (like all of MLB) have gone overboard on sponsor signs and renaming the bottom section of Harry the K’s to the Miller Lite Liberty Landing is unforgivable. The kids section/jungle gym on the first base side was removed.
    The Yard for kids in Right Field is nice. As is Ashburn Alley. Excellent food and beer selection. With all this said, still nothing better than a day at the park, I just think it could be so much better.

    In my experience at WFC (Sixers) they keep you in the tunnel until a stoppage. I don’t mind, I think it’s fine; a nod to being civilized, courtesy to others, etc.

    The really great thing about my experience at WFC is that they keep the ushers in the same place for the most part, so if you have a plan that involves the same seats over multiple games, the ushers will absolutely learn your face and wave you in without showing your ticket. That’s nice when you’re carrying food/drinks.

    I’ve sat in the 100 and 200 levels this season, it is still enforced there. I generally appreciate it, unless there is a line of 20+ people waiting to get to their seats which causes its own problems.
    I would agree the nature of CBP has changed in recent years. It definitely feels different than it did 2006 thru 2011 during the Howard/Utley/Rollins/Hamels days. I have a hard time articulating why, sort of feels like it went from being the beautiful home of a team the city loved to a building where they are trying to keep you entertained in, like baseball is less of the reason to go there now.
    Regarding the overgrown center field wall, that spot has always puzzled me. When the stadium opened it seemed as though they were intentionally letting the ivy cover that brick wall batters eye. And it covered like 95% of it fairly quickly, but there was always a spot that the ivy didn’t seem to get to. Then for some reason after a few years it did finally cover the entire wall. But at some point they cleared the wall and started over again. I’ve always wondered why that one spot had no ivy for so long, and then why they decided to clear cut it one season.

    My seats at CBP are in the right field bleachers (103), and the ushers still keep people from entering the section until a break in the action.
    I more or less line up with Paul on his various items. Sometimes I can’t avoid being late, depending on when I get home from work and the traffic into South Philadelphia. I do critique the jerseys of others because I can spot a fake from a mile away. I Get It (TM).
    Do I boo? I was born and raised a Philadelphia sports fan, so it goes without saying that I do, but not like when I was younger. Profanity is avoidable, and there are too many kids around to be That Guy.

    Thanks Paul, Sometimes I wish ballparks would show a pregame “ballpark etiquette “tape like they do at the movies. Especially about getting up and walking around during an inning. I understand when you bring little kids you are going to have emergencies. But sometimes it seems like you’re sitting in a train station. At Hershey Bears hockey games the ushers are older, I don’t think they are corruptible, and they will hold you until there’s a break in the action.

    Going to Tiger Stadium as a kid, my dad always – always – patronized the vendors walking the aisles. Whether it was beer, hot dogs, soda, or even souvenirs, he said “those guys are working hard.” Plus, that kept us in our seats to watch the game, not go stand in line somewhere and miss the action. COVID seemed to eliminate that position entirely. I don’t see vendors walking stairs anymore.

    Have been to three Phillies games since Father’s Day. There are absolutely vendors still roaming the steps of the lower bowl. I actually had the shit scared out of me on Sunday by one because I wasn’t paying attention.

    There are a few still vendors wandering at Comerica Park, but not nearly as many as there used to be. I think after they added all the many, many food counters they thought it was redundant.

    If God Bless America gets sung, I don’t stand up. Just my point that it’s not the Anthem.

    Speaking of anthems, stand until the color guard are off the playing field.

    Baseball breaks for me are usually after the 3rd and 6th.

    I will take longer walks if it is a new stadium that i have not been to before. I like to see how they function.

    Hockey’s intermissions are the best for walking around. 20 minutes and go!

    But isn’t GBA usually sung during the 7th inning stretch? Not suggesting you must stand when it is sung, I just find that is typically sung when (most) people are already standing for a different reason.

    I would just sing This Land is Your Land simultaneously. That’s it’s purpose, after all. ;)

    I wasn’t aware of the standard to stand until the color guard is off the field. I’m sitting down when the song is over. I will change my behavior, as long as I’m not blocking fans behind me from something else.

    GBA is the biggest problem I have with ball games. By the 7th inning, alot of people a drunk. GBA turns up more often than I expect. I think in Atlanta they play it every game (at least they seemed to years ago when I went to a weekday game.) When I hear the introduction, I head for the bathroom.

    Proofreading, in the “Profanity” section:

    “My speech, MUCH like my writing”

    @Paul – why not hat off for the anthem? Most stadiums I’ve been to have the PA announcer ‘request’ it before playing. In fact at least at Eagles games you will be subject to abuse for not doing so (seen it countless times, and it’s not pretty).

    I support your “personal preference” ideology 99% of the time. But the National Anthem has its own etiquette. See link

    Those are not rules or laws. Just suggestions. If you choose to follow them, that’s fine; if someone chooses not to follow them, that’s also fine.

    Seems to me the cap off is the right way to take a small moment to respect and celebrate why we can even go to baseball games and have all of our other freedoms…including deciding whether or not to take your cap off during the Anthem. Question to Paul: Why do you prefer not to?

    I am a veteran, and so while I stand during the anthem, I keep my cover (hat) on and salute.

    Anthem etiquette may be worth it’s own article. I think if hats off as a sign of respect for the country that is expected when you’re a guest in a ballpark.

    What did your father do?

    I like the idea of standing with hat on — I never thought of that. I don’t like that the anthem is played before sporting events, in the first place, but I usually stand and don’t sing or put my hand over my heart (my elementary school didn’t teach us to do that, so I never do).

    After the Roe reversal, my young daughter and I went to the Philadelphia Union match a few days later — it was also Pride Night — and we both decided to sit with our hats off. It felt right, and instructive for her. Since then, we’ve resumed standing with hats off, not singing.

    Well, the PA instruction is “please rise and remove your caps.” I do, but it’s hardly required, and most games there are a couple people in any given section not standing. Gets a few looks and is promptly forgotten about when the action begins.

    God Bless America. I swear to God I wish I could stay seated or move around but I stay standing. Feels captive. I feel dirty standing for GBA…it’s my right to stay seated but I often stand out of fear of confrontation. How much jingoism do we have to take in a ballgame? Isn’t the anthem enough? I’m tired. I wish the Yankees would give it up. On one hand, surprised they haven’t yet, as I’m pretty sure they got in trouble “enforcing the song”…either they kicked out a fan for not standing for GBA or they wouldn’t let the fan use the bathroom, I’d have to look that up. But on the other hand, if any team is gonna hang onto a tradition born out of 9/11, it’s gonna be a New York team.

    This was one that I was going to ask about. I feel like GBA has become more standard and poignant than the National Anthem. I usually don’t stand out of principle during GBA but there are points where I’m fearful for the confrontation and just go with it.

    I wonder how much of the ballpark experience would be improved with elimination of anthem and GBA. They feel out of place but a must. Same goes with work. In the military almost every event starts with a prayer…why?

    I make a point of not reacting to GBA, and I’m OK with any confrontation that might happen. If I’m already standing or moving about, I keep on as if the song isn’t playing. If I’m seated, I remain so, hat firmly on head. I’ve been confronted a couple of times, and I am perfectly happy to argue the point. GBA is neither patriotic, nor a song. Not once in GBA does the singer praise our country, nor offer any reasons why our country might be worthy of praise. A patriotic song must do at least one of those two things. (GBA has a first verse that is actually patriotic, but nobody ever sings or plays that verse.) And it’s fundamentally a prayer, not a song, and as prayers go, it’s a shitty prayer. It can be paraphrased, “Here is a short list of blessings God has bestowed upon America. God, please bless America some more.” And possibly most importantly, GBA is a pacifist song originally released at a time when pacifism was the pro-Nazi position in America.

    I attended a European soccer exhibition game at Lambeau Field on Saturday, and it was kind of refreshing to have a sporting event just start with no anthems beforehand. The players gather, the ref blow the whistle, and the game is just on.

    I’ll stand during the 7th inning if they play Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land. Not for TMOTTBG, and definitely not for GBA. But if parks ever get the stones to play Woody’s classic, I’ll happily stand and sing along.

    In college athletics, I went on a tour with a team of Italy. I was requested to bring four copies of a national anthem to play prior to games (this was a while ago). I came back with three copies of the national anthem. We played it once before a game, against the Italian junior NATIONAL team.

    While there, we went to two Serie A games. The second, was at a location that really wasn’t supporting Serie A. 8,000 seat stadium, no video boards, almost no PA announcements (they were be relegated after this game). The game just started. No pomp, no circumstance, no introductions, no nothing. Just a whistle and soccer.

