Fan(atical) Behavior

Fan(atical) Behavior

Fans, for the most part, are who they are: fanatics about their sporting teams, entertainers, and whatever they are in support of.

It also produces an unsavory group of “habitual line steppers” to quote the late comedian Charlie Murphy.

Monday night was no different. After a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones mentioned that he heard racial epithets and one fan hurled a bag of peanuts towards him.

The easy narrative, and the usual one, is to throw a blanket on the city of Boston, given the ugly past the city has dealt with in regards to racial issues.

It’s very easy for fans outside of cities like Boston and Philadelphia to wag a scornful finger at the behavior of those fans.

The problem is…there are fans in every city that are boorish, misogynistic, racist, and rotten. To point a finger at one group and talk about how bad they are shouldn’t dismiss the fact that your fan base, or yourself, is guilty of doing the same.

That last sentence was hammered home by ESPN’s Bomani Jones during his drive-time national radio show today. This isn’t a “Boston” problem. This is an “American” problem: fans who feel they can say and do whatever at games, simply because they paid to watch it.

What a stupid concept. Illogical, ignorant, and baseless.

And, don’t give me the “I pay their (players’) salaries, I can do what I want.”

You don’t pay their salaries. The owner pay their salaries. You (fans) pay for the ticket handlers at the gate, the hot dog vendor, and the maintenance crew who picks up behind us after games. When fans misbehaves, we are embarrassing those individuals, not just players and the teams.

No popcorn vendor wants to lose business or (their jobs) behind a fan acting like a drunken sloth who has no filter.

This may sound hollow and clichéd, but it bears repeating: fans, stop being assholes. If you want to boo, just boo. If your team stinks out loud, no one’s making you stay and watch it. Next time, someone will pull out their iPhones and the world will see just how bad you are.

For the love of decency, act like humans, not cavemen at events.

Opening Day

There is nothing like Opening Day in Major League Baseball. 

This annual gathering of a community, bonded by a game that signals a start of a new year, the blooming of spring, and hopes of someone’s favorite team winning the World Series in the fall. 

Paul Yeager, Becky Mollenkamp, Nick Renkoski, Liz Lidgett, Jason Gavin, and Chris Juhl, to name a few know what that feeling is like when your team is on top of the world.  Their St. Louis Cardinals went from a wild card team to beating the Texas Rangers in one of the most memorable championship series in recent years. 

“Wait until next year” is a moniker I could do without.  As a Cubs fan, it’s agonizing that the Northsiders are the kids standing outside of the candy shop, looking in. 

“But, a season awaits, with glory in their eyes” as John Facenda spoke with reverent authority.  Baseball brings a sense of community, a pilgrimage, as fans sit next to each other, cracking open shells of warmed-up peanuts, scribbling on their scorecards, and vocally coaxing the opposing team’s batter to swing and strike with the fervor of Ferris Bueller. 

Welcome back baseball. 

Welcome back the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales as they enter Busch Stadium and make their way around the track and making a stop at home plate.  Welcome back the regal pomp and circumstance that makes Yankee Stadium a sight to behold.  Welcome back the family fun atmosphere that makes watching Royals games cool at Kaufmann Stadium.

Welcome back bleacher bums and Steve Goodman’s voice singing “Go Cubs Go” over the sound system at Wrigley, when that “W” flag is raised after a win.  Welcome back Fenway Park where The Standells lovingly opine about the Charles River.

Welcome back Vin Scully.  There’s no one quite like you. 

Welcome back baseball.  It’s good to reconnect again. 

Sports Links for Reading – July 28, 2010

I will be working on a few projects today, which will keep me from writing up a longer entry.  Here are several links that I found that will peak your interest today.

San Diego Union Tribune (Chris Jenkins):  Dave Roberts, the man who saved the Boston Red Sox from being eliminated by the New York Yankees, and helped the Sox win the World Series in 2004, is battling lymphoma.

The Wiz of Odds:  The Football Writers Association of America is seriously considering ripping USC of it’s 2004 national title and giving it to Auburn.  USC and Auburn finished undefeated, but USC ended up playing Oklahoma for the BCS title, due to the Tigers cream-puff non-conference schedule.  Utah also finished undefeated but was shut out completely since the Mountain West is a non-BCS league.

Ron Prince

Sports Law Blog (Michael McCann and Rick Karcher):  Kansas State thought that getting rid of former football coach Ron Prince (right) was an easy chore.  Come to find out, it’s a lot more convoluted than anyone would imagine.

Joe Ponanski:  Amid the fallout of Mitch Albom receiving the ASPE Red Smith award, Ponanski weighs in his opinion of the criticism (justified and over the line) of Albom.