Friday, July 1, 2011

The Seven Commandments of Fenway

This past week, I've had a few friends reply "So I guess you're the judge now on who's a real fan and who isn't?" after I posted the link to my last blog entry on Facebook, I thought "Yes.  Yes I am...And why not?" 

In light of this, I've decided to compile a list of rules one should follow in order to behave properly as a baseball fan, particularly within the walls of our beloved ball park.  So, without further ado, I present you with the SEVEN COMMANDMENTS OF FENWAY!!!

Yes, there's only seven.  The remaining commandments were lost in an unfortunate and unforeseen incident.

Thou Shalt Remember that You are at a Baseball Game.

While a baseball game is certainly a place to connect with other fans, it is not a cocktail party.  It is impolite to come and go as you please, making everyone in your row stand up to let you by, and blocking the view of the people behind you while the count is full.  If you need to leave your seat, wait to do it between innings.  If you can't wait that long, do it between at-bats.

Seeing people more interested in waving while talking too loudly on their cell phone, either at a camera or to a friend on the other side of the park who isn't going to see them anyway is also annoying.  While pretty much everyone has done this at some point, you should be mindful that you will be made fun of by complete strangers.  You may not be aware of it, but it is happening.

Thou Shalt Not Boo Any Member of thy Current Red Sox Roster

I'm typically not one to utter a phrase such as "How dare you!?", but I've found myself saying it at Fenway before, particularly during David Ortiz's dry spell.  When a player has been performing poorly for a while, it weighs heavily on his mind.  He doesn't need your entitled sense of indignation following him in wafts of hot air back to the dugout.  Since I've been a Red Sox fan, I've sinned;  I've booed two team players.  The first was  Manny Ramirez, because...Well, because of the same reason you booed him.  Also there was Eric Gagne, because he was clearly a Yankee spy.

What more proof do you need?

The fickle nature of many that inhabit the stands of Fenway was the reason Ted Williams refused to tip his cap for so many years.  No one's saying that you have to cheer or come up with with motivational posters to hold up at the game, or that you're not allowed to discuss your disappointment with a player's falling numbers...But absolutely no booing, especially when it comes to players who have already done so much for the team.  I don't buy the argument that it gives him incentive to shut the crowd up, either.  It is uncalled for and there's zero class in it.

Thou Shalt Not Waste Playoff or Yankees Tickets on Non-Fans.

I propose that when deciding whether or not a person is worthy of post-season or Yankees tickets, they should be quizzed.  I suggest asking them to name the players corresponding to all the Red Sox retired numbers.  If none of your potential "dates" pass the test, sell it to someone who is dying to go.

In December of 2003, my parents stood in line and acquired a ten-man-ticket-plan season ticket package.  That was quite a year to pick up one of those!  Their deal included four seats to ten regular season games (two of which are Yankees games), and four seats in one post-season game.  I was in my senior year of college, so my parents sold two of the seats for every game to a friend of my father's.

Turned out that was a bad idea, because the first thing he did was sell his seats for the Yankees games, and brag about how much money he made.  That wasn't the worst part though.  The post-season of 2004 was rather exciting, as you may remember.  The game my parents wound up getting tickets to was game 5 of the ALCS.  Despite strong suggestions from both myself and my parents that he should offer me the last ticket, Kevin (screw it, I'll use his real name.  The bastard deserves it.) decided to take a woman he'd just met to the game.  I'm sure she was very impressed by the gesture, but according to my parents, she knew next to nothing about the game, and apparently cared even less.  That's some bullshit, huh?

Also, small children that don't know anything about the game should brought a regular season, non-Yankees game for a test run to see if they show any interest in watching and sitting through one.  Too many times have I sat near a family, and the well-intentioned parents brought their children, thinking they were giving their children a memory they'd have for the rest of their lives. They realize only when the kids argue with each other the entire time, climb the seats, kick the back of my chair, and cry that they want to go home starting in the fifth inning, that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Thou Shalt Not Fake It

Of course you're going to meet people in the stands that know very little about the game, and readily admit it, but are enthusiastic about learning more.  However, many band-wagoners are highly annoying in their attempts to make it seem like they've been fans all along.  This makes it an important commandment, as it has to do with the self-preservation of one's own pride.  Faking it to try and appease the Faithful is a mistake, because you will eventually be outed, and that's just embarrassing for everyone.  You will also be the subject of scorn if you managed to fake your way into getting a ticket to an important game, and are found out when you ask "Why is everyone booing and clapping at the same time?" when Youkilis approaches the plate.

Thou Shalt Not Confuse Thy Team Colors

These days, it's fashionable to claim to root for the Red Sox.  The key word in that statement is "fashionable", and the influx of band-wagoners that have converged on Fenway Park since the mid to late nineties haven't exactly made themselves hard to spot, particularly if they're so ridiculous as to wear a pink hat, pink Ellsbury shirt and pearls...Yes, we have photographic evidence of this.

Green is not okay either.  I realize the Sox have been known to wear green uniforms one day out of the year during Spring training in honor of St. Patrick, but neither pink nor green shall ever be considered team colors, unless the club changes its name to the Boston Watermelons.

Only then...

Thou Shalt Be Mindful of Thy Beer

Pay attention, whether it be in watching your overall consumption level, or trying to carry one too many cups back to your seat, and sloshing it everywhere.  Either situation can become uncomfortable for all involved.  I know the beer isn't that great at Fenway, and it's no big loss to you losing a splash or two, but I don't want to wear it on my sleeve.  Please be particularly careful if you have higher-up seats right on the perimeter.  Too many times have I seen fans with their elbows perched on the railing holding a beer, blissfully unaware of it raining down on the fans below.  I don't know about you, but my chances of being stopped by police double when I leave a game, especially if we lost.  I prefer not to smell beer-soaked in such cases.

Worst case scenario:  Being soaked in a beverage disaster, and then antiqued by a mountain of powdered sugar from a piece of fried dough on a windy day.  Source

Thou Shalt Not Leave Early, Just Because Thy Team is Losing

-You took the train in, and you don't want to miss the last one out.

-You've got children with you, and they're getting cranky.

-You work the graveyard shift, and you have to be there in an hour.

Those are all acceptable excuses for leaving a game early.  Leaving because the team is losing is never, ever, ever, ever acceptable.  Leaving just to beat traffic is just as bad.  You're the very definition of a fair-weather fan if you do either, and you will deserve the walk of shame to the scowls of the real fans who know to stick around when their team needs them.