    GBA was written by a Jewish man in 1918 and released and promoted for Armistice Day in 1938. Hardly pro-Nazi. But you do you.

    I always feel like there is probably a pretty good percentage of people standing who are thinking to themselves, “why are we standing, this isn’t the national anthem”.

    Aside from Yankee Stadium (where I never go), most ballparks only play GBA on holidays and Sundays, right?

    I don’t attend games on holidays (I usually have something better to do, plus traffic, plus stupid holiday uniforms, etc.), and it’s rare that I’ll go on a Sunday. So GBA hasn’t been an issue for me, thankfully.

    Hey Paul…remember the first Mets playoff game (ever!) at new Shea, with you, me, Jon Springer and Shannon Shark? They played GBA then. You, me and Jon all sat (and there weren’t many of us to do so) while Shannon bolted upright and (I think) sang along. That may have been the only time I’ve ever had GBA foisted upon me. Hopefully the last too.

    Exactly.

    Every game we’ve been to together (and been in our seats in time for SSB, which is most), we both always stand. I don’t remove my cap either, but *sometimes* I do put my hand over my heart. Depends on how I feel, that one.

    Great lede today!

    That is my experience also, GBA isn’t played in Philly on a regular basis. Opening Day, holidays, maybe Sundays? And if I remember correctly it is during the 7th inning stretch, but prior to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. So it sort of lends itself to people already standing for the stretch.
    A shame this issue has become so polarizing. And the cap part, give me a break. I fully understand the etiquette behind it (and I personally remove my cap), but similar etiquette says you don’t wear caps indoor in general, or while sitting down for a meal. So if you aren’t worried about that, don’t make a big deal about caps on during the anthem or GBA.

    My father is an Marine who fought in Vietnam. He taught me to remove my cap during the National Anthem. So I do it. Out of respect to him and all of those who fought for our military. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. What is your issue with God Bless America? I really LOVE your site. But your left-wing political bent makes it hard to keep coming back, which sucks, because I love what you do. Why do you have to infuse your politics in the site and alienate half your audience? It’s getting to the point that I may just give up reading your site, and I will dearly miss it. But getting ideology crammed down my throat because I love reading you great uni-related content is just not seeming like its worth it anymore. I come to sports content to escape people’s political opinions. I come here for fun. Politics is not fun and it does not belong in sports stories. I love all things sports uniforms. If I want politics I’ll go to Foxnews.com or msnbc.com.

    Hi, Joe. With all due respect, I’d like to think we can both agree that I’m not cramming anything down your (or anyone’s) throat. I’m just expressing my point of view. If you that point of view doesn’t align with yours, well, that’s how life goes sometimes. But it would be nice if we could discuss such things without inflammatory language.

    As for mixing politics and sports, I generally agree with you. Here are some more thoughts on that, and how we might all move toward a better situation in that regard:
    link

    Take care.

    At Busch Stadium, they sing GBA at every game during the 7th inning stretch. Just another perk of living in the Midwest, I guess…

    As far as “Going for a stroll,” my wife and I try to get to at least one new to us MLB ballpark a year. We usually sit in our ticketed seats for 4-5 innings, then its time to stroll. We only do so to see the different views from all the angles of the stadium.

    It would be interesting to see what different generations of fans think about this. I’m younger than Paul, so by the time I started going to games with my dad stadiums were mostly passed the ushers that wiped down seats. Most just stood at the top of the section and said “halfway down on the left” or something like that.

    I agree with you on wearing a hat during the National Anthem. I think it is an arbitrary and silly custom, but I have seen people get berated for not doing it by other fans. One time at an indoor NFL Draft event the big screen showed the anthem being performed wherever the draft was that year. I was just walking around and after some guy said, “Next time, take off your, hat”. Don’t even get me started on making people stand for God Bless America.

    Good call on the littering, Paul. That has never sat right with me, even when I was a kid.

    It always seemed like a way to be lazy and add work to the plate of whomever was tasked with cleaning the place up after the game…

    My father taught me something similar to Paul’s but worse. He insisted on leaving our trash on the table at fast food joints because ‘the workers are paid by the hour, so this way they’ll get paid more.’ Thank heavens I spent many years in my teens and twenties working in such places so that I could learn decency.

    I love this particular topic. “Cleaning up after a meal or putting a shopping cart away in the rack.” It highlights an interesting externality to our chosen actions, in economics. In the grand scheme of things if every person disposed of their trash properly, cleaned/bused their own table at restaurants or even put their carts away at the supermarket, the world would be a better place and it would make the jobs of the people doing these things a lot easier… right? Well, it would actually eliminate a lot of jobs completely, and reduce hours and pay for jobs that were not eliminated. ie The restaurant owner has no reason for a busboy if there is nothing to “bus”. Maybe the saved busboy employment money is distributed to other employees (tips would be), or the owner keeps that money as profit (either is ok), but that opportunity for employment is now eliminated.
    Don’t be a slob. But, maybe it is OK to throw some shells on the ground, or leave your cart “free range” in the parking lot. (But, like totally-roll-around-into anything loose… we’re not in a Mad Max movie!)

    Thank you for elucidating the derangement I described. I’m a labor economist by trade, so I certainly understand externalities. The solution to low-wage unemployment or underemployment is certainly not to have everyone else behave like cave men. Yes, if we could all agree to behave like human beings and actually adhere to it, then there would be fewer jobs cleaning up after slobs. Then we could direct those efforts toward actually productive work.

    One time at Yankee Stadium, while I was in the middle of standing up, the person in front of my says “Take off your cap!” as the anthem was being announced.

    I should have kept it on, just to see what he would have done, and to show that the world would still be standing.

    Which brings me to my pet peeve of having moved to New York: Yankees fans.

    I’ve been to some recent Yankees games where people haven’t stood up for the anthem or removed their hats for GBA, and no one said anything. YMMV but I think it’s possible to get away with it now with less repercussion.

    One thing that bothers me at baseball games are when fans wear attire for a team that’s not playing in that actual stadium. For example, I go to Royals games and I know they are bad but it bothers me if they are playing the White Sox and someone is wearing a Cubs jersey or Yankees hat.

    I’ll never understand why this would bother anyone. Who cares what another fan wears? But this is all part of the world of merch and “jersey fouls” and so on that doesn’t interest me. Sorry to hear it detracts from your experience at the ballpark!

    Every professional game I have ever been to included someone wearing a Cardinals jersey. I have been to maybe 30 games and have seen the Cardinals play 3 times.

    When my family goes on vacation, we always try to hit up a baseball game. Of course, we wear our Cardinals jerseys, even if the Cards aren’t playing, which they usually aren’t. Although I did get to see them get blown out in Tampa Bay this year.

    Speaking from experience, it bothers you until you do it yourself. Then you’re That Guy, and it’s fun!

    Huge Red Sox fan (family is from Massachusetts) and we have a running theory that there is a Red Sox cap at every MLB game. It’s most likely wrong but the only caps I own are Red Sox caps so that’s what I wear to every game I attend.

    What about wearing weird minor-league caps to major-league games?

    Like the Macon Bacon, Savannah Bananas, Trenton Pork Roll, or Binghamton Rumble Ponies?

    For day games, people probably wear whatever hat they have for protection against the sun.

    It’s possible to be a fan of the game without being a fan of the team. I live in a market with two teams and find it quite common to see people wearing jerseys of the city’s* other team. Granted, I’m attending Angels games and the Dodgers are obviously the way more popular team.

    But if a group of friends is going out to a game and one of them happens to be a Dodgers (or Cubs, Yankees, Astros, etc) fan, I find no fault in them wearing a baseball jersey to a baseball game. Neither of them are cheap.

    *The Los Angeles Angels play in neither Los Angeles city nor Los Angeles County

    Last time I was visiting S.F. I took in a Giants/Angels game, and the only lid I had to wear was my Braves cap. What, exactly, are you saying I or anyone else should have done?

    It has a practical purpose to some extent. The fan is making the point of ‘I’m not actually rooting for either of these two teams, this is the team I support’

    Walking into to a Pirate game at Three Rivers in the mid 90’s I met a guy wearing a Braves Sid Bream jersey & told him he was bold. I saw him after the game & it was just drenched in mustard & ketchup.
    Good times!

    Some people skirt the line between brave and crazy.
    Others aren’t smart enough to know not to cross it.

    So many people have told me “I’ve never met a Rockies fan before” when I wear my CR hat and Todd Helton home jersey to whatever game I’m at. Great conversation starter.

    Going to my first Wilmington Sharks game tonight. I bought the hat, great design, but will likely wear my Helton jersey because why not.

    As an Angels fan, I love wearing my Ebbets Field Flannel’s Angels PCL “LA” hat to Dodger Stadium and seeing how many Dodgers fans compliment me on it.

    This used to bother me, but I had a realization and now I appreciate it. I used to live in Columbus and went to Blue Jackets games a lot, especially in the early and mid 2000s when the team was new. You’d see every NHL jersey *except* the Jackets’. I collected hockey jerseys at the time, so it was interesting to me to see Hartford Whalers jerseys, or minor leagues, or even the occasional international jersey, but it mystified me why someone would wear a Whalers jersey to a CBJ game. But then I remembered that the CBJ were new, and pretty terrible, and there were not only a lot of fans who didn’t have CBJ merchandise yet, but they also wanted to signal that they were *hockey fans*, not just newbies checking out a hockey game for the novelty. Hockey hipsters, almost, but I was a hockey hipster myself, so it registered with me. The lesson is that the random jersey is a sign of appreciation for the game itself.

    I hate to sound like “Old Man Yells At Cloud”, but God Bless America has no place at baseball games. It was fine in the Nationalism wave post 9/11, but they already play the National Anthem before every game, this is a bit much.

    I almost always bring my own food, so that’s usually packed in plastic bag, which I can then use for shells and other trash.

    Much more important question: what food do you bring, and what conflict (if any) arises at the security check?

    I usually bring fried chicken (long story) and peanuts. It’s never a problem — one of the nice things about baseball is that they still let you bring your own food.

    Yeah, that really depends on the park, Tiger St*cough cough* Comerica Park is very strict about no outside food and they made me toss some peanuts I brought last time (much to my consternation.)

    Probably because it’s owned by the Illiches, they of the Little Caesars Pizza conglomerate.

    Used to go to Tidewater Tides games in the late 80s, and a buddy I went had an interesting solution to the peanut shell litter problem: he ate the peanut shells along with the peanuts!

    You eat the peanut shells. This is normal, right? That’s how I grew up. Born in Wisconsin, so my early experience is Milwaukee based.

    Every time I’m on the Jumbotron, I pop and lock. Fred Berry would be proud.

    On “Keeping Score,”

    My wife and I have a rule that we keep score until the end of the third inning or until both teams register a base hit, whichever comes later.

    That way, if we ever happen to attend a no-hitter or perfect game, we’ll have a great souvenir of the game — to which we will be glad to have paid close attention.

    Once this milestone is passed, all bets are off and it’s time to “Go For A Stroll” to enjoy the game and stadium from a variety of angles.

    I used to be more particular about fans wearing Yankee jerseys with no name on back but now I don’t care as much. If a fan wants to wear a jersey with a player’s name or his own name? Fine with me!

    Lately at Yankees games I’ve noticed some fans wearing shirseys from the early 2000s and even ’90s (I saw someone wearing a Jimmy Key shirt, have also seen someone in a Mussina shirt and a David Justice shirt) and I think it’s cool seeing fans wear shirts for players from Yankees teams I grew up watching.

    I really like this perspective, Paul. Thanks for sharing. A couple notes / adds:

    1. I appreciate the swearing nod and agree that it is nice to mr mindful of your surroundings.
    2. I also like your trash thought. There is already a lot to clean, why make it more / harder?
    3. Oddly I always find it odd when people wear jerseys fit teams that aren’t playing. I don’t care either, but it strikes me as you are dressing up for the wrong event. Hat seems logical, in some way, but for some reason a jersey for a team not playing has always intrigued me.
    4. Weirdly or not, I am a one piece of flair guy. If going to a game I swear one visual item for my team and only if they are playing. There is something not appealing about too many sport clothing items at one time. Not sure why and again don’t mind others doing their thing.

    Overall I try to do what I do anywhere public. Have fun and be courteous and respectful.

    I’m totally in the one piece of flair category. It feels right to have some piece of Indians / Guardians gear on to represent the team, but wearing jerseys, hats, and other gear feels like overkill. Too close to the “full kit wanker” persona,

    Good stuff Paul. The standing up during action part is always interesting. It is of course obnoxious to stand the whole game, or else why would there be seats. Likewise it is obnoxious if you are the only one (or the only small group) doing it. It is just sort of one of those things where you know in the moment this is big and crowd does so mostly in unison. While baseball and football are different, I have found the issue more pronounced at football games, were certain pockets of fans feel the need to stand up on EVERY third down the home team defense is trying to stop. And while I get the need for crowd noise, certainly that can still happen seated.
    Also the littering thing is a great point. Be it in a stadium or movie theater it is weird that people feel justified being lazy and leave a mess just because they know someone is being paid to clean afterwards. As if that invites you to be a slob. Sort of reminds me of shopping carts, just because someone has to collect them from the designated return spot in the parking lot, that doesnt mean you should leave your cart wherever and make that person’s job harder.

    I am in my late 30s and a Phillies fan, so booing the home team/players is always allowed especially if they been stinking it up lately. Takin a stroll is always fine with me, especially if its a stinker of a game, and on that note, if its obvious the Phillies ain’t comin back by the 7th or so, damn right I am leavin the parkin lot and hoppin on 95 before everyone does, and usually put the game on the radio, of course doing this you know there is a small chance they could come back but its the risk you take (its gotta be a 4 run deficit at least usually for me). Profanity in general if there’s kids around yea I’ll try not to. As I get older I am not as profane as I used to be, but of course the occasional fuck and shit still happens. My dad showed me how to keep score but yea I just never took to it. You don’t mention whether you ever get a program/team magazine but I do like to get the team magazine at least once a season tho if I can. I don’t judge people’s jerseys/shirtseys on whether its a bootleg, replica, authentic or even accurate, the only ones I will judge are the people wearing 69 with an immature name on the jersey (Especially if theya re around my age or older).

    – Cap off, in my right hand over my chest, left hand behind my back. Cap does not get put back on until the last note is complete.
    – I feel out of sorts if I do not arrive at the ballpark at least 10 minutes before the gates open.
    – I stretch at the 7th inning stretch, but usually don’t sing (except that one time in the bleachers at Wrigley!).
    – I keep score most of the time (again, except that one time in the bleachers at Wrigley!). If it’s my first time at that stadium, I buy a scorecard. If it’s at my home Rangers ballpark (man I miss The Ballpark!!), I use my own scorecard. I do PxP for our HS team, so I developed my own to help with my broadcast. — At minor league/college games, I usually get the comment: “Are you a scout?”
    – I may groan in frustration, but I don’t boo.
    – I do my best not to leave my seat at any point during a game.
    – I can’t stand to see people litter.
    – I have never left a game early and never intend to.

    My friends dad had a connection with the Yankees and we would get in thru the press gate. We knew a few ushers and we tipped them. Most of the time we had to move a few times but usually by the 3rd inning or so we had our seats. The first time I went to a game in Baltimore (Memorial Stadium) I bought some cheap seats and figured I would tip a usher and get some good ones. But none of them would take any money. I finally said to one “who ever heard of a usher that doesn’t take money? How do u make money?.” Sorry to hear bout the new ushers

    Another quirk for me.

    If i am at a hockey game or soccer match, i like to wear one of my jerseys that are weird. A British hockey jersey at a minor league game in San Antonio, why not? Bayern Munich black and red jersey at a FC San Antonio match, why not?

    I think hockey and soccer fans appreciate the quirkier jerseys more.

    Football and baseball are more the home colors.

    I agree, Jacob!

    The weirder the jersey, the better. I once showed up in Bowie, Md. with a Price is Right jersey (looking like the Showcase Showdown wheel) from a wooden-bat team in Texas, and the Baysox fans were amazed!

    During the National Anthem it is a show of respect to remove your hat. Come on, you are better than keeping it on.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, David. Like I said, how other people deal with the anthem is none of my business, and I’ll thank you to return the favor.

    Saying that “you are better than keeping it on” is such a classic example of the forced patriotism that so many Americans try to force upon others these days. No one goes to a sporting event for the national anthem so let them do whatever they want during this small element of the overall experience. Otherwise you are just trying to force others to do/believe/feel something (in this case, patriotism) the same way that you do… and there really is nothing is more un-American than that!

    Ironically the same people say shut up and play if an athlete dares to have an opinion, as if professional athletes don’t get to be Americans.

    Even pre-kap I never liked the anthem played, and I have always tried to find an excuse to be in the concourse at that time. I didn’t have to conform or confront, and I didn’t have to make someone blow a fuse over my non of their business in-action.

    Now a days I would just as soon stay away from all ballparks, it is zero fun anymore.

    Just to note, it’s also correct etiquette to NOT applaud after the National Anthem. (Although you are allowed to applaud a rousing performance – you applaud the performer, not the anthem) Does it bother you the same when people clap? Just an interesting thought.

    As for my game rituals – I don’t have many, if any. It often depends who I’m going with, if it’s a weekday game or a weekend game, etc. But I’d say about every game I go to is a little different.

    National Anthem is usually the same, Stand, hat off if wearing, and usually hand over heart. Not a singer though.

    I used to pretty much sit through the whole game but when the kids were little, it became a “must” to get up and walk around with them for a little bit. They grew up enough to stay still in their seats but my daughter still likes to walk around at least once, especially on a hot summer day to go under the cool-misters at Cincy. And to get a few Cincy Chili Coney Dogs, which is definitely one of her Reds game rituals.

    On critiquing other fans’ jerseys, I’m always intrigued when people wear jerseys of teams/players not involved in the night’s game. Went to Kauffman last week for Rays-Royals and saw Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees & Cubs jerseys worn. What’s the motivation? I didn’t wear my Yount jersey to show everyone I care more for the Brewers that Rays or Royals.

    BUT.

    If you wore some kind of cheesed-up minor-league promotional jersey, you’d definitely have a conversation on your hands. Like if you walked in with a Portland Whoopie Pies jersey or the Fresno Tacos. Or my personal favorite, the Durham Lollygaggers.

    The Maine Whoopie Pies! Yes! I went to one of their games last summer. Unfortunately they were out of adjustable hats so I had to buy one that was slightly big for me, so I don’t wear it – but I’m proud to include it in my collection of MiLB hats.

    I went to a White Sox game this spring. I was on the concourse during the anthem — 95% of people there stopped, stood, and removed their hats for it. On the concourse! (I think most people were just following the crowd).

    Of course, that’s their choice and their way of showing respect. But where does it stop? Do people in the bathrooms stop and stand at attention? People in line getting into the park? How many viewers at home stand for the anthem?

    “Do people in the bathrooms stop and stand at attention?”

    For some folks, only parts of them do.

    Totally agreed on keeping score. As a teenager, I did it for every game I attended. Strangely, I realized that keeping score took me out of the moment. I was more fixated on getting the notations correct and whatnot, and not actually taking in the game. Plus it was annoying to hold a scorecard all game, especially if it was a packed ballpark and I didn’t have much space.

    As a kid, I always wanted to be there as soon as the gates opened so that I could try and get balls during batting practice. As a 40-something? Not so much. A half-hour is just about perfect.

    I love to go for a stroll at the ballpark. This was especially the case in what is now known as Oracle Park in San Francisco. The views of the San Francisco Bay and across into Oakland are spectacular. I’m not much for shopping either. Even when I attended a AA game last weekend, I went for a walk on the concourse of the small stadium in Corpus Christi, which still has some cool views.

    I haven’t been to an MLB game since I moved to TX five years ago, and that makes me sad.

    In my experience the ushers at Citi mostly function as huge bottlenecks. They check everyone’s tickets all game no matter what, which these days unfortunately means fans fumbling around on their phones to open an app. (It makes me think of what Clint Eastwood once said about how much of his life has been spent waiting for fans to figure out their own cameras so they could take a picture). Creates lines both entering and leaving the section.

    I love going to ballgames, and I love going to see ballparks in other cities!

    I like to arrive as soon as the gates open so I can explore the park and take photos. I want to see EVERYTHING! I have one of the MLB Pass-Ports, and enjoy getting the stamps in my book. It’s fun to run into other “Stampeders” and talk about our experiences.

    I haven’t tipped an usher in a long time. I haven’t had one really needed one to find or wipe my seat or do anything for me, either.

    But once I’m in my seat, I’m pretty much there for the game, save for a quick bathroom break.

    I don’t try to move down or get better seats — though I did it a lot at old Tiger Stadium. There were unspoken rules about how far you could move down to without the ushers caring. I’m at a point in my life where I pay for a decent seat and stay there.

    I always stand for the anthem, and always take off my cap because I think it is the respectful thing to do.

    I love to keep score! It’s keeps me in the game and I like seeing how players are doing and who is having the best day. I know this information is available everywhere, but I’ve done this since I was a kid and saved all the scorecards. The Mets have a pretty good scorecard, the Pirates had a fantastic scorecard — and the White Sox had the BEST scorecard — it was free, with the lineups already printed in it. Get them at the guest services window!

    I stopped booing after getting to do some stories about players and getting to know them and their lives. I see them more as people now. I did one ceremonial final boo of Derek Jeter at the White Sox park and it still might be lofting in the clouds on the South Side.

    I don’t like hecklers, especially those with profanity. They are more interested in drawing attention to themselves.

    I don’t care what jerseys people are wearing, though I do like to look at them and compliment cool ones. People like talking about their jerseys. I do think it is funny to see Yankee fans with very expensive authentic jerseys — with the player names on the back!

    I like “God Bless America.” It’s a beautiful and moving song.

    I stay to the end of the game. I want to get every minute our of my ballpark experience!

    A lot of people are bringing up the hat thing… I am a hat remover but what I really like is when the PA announcer says “please rise, and gentlemen remove your hats…”

    It feels like the last vestige of when most men wore hats when they were out of the house.

    Most of the games I’ve been to have been in Fenway, although it’s been a while since I was there, but they would say this in Fenway. Not sure if they still do, live in the south and with kids and whatnot haven’t been up yet. But have got to get my sons there, my youngest loves baseball.

    They used to say ‘and gentlemen, remove your caps’ at Camden Yards. I honestly have no idea if they still do this or not since moving to a female PA announcer. But I’m going to the game tonight, I can report back!

    …and gentlemen remove your hats is the only way I’ve ever heard it across ballparks all over the country. Maybe that’s changed in the last 7-10 years since I stopped going, that would likely correspond.

    In Baltimore, we get the “Please rise, gentlemen, please remove your hats, for the playing of our national anthem.” I don’t have a problem with it, mainly because I am one of those crotchety old farts who gets irritated when people wear caps inside – I was always taught to take my hat/cap off when I am indoors, and I try to abide by that even now.

    Now … if I ever go to a ball game in a dome, I have no clue what I would do. :-)

    For O Canada, our PA announcers in Winnipeg say, “Please rise if you’re able and remove your hats…”

    The only thing I disagree on is Wait Wait. I enjoy it even though everyone on it is smug. Especially the time Paul was on to discuss the White Sox unfortunate raincoat giveaway.

    Almost totally agreed with all of your personal ballpark rules, Paul, and those with which I don’t fully agree I think are well-reasoned. I generally get a ‘do what suits you, within reason’ vibe from you, with which I fully agree.

    Just curious on one thing. Why do you stand but not doff your cap for the anthem? In the same spirit as as lot of your personal rules, I don’t care a whit what others do for the anthem, though talking during that time is, as they say, poor to me.

    Is there any particular reason that you remain capped? Again, just curious.

    Interesting. Again, no judgement at all, as I couldn’t care less how people approach it. I have found all the stupid anthem talk in the last five years interesting, just to hear various folks’ reasoning for what they do or not do. I don’t think I’ve heard the anthem in public in twenty years, so I truly have no idea what I’d do in that situation.

    My cousin not only refuses to do the wave, he yells “raise your hand if you’re a pedophile” or some such as it approaches our section.

    Hahaha, I am very much anti-wave. 1) Aren’t you there (paying a lot of money) to watch the game, why are you distracting yourself? And 2) is a group of people standing and sitting in unison really that entertaining?
    One of those fads we cannot seem to get rid of.
    Mocking ADULTS who do the wave always makes me laugh.

    Totally agree, the wave is terrible! I come to baseball games to watch baseball, not random people standing up in front of me every 5 seconds. I went to Angels Stadium earlier this year and the wave-starter was only a couple sections away from me, so even when it failed I’d have to deal with it.

    I agree with pretty much everything. I remember my dad tipping the ushers and things like that. When I’d go to games with friends who had season-tickets it was always cool that their parents knew the usher’s name and vice-versa.

    On walking around the stadium. Often if a friend and I just want to take in a game, especially if the Reds are bad (ha!) we’ll get the cheapest ticket available and meander around the concourse. Not to shop or anything like that (god no!), but just to watch the game from different angles. We usually start out around the third base side, sneak down to a couple open seats, then make our way around left field and to the opposing bullpen when the relivers start to warm up just to heckle a bit and see if we can get a reaction–nothing personal, just general heckling. Finally we make our way back around to the first base side (Reds’ dugout) to watch the last few innings.

    Loved this post! I agree with mostly everything Paul said, and the few things I disagree with are presented in a thoughtful fashion, so I have zero problem with that. Also loved reading “first at Shea Stadium and more recently at their current stadium,” that’s great.

    With rare exceptions, I feel the national anthem should only be played at sporting events involving national teams, you know, when they actually have “USA” on their uniforms. Otherwise, it’s just forced, rote fake patriotism. And at Yankee Stadium (lifelong Yankee fan but man I hate that place), they actually ask people to remove their caps for God Bless America as well (they stopped for a while but are doing it again now). This is ridiculous. Maybe I should stand and take my hat off when I hear other Irving Berlin songs like White Christmas too! ;-)

    Love this lede and all the responses to it.

    FWIW, I’ve always been a “stand and take off my cap if I happen to be wearing one” person, but of late, I’m disinclined to stand for the anthem.

    Years ago I used to try to get to Angels games early enough for batting practice, partly in the hopes that I could get a ball signed. I actually got a Cal Ripken autograph that way. But the bigger motivation was that in those days you could pay $8 for a nosebleed seat, but if you were at the park before the crowds started to arrive, you could grab seats down by the dugouts.

    I don’t see the need to stand for GBA unless I’m already up for TMOTTBG, and now I can’t remember if the stadia that I go to actually play it. Last year I went to Fenway for the first time and I have to confess that the response to “Sweet Caroline” was one of the highlights of the game for me.

    Related to the anthem/hat thing, I noticed at Georgia Tech Basketball games the past few years, the PA announcer has starting saying “Please join us as we honor America with the singing of our National Anthem.” No mention of standing or removing caps. I’m not sure if that’s a stylistic choice or a conscious effort to not foist certain protocols on those who may not wish to do so. Unsurprisingly, most people follow the usual protocol of rising, removing caps, and placing a hand over their heart.

    For what it’s worth, I’m very much of the opinion that playing the anthem before games just doesn’t make much sense. I’ve personally taken to standing (hat on, if I’m wearing one) and putting my hands in my pockets. It’s my personal compromise of standing out of respect/patriotism while not putting my hand over my heart as my heart is broken over much of the current state of our country. But that’s my own choice, of course, and I won’t judge others for theirs.

    The 7th inning stretch is my time to use the bathroom. Especially if they’re also doing GBA, so it’s slightly extended. Usually the lines aren’t there, because everyone is getting their last beers of the game, and it’s way better than going after the game, for a speedy exit.

    Also, the type of game matters. If I’m going to a MLB game with my family, actions are different than if I’m attending a minor league game with some friends.

    To use your words, “What kind of idiot” DOESN’T remove his cap during the National Anthem? The PA announcer at most venues usually includes that in the introduction of the Anthem – for folks to please remove hats. Why are you so hellbent on being disrespectful by making a point of leaving yours on?

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, Jim. The anthem belongs to each of us, and we each get to deal with it in the way that makes sense to us.

    (And the P.A. announcement is a request, not a command.)

    Probably the sort of person who leaves symbols to the symbol-minded. Or maybe the sort of person who thinks that in a country that is ostensibly built on allowing people to live their lives as they see fit, one should be able to sit or stand as one pleases? But I agree with you, if you don’t stand for the special song, then the magic sky cloth won’t freedom.

    “Wait wait can’t listen” is the worst! And it replaced the best ever “wha’d you know”, a show I have listened to since the mid 80s, and whose podcast I still listen too. I should mention Michael is still salt about loosing his spot to Peter, which is simultaneously amusing and at times sad. I also know I would rather get punched in the nortz then have that wind bag Carl Castle record my phone’s answering machine message.

    Well, you make me & my Carl Kasell cell-phone message sad. But if it’s any consolation, there’s no danger it’ll happen to you: Mr. Kasell shuffled off this mortal coil something like four years ago.

    I used to thoroughly enjoy keeping score at baseball games. Made for a kind of cheap, self-created souvenir of the event. But once all of the infield shifting became commonplace, I couldn’t keep track of where all the fielders were positioned. Maybe I’ll start again if the shift is banned.

    Nice post, Paul! The new format seems to have really boosted the comments section, too! Well done.

    A few notes:
    –Jerseys/attire: Wear what you want! For years I tried to convince myself I could have Cleveland and Twins dual citizenship and would wear a hat of one and jersey of the other. After my dad passed away a few years ago, I realized I could only be all-in for Cleveland. So I mostly have my G’s cap on, even for all the games at Target Field. (30 years up here, but those Cleveland roots are deep!)

    –During the 2003 playoffs, I scored tickets in the top row of the Metrodome. Not only could I stand all I wanted, but was right next to one of the big heating ducts. Made for a great bass drum during rallies!

    –Love the idea of “This land is your land” instead of GBA. But only if they include the verse about private property and “that side.”

    –Keeping an Eephus League scorebook at every game keeps me in the game, and is simply part of the ritual and rhythm of the game. And I don’t worry about every having the book audited, so I’m not afraid to list WW as a notation. (“Wasn’t watching”)

    –In the Midwest I haven’t come across being berated about hats or standing. Lots of silent judging going on, no doubt!

    Pretty much in agreement with 99% of Pauls etiquette at ballparks/stadiums except for the anthem stuff. I used to not stand at all and just play on my phone, stare at the ground or whatever. You can imagine the shit I was given so now I stand up; stand up and go to the bathroom, concessions or just hang in the concourse. I feel dirty about it as it compromises my principles but honestly the inconvenience of doing that is still better than defending myself against a bunch of jingoistic assclowns when I paid good money to watch a sporting event. Potayto, potahto.

    I don’t get why that bugs people. Maybe they are in town from chicago, and want to see your park, and also want to make a point of their travels, and it celebrates baseball

    I don’t think that replied to the right person. It was regarding out of town jerseys.

    I try to get to the park as early as possible to do the strolling around. Went to Atlanta game in early July and did 2 laps around the park to see what there was to see (including a very interesting display about how the Braves and Cherokee nation work together-highly recommend). I will find my seat right about the ceremonial 1st pitch (anywhere between 10-20 mins before actual first pitch). I used to keep score too, but now I usually fixate on a player to see how they play (the game I was at, I was comparing/contrasting how Yepez and Acuna Jr. played RF).

    Arrival Time – I usually am running late for everything in my life, baseball games are no different. A half hour sounds about right if things were perfect for me. Someday, I’d actually like to get to a park right when it opens, to observe stadium operations, just for fun.

    Tipping the Usher – I literally never knew until this very moment tipping was a thing! It never occurred to me. Not sure I am going to implement it to my own routine at this point now.

    The National Anthem – I no longer stand. I sit quietly in my seat. For God Bless America, I change no behavior, whether I am eating, drinking, walking around, etc… (although I think I’ve been at only one game it was played at)

    Standing Up During the Game – I am no worse than anyone else about this. I know when to stand and when to sit, and try not to be a jerk about it.

    Leaving My Seat – I just leave for bathroom breaks and food, preferably at the same break. If I leave for a walk or stroll, I usually don’t come back, if I sit down again, I try to sit elsewhere.

    Going for a Stroll – I like to walk around at new parks, just to check them out, and see games from different angles. I am not a shopper either (I would never buy merchandise at a ballgame, that’s when its at its most expensive)

    Cheering/Booing My Team – I never “mean boo”, its always more like ribbing the player team

    Chatting with Strangers – I’m naturally less talkative around strangers, but will banter back & forth on occasion.

    Profanity – this is the big leagues baby, there is gonna be swearing! But seriously, I don’t go out of my way to swear, and again, if its not “mean”, I don’t care what other s do. But I gotta say, SOME people do seem to care a lot, it can be definitely a little disconcerting.

    Littering – Well then… I pack my trash out when I leave my seat, EXCEPT I also eat peanuts at a game, and I do just throw the shells under my seat. Maybe next time I will figure out a way to discard my shells in a more tidy manner.

    Keeping Score – never have done it, although I have thought about it a million times.

    Checking Out-of-Town Scores – not a thing for me.

    Critiquing Other Fans’ Jerseys – people are weird about what other people wear. I have no general opinion, though I almost will always side with the person giving the proverbial F You to the masses. But on the other hand, I will sometimes have a smart-ass comment for someone in Dodgers gear.

    Pavlov’s Crowd – I am not opposed to ‘dumb fun’ and baseball is often just dumb fun, if it feels goofy I may go along with the crowd. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t!

    The Seventh-Inning Stretch – Sure I sing along TMOTTBP, but at Giants games, they also play Don’t Stop Believing (talk about dumb fun!), sure I sing along.

    Leaving Early – whatever’s clever, although if it’s a close game I may lobby to stay longer if I am with people.

    Last note – I HATE HATE HATE that all baseball games are now events, in that you have to plan a day, budget, schedule, etc to attend a game.
    I long for the notion that games should be two hour, 25 minutes long, cost about $10 to get into and you could afford to fill yourself on food you bought at the park.

    Anyways!

    Lee

    I used to do the “sit quietly in my seat” thing but got tons of shit for it. Ho w have you managed to avoid that?

    I live in San Francisco, and I just ignore it (I haven’t had anyone actually confront me, or throw stuff, or anything, just a few comments).

    Lee

    Ah. Makes sense that a chill city like that people will be more inclined to mind their own business. I got comments when I did it but the only real “confrontation” came from a guy at Yankee Stadium. Go figure.

    I will say the only game other than in SF where I didn’t stand up, was in NYC at a Mets game, and I was in the concourse.

    It always strikes me as odd/funny when people stop on the concourse for the anthem, take off their caps (unless their hands are full of junk food & soda), but then have no clue where to look since there aren’t any flags around.

    Lee

    Ironically the concourse is where I now go so I don’t get confused as being part of the Jingoism Club©

    I’d be interested to hear what people think about beer/liquor consumption, and finding a place to sneak a cigarette since most parks are now 100% smoke free.

    My usual go to meal is a large coke, a sausage/brat/hot dog (w sauerkraut), and a bag o’ peanuts.
    I actually don’t (usually) drink beer at a game, mainly because they are so expensive. Plus usually if I drink one, I want to drink 10, and I am not going to do that at a ballpark.
    And I’ve never smoked, so thats not a thing.

    Lee

    One of my favorite activities at Brewers games is looking through the crowd to find the most obscure jersey. Like a Curtis Leskanic or Brooks Kieschnick.

    I loathe GBA, mostly because there is no protocol attached to it, but also because it seems so forced. A few years back, my friend didn’t take his hat off for it, and the guy sitting next to us berated my friend for not showing enough respect for veterans like him (the guy made his argument all about himself). I’m not a particular fan of the anthem either, but I roll with it.

    Why in the sweet merciful crap is it seen as disrespectful to wear a hat during the singing of the National Anthem? Why is removing my hat a showing of respect? That has always bothered me. Actually, it’s bothered me since I was a kid and my elementary school was hellbent on having us remove our hats any time we were in the building, for… reasons.

    Should I remove my sunglasses, too? How about my shirt?

    This alone convinces me to keep my hat on indoors:
    Students disrespect no one in particular when they don’t remove their hats in class. What they are rejecting is a societal norm that springs from a historical tradition that has much to do with respect and reverence for authority in general.

    Lee

    1. Have a beer or two, but don’t get sloppy drunk. You become an arse to those sitting around you (some of which are kids), and in many ballparks, now, you’ll get thrown out.
    2. Unless you’re a veteran (whereby you can keep your hat on and give a hand salute to the flag) take your hat off and hold it over your heart during the anthem. R E S P E C T.
    3. There are very creative ways of heckling an umpire or the other team. You don’t need to use profanity to do it.

    There’s a few more, but that’s it for now.

    Just to clarify: I too would never use profanity when booing or heckling. I just meant that I sometimes use profanity when, you know, having a conversation.

    Paul – How do you react when fans start “rubber-necking” when fights break out or security (orange vests?) is called in? It’s an odd moment right?

    Also – would you ever get up and “dance” or “kiss” if on the “-cam?”

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been near a fight at a game (thankfully).

    I don’t pay attention to the [whatever]-cam, so I wouldn’t even know that I was being featured.

    The Braves have something called “Oblivious Cam” where they spot someone not paying attention and they keep their puss up on the big screen until they look up or someone tells them.

    Great piece,

    I recently went to my first MLB game in what had to be eight years (I no longer live in an MLB city after living within 45 minutes of an MLB park for nearly 25 years of my life.

    Went to Diamondbacks / Nationals.

    Things that I observed / did as a spectator:

    Arrived an hour early. Wandered the Stadium them (my first time in Chase Field). Enjoyed that.

    Found “our seats.” We improved our seats from what was purchased but didn’t have any issues despite the arena being 80 percent full.

    Despite knowing rules changes, I was still startled to “and starting at DH” in a national league park.

    With the changeover between innings being timed, I didn’t have enough time to go to the restroom in a non-playing window.

    There’s no need to keep score anymore. The scoreboard provides so much information, including a partial scorebook. Part of keeping score was to see the pace of game, how hitters did in previous at bats, etc. Now all that’s on the arena scoreboard, including exit velocity and so much more data.

    Now my observations, specifically on the shift:

    Virtually every at bat was played in some sort of shift, some greater than others. Some, with the middle infielder a step or two on the proper side of the bag, but still shading a lot. Others with the middle infielder playing 8-10 steps on the improper side of the bag.

    1) Nationals hitters struck out 11 times. That means just 16 outs were possibly created due to the shift (you could argue that the shift adds to the strike-outs).

    2) There were times in which that the shift just didn’t matter. There was ball hit to the left side shift from a right handed hitter that the second baseman touched and the short stop touched and still ended up an infield single.

    3) There were times that the ball was hit hard between two fielders in a shift and still ended up a base hit.

    4) There were plenty of times that the ball was hit right at a fielder in a shift. If you’re going to hit a ball 90 percent of the time in the same place, why wouldn’t you put a fielder there?

    In person, it’s just so shocking how much space there is to hit a ball opposite a shift. If players would learn to hit with their hands back and not try to hit over the shift, it would be easy to get on. It’s not an MLB problem. It begins in travel ball, in high school, in college. The best players just smash the ball young and don’t have to worry about placement or hitting the other way.

    Back when the Expos visited my town regularly I’d stand up and take my cap off for their anthem (though I didn’t put my hand over my heart). I’m not Canadian, much less a Canadian patriot–it just struck me as what manners called for.

    I love when the Blue Jays come to MN. Lots of fans come down from Winnipeg, and I can sing along with their lovely anthem! I do try to sing along with the SSB, though some singers make a difficult song even more difficult.

    Leaving early and keeping score reminds me of a story. I don’t often go to Cubs games, but I took my brother (who always keeps score) to one for his birthday a few years ago. “Happy birthday, pick a game you want to go to.” He chose a game against the Phillies and I bought a couple of tickets.

    Late in the game, I think it was in the 8th, the people sitting behind us started talking about “beating the crowd,” which we ordinarily wouldn’t bat an eye at. Thing is, this was July 25, 2015 and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels was throwing a no-hitter. My brother pointed that out to them, and they stayed because how often do you get to see a no-hitter in person?

    It turned out that one of them was keeping score and didn’t notice. So there’s that.

    The only *reaction* I’ve ever seen (and it was prolly 20 years ago) to someone not removing his cap for the anthem involved three young (and already slightly-to-moderately inebriated) guys and a much older guy who was likely a veteran. One of the kids was wearing a cap and didn’t remove it, and the three of them were talking as the SSB played. The old dude, sitting one row directly in front of them, turned around and RIPPED the cap off the kid; it wasn’t an assault, but it was pretty violent. I was watching the whole thing cuz I had a feeling some shit might go down, just from the way the three idiots were acting. But the old guy’s actions were completely out of line and uncalled for. Had he asked them to shut up and/or remove the cap, that’s one thing. To physically assault (almost) someone was over the line. Fortunately, the incident didn’t escalate (I figured for sure the three dudes would have kicked the crap out of the old guy). Surprisingly, they did shut up and were about as well-behaved as could be after, and security didn’t get involved.

    I’ve seen more than my fair share of fights (and was actually in two) at old Shea, but none of them involved the SSB.

    That’s ridiculous behavior on behalf of the veteran. I’m surprised security didn’t step in.

    I agree, but it was just a fleeting moment thing, and didn’t escalate. And since the kids were kinda being dicks before that, since nothing further took place, no one seemed to mind. If anyone ever pulled that shit with me (unless he was with like 3 WWE guys), it wouldn’t have ended like that.

    It’s funny, as a PA announcer for my college’s sporting events, I’d taken to rephrasing the intro to the anthem as “We ask that you remove your hats as we honor America with the playing of our national anthem,” deliberately leaving out the “Please rise” to make room for those who choose not to or can’t. I’ve got no issue with the hat staying on (heck, I’d be fine not doing the anthem at all, but that’s not my decision), but the general rhythm of the introduction make it feel like I had to suggest people do something.

    Any suggestions for how to introduce the anthem without any instructions?

    “Any suggestions for how to introduce the anthem without any instructions?”

    Just don’t.

    Haven’t done PA announcing in years (nothing that was a big deal just small college stuff) but if you have a guard or someone performing you could just introduce the group and not mention any instructions.

    On foul balls (sorry, I completely forgot to write this last week):
    About 10 years ago, when I lived in another city, I was friends with a former MiLB player in the Pirates system. We’d often go to games to support the local AAA team. This former player had never caught a foul ball, and he really, really wanted to. He probably had a hundred different balls in his personal collection, but no foul balls that he caught. Crazy. So one game, it’s probably the fifth inning, he gets up to have a smoke. I kid you not, a foul ball comes right to his seat. It was his. Except he was gone. Another friend picked it up, and offered it to him when he came back. He was pissed, and wouldn’t take it because he didn’t catch it.

    A bit of a pet peeve of mine: The guy at the end of the row that seems annoyed when you walk by during a non-action point of the game. Hey buddy, you chose to sit in a seat where everyone who leaves has to walk past you. Live with it or sit in the middle of the row.

    The thing I can identify with the most is the arrival time and the leaving early section. For a few years I lived an easy walking distance to Wrigley Field, so it was an easy way to spend a weekend afternoon, either there or taking the train to the Southside, by getting an individual seat at the box office that day. And at the time I loved getting there early to watch warm-ups and the field getting ready, and then staying while the grounds crew cleaned up the field after the game. But now, I’m happy if I’m in my seat for the 1st pitch of the game, and while I usually stay until the last out, it’s not a big deal if I don’t, especially if I’m with kids who’ve reached the point that it’s time to go.

    Paul, I agree with mostly everything that you said in regards to your ballpark etiquette. I have a story about standing up for the anthem.

    Several years ago, my family and I were at Wrigley for a Cubs game (I forget who their opponents were); we got there a little later than usual because it was the first time we took a bus from a Cubs parking lot and they ran behind schedule. As you can imagine, we were in a rush to get to our seats and, as the Anthem started to play, I think I had dropped my phone on the concrete. I was stooped to pick it up and I heard some older gentleman behind me say “Rizzo, stand up and pay respect to our anthem.” (I was wearing an Anthony Rizzo jersey, so I knew it was in reference to me). Before I could turn around and say something, my dad interjected and said, “Leave him alone. He was raised the right way.”

    Since that experience, I do stand for the Anthem, but I do not put my hand over my heart or remove my hat. I understand the etiquette associated with those actions and respect people who still do it, but for the aforementioned story and my own additional thoughts and experiences, I don’t feel comfortable with doing what I did when I was younger (I’m in my late 20s now).

    I normally keep score at professional games, but don’t when I go see my minor league team play. I don’t know off hand if the former offers scorecards or not, but I find it more refreshing to just sit and watch the game be played rather than staying hyper-focused on keeping score.

    One pet peeve I do have when watching games at home is seeing the amount of people staying transfixed on their phone screens when they’re sitting in very good seats (like lower levels and behind home plate). I obviously don’t know every circumstance and it’s not really my place to judge, but given my current financial situation, I can’t imagine being on my phone the entire time while having such a great view of the game.

    If you are unfamiliar with the ballpark or don’t know where your seats are at USE THE USHER.
    Don’t be that guy standing in the aisle aimlessly looking at your ticket and scanning the area while play is on the field.

    Standing Annoyance: Those in the front row, with no one in front of them, standing during the game (non-game important moments excluded)

    What about the guy with the radio and no headphones?
    Never been a radio at the ballpark guy, I guess some are, but why annoy everyone else around you for you special quirk.
    Had seats on the field once and was able to hear all the sounds of that game and some schmuck in the same section decides he wants to also listen to the game on the radio

    Yeah, it’s annoying to be near someone with a radio, but I feel like that rarely happens anymore. People wear earbuds or whatever.

    The one exception: When longtime Mets radio broadcaster Bob Murphy was working his final game in 2003, the team actually *encouraged* fans to bring radios to the game, so they could hear Murph’s last game call. I went to that game, and having all the radios on hand was really fun.

    The first time I went to Dodger Stadium I brought a radio (with an earbud) so that I could listen to Vin Scully call the game. Because it was Vin.
    I usually try to keep an ear on the broadcast so that they clue me in to weird stuff going on that I don’t catch from where I’m sitting.

    Paul,

    Articles like this really seem to thrive in the new format, they are also what sets you a part and has made your site a daily read since the launch.

    I’m not a very social person outside my circle but the ballpark brings a sense of community. One of my favorite experiences that I will never forget is going to a Blue Jays game in Buffalo last summer. Things were starting to open up, they had a fully vaccinated section and though not for the best reasons Buffalo had major league baseball for the first time in 100 years.

    The Jays homered and I high fived my Dad, brother, and cousin and then we all high fived other people, strangers, in our section. It was the first sigh of relief I felt in a year and a half. COVID was/is far from over but that unbridled moment of celebration and community made such an impact.

    In the West, uncovering the head is sign of respect. When men commonly wore hats on a daily basis, the hat would be doffed upon being introduced to a lady; hats were respectfully removed upon going into somebody’s house; hats were not worn (by men) in church. There’s nothing anthem-specific about hat or cap removal. In the East, covering the head is a sign of respect, which is why Jewish people insist on everyone, Jewish or not, cover the head in a temple or synagogue.
    I think the practice of playing the national anthem before every sporting event is ridiculous, but I understand why declining to remove the head covering can be seen as an overt sign of disrespect.

    This probably falls under “Critiquing Other Fans’ Jerseys,” but my biggest pet peeve is when fans wear a jersey or gear from a team that’s not playing. Like, I’m at a Braves vs. Marlins game, why are you wearing head to toe Yankees gear?

    But why does it matter to you? Like, OK, you find it confusing, but so what?

    I’m not trying to pick on you. I’m genuinely confused about why anyone would be bothered by this. Who cares what someone else wears?

    I mean, there might be people at the game wearing a dirty T-shirt, or a shirt that’s buttoned incorrectly, or a hat that has nothing to do with sports, or a shirt with a slogan of some kind, or a shirt with Japanese lettering — do those bug you too? Or just a jersey for a team that isn’t playing?

    I’m so glad I don’t buy or wear retail jerseys. A lot less stuff to worry about!

    My thought is that I am a Giants fan. If I wear any team’s merch, its going to be the Giants, no one else, even if I attend games that don’t involve the Giants.

    I never ask a person why they are wearing any particular piece of clothing, but I’d be disappointed if someone said they were wearing Giants stuff just because they happen to be in the Giants park but weren’t actually a fan. I’d rather they wore the team they actually support.

    Lee

    I live a long way from a major league ballpark (Alaska), so whenever I’m able to get to one I’m definitely an early arriver. I like to make a whole day of it. Pre-game is for exploring the stadium and checking out the different sightlines. Once the game begins, I like to be in the seat.

    “please rise ladies & gentlemen & remove your caps… ” just now at AmFam Field in milwaukee

    Wow, this was a wonderful post, Paul! And I’ve enjoyed the comments. I’m sure many, like me, have fought the urge to comment on almost every preference you shared. I’ll just share two:
    1) I love the remembrance about tipping the ushers at Shea. I can share a variation on it. From 1977 through 1982, when the Mets were the pits, we had this system down pat, and pulled it off smoothly about 15 times a year, when there were 5,000-10,000 fans at the game. General admission (grandstand) tickets were about $1.50. Each of the 3 or 4 of us would buy that ticket, then we’d go to Loge Section 1, right behind home plate. The usher there was probably close to 80 years old. We’d approach him, with an old loge ticket stub on top and a $5 bill under it. He’d escort us to seats in the back of the section, then around the 4th inning, when he was sure no latecomers were stuck in traffic, he’d give us the nod. We’d walk down to meet him in the concourse, and he’d tell us which empty seats to take in the Loge box section. We were thrilled when the Mets became winners in 1983-1984, but that was the end of sitting in the best seats in the house!
    2) Could not agree with you more about Wait Wait, Paul. “Aren’t I hysterical? Listen to everyone laughing at everything I say!”

    Plus, their audio engineering is frustrating. The applause and laughter is really loud. Can’t they bring it down? (And as I type that, is my comment the equivalent of “The food there is terrible, and the portions so small?”)

    Some things that I’ve seen at ball parks;

    At Fenway, a guy was throwing things (popcorn, peanuts) at a guy’s bald spot a number of rows down. The bald guy stood up after a while and looked back. About 20 people pointed the guy out and he got booted. Fenway was great.

    Saw my only on-field brawl in Oakland. Canseco and McGwire went back-to-back. Next time up, Canseco hit another one out. Oil Can Boyd was pitching for Boston. He plunks McGwire and both benches emptied.

    Went to a Sunday DH at Three Rivers as a kid. Always a great experience. The first game had a 2-hr rain delay and went 14 innings. The Bucs won on a walk-off homer. They swept the nightcap as well. We were literally there all day, and I loved every minute of it.

    I’m an Air Force retiree and also worked for 15 years at a military school later. So, I’ve heard the anthem probably more than most. It became a reflex for me to stand at attention and salute (outside, in uniform) or just stand at attention inside (uniform or not). Now, I really don’t care. I feel that I’ve earned the right to do what I want. What’s the point of people fighting and dying for our first amendment rights if we can’t exercise them once in a while? That’s the best way to show respect for their sacrifice, IMO.

    As far as God Bless America goes, why? Hasn’t God blessed America enough? How about blessing Haiti once in a while?

    A few thoughts:
    — I hate missing even one pitch of a game, even one on TV. Just leaves me feeling like I’m playing catch-up.
    — I don’t mind people standing up from time to time. Back when I attended Marshall University football games, however, the crowds there would stand up for pretty much every play. Some people in the front would stand up if an exciting play was happening, or maybe about to happen, and everybody behind them had to stand to see the play. It wore me out, mentally and physically.
    — One thing Paul did not mention was throwing things. A good paper airplane from the upper deck sometimes made it to second base, but I never tossed one myself. At those Marshall U. football games, people would often bring beach balls. Hated ’em. Not that they would cause any real injury or damage (maybe bend your eyeglasses), but getting smacked by one was always a surprise and a hell of a distraction from the game I paid to see. At a minor-league baseball game, the home team had a promotion giving out a pizza discount coupon. They put the coupon inside a pizza box and flung it into the crowd. A friend of mine sitting next to me didn’t see it coming and nearly got coldcocked by the corner of the box.
    — Back when I went to my first baseball game, in the mid-1970s at Riverfront Stadium, I always had upper-deck (red) seats. Those ushers were seat Nazis. They kept the red-seaters from other parts of the stadium. One let me take a photo from the green seats before a game, but you’d swear he thought he’d lose his job because of it.
    — I attended a baseball game in Kansas City once and was in line at the outfield concession stand when the national anthem started. The guy running the stand yelled, “National anthem! Suspend all sales!” And everybody waited quietly until the anthem was done to get their food. I’m assuming somebody made sure the food didn’t burn, but I don’t know for sure.
    — As for keeping score, I made it to only one or two games a year, so the scorecard was a souvenir from that day. Nowadays, video boards show at-bat and other game history, so there’s no need to keep a scorebook handy.
    — Because attending a game in person was rare, my family and I would get there early, enjoy batting practice, the entire game and linger at the park after the final pitch. We wanted to squeeze all of the enjoyment out of it that we could., no matter the score of the game. But if others wanted to leave early, great. Less traffic for us when we left.
    — I’d always buy a yearbook and scorebook (in the mid-1970s, those were tough to find anywhere outside of a ballpark), but I would wait until after the game. Carrying those around was a pain and putting them under the seats made them susceptible to spills and stains.
    — Leaving a game because of bad weather? NEVER! Some of my best memories of baseball and football games were in bad weather, be it wind, rain or snow. We would sit in the weather or take cover and wait it out, talking about everything and nothing. I can recall moments from decades ago, based simply on what the weather afforded us.
    — The funniest memory I have of people standing up in front of me was during my first NBA game, in 1991 in Salt Lake City. Two guys in front of me knew all the traditions of the game. At about the 2:10 mark left in the first half, they both stood up and yelled at the top of their lungs, in unison: “Does anybody know how much time is left in the first half?!” The P.A. announcer then warned: “Two minutes! Two minutes left in the half!” Then they yelled a tired “Thank you!” and sat down. Funny stuff.

    I also miss the days off small-time ballpark and arena corruption. There was a Madison Square Garden ticket taker back in the late 70s who looked like Joe DiMaggio and he would take your ticket stub from a past game if you wrapped a fiver around it.

    GBA was Flyers song so we never stood or sung it, even if it was at a baseball game.

    Throughout the 90s I knew a Peace Officer that worked Shea and MSG. He would meet us at a certain exit, take us in and always directed us to a certain usher that worked the 3rd base side of the field. We’d give him $20 and he’d give us the best box seats you can imagine. If the person for that seat showed up he would just shift us to other seats. Those were the good old days!!!!!

    Hey Paul – thoroughly enjoyed both of your “etiquette” columns. I’m right there with you on almost all topics in today’s piece, although I am also certain that my standards have evolved (or changed drastically) from my childhood when we got to maybe 1-5 games per season at Fenway compared to 45-55 games a year at Coors Field.

    We have the best usher in the building and I will always look for ways to make life easier for her, whether it’s covering for her so she can go get a cold drink or buying her a hot dog when she doesn’t have time to go eat. But I must confess I have never thought of tipping her, in part because I don’t think she would take it. On the other hand, considering how many people of various levels of “expertise” we are expected to tip these days, I suddenly feel like my usher deserves it.

    Also wanted to mention the reason I decided to comment today, nefirebeforemi read your column. Watching the Rox and White Sox at home today and spotted a Sox fan behind home plate wearing a I still call it Comiskey” t-shirt.

    Tim

    I think we probably have different ideas about what constitutes “classy,” Jay. Also about what constitutes patriotism and thoughtful citizenship. You’re certainly entitled to your viewpoints on those topics; I trust you’ll grant me the same courtesy. Thanks.

    It’s the non-smoking law that gets me at open air ballparks, like why can’t a responsible smoker have a designated area to have a cigarette?
    A drinker can have 10 beers and turn into a troll and disrupt money paying fans hence the liquid courage in them.
    Makes no sense.
    Actually yes it does, you can buy all the alcohol you want at a stadium but you cannot buy a package of cigarettes, got it!
    All about the $$$.

    Paul, your comments about “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! ” and it’s host are spot on. The show is a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals patting themselves on the back for reading the news during the prior week. NPR always puts this on during the weekend when it could reach more people with better content, as opposed to during the week when people are working and are not listening. This and when WNYC devotes entire Sundays to the “Great American Song Book” are why I only listen during the week as I can. If you like people who like to hear who smart they are, or tell you how smart they are, or if you want to see what Paula Poundstone has been doing with the last 15 years of her career, then this show is for you.

    My gripe is that anyone with a 5th grader’s grasp of current events could “win” the “game.” It’s basically for morons! And the “celebrity” who “wins” doesn’t even win anything! Like, no donation to their favorite charity, no crown or tiara — nothing! Grrrrrrrrr.

    The new Rangers ballpark has removed some of the things that made going fun. You can no longer bring your own food and drinks in. You may bring in 1 bottle of water.

    The seats are very segregated. In the old ballpark the ushers on the lower section openly would tell you, “Come back down here after the 5th and you can take a open seat.” Now, those empties are guarded like Fort Knox.

    The one thing I do agree on is if you want to do something and it doesn’t hurt my viewing of the game, then do whatever. If you want to sit during the anthem or wear a Mike Trout shirt when the Angels aren’t even in town, or do the wave, or drink wine (weird but ok), or stand up to cheer during big moments, or cheer for the road team, I’m completely fine with it.

    I understand the value of patriotism and military service but the anthem and the glorification of it at every damn game really has no place in sports. It’s becoming a defacto recruitment tool that really is not necessary. The Yankees relentless play God Bless America in the 7th inning since 9/11..George Steinbrenner’s parting gift for all of us. The 7th inning is supposed to be about FUN not reflection for fuck sake. Everyone is a patriot in their own way..you don’t have to wave the flag or scream USA like a drunken idiot to reflect it.

    I generally always stay til the last out of the game. The only exception would be weather-related (too hot, too cold, raining, etc). In fact, when I was a kid, I stayed until the last out of a 20-inning game at the old Yankee Stadium. It was the second game of a twi-night doubleheader, which means that my dad and I spent approx nine hours watching 29 innings of baseball. Back then (mid-60s), the Yankees drew around 10,000 fans a game. By the time the 12th inning rolled around, there were (maybe) two or three thousand fans remaining, so we moved from the right field upper deck to a spot roughly five rows over the first base dugout. My poor dad was clearly bored (and probably tired), but he saw how much fun I was having, so he never suggested leaving early. We definitely got our money’s worth that night, and I got the baseball memory of a lifetime.

    This reminds me of one of the sad little ironies that comes along with being a military family- amongst the rights that we send our sons and daughters out to defend are the rights to disrespect the very institutions that they’ve vowed to protect.

    The idea that anthem somehow “belongs” to the military (or any other group) is part of the problem. It belongs to *all* of us, and we can each engage with it in the way that makes the most sense to us. Like I wrote, how you choose to engage with it is none of my business, and vice-versa.

    I said nothing about it, or anything, “belonging” to the military or anyone else. If your position is that your misconceptions about a supposed idea that the anthem “belongs” to the military is “part of the problem,” I respectfully suggest that you stick to writing about squatchees.

Comments are closed.