I know this a little different than most of the things I write, but I felt this must be written. I am a huge baseball fan, and after what I went through just recently, I felt this necessary to be written. That being said, please enjoy and feel free to respond.
As it stands now, and most likely for the rest of my life (which is hopefully a long time seeing as that I AM 20 years old) baseball, to me, is the greatest sport in the history of the planet. Now I'm sure I could debate this for eons, since the debate of baseball being a great sport has raged for almost that exact amount of time, but this essay is not for that.
Baseball, a sport with no true definitive beginning, was "formally" created in 1845, when Alexander Cartwright wrote a formalized list of rules to govern the game that was so popular in America (this too can be debated for some believe Abner Doubleday created the game-I wouldn't disagree, but when you formalize rules, you have a formalized beginning, hence 1845). Since then, it has road the curtails of American history through it's ups and downs. The Civil War, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and everything else in between. It's popularity, although dwindling in past decade is still reasonably high and is the one sport that can bring together bitter rivals or even problem ridden families. You will never hear a son, angry with his father (or vice versa) say "let's go run passing drills." But you will hear "Would you like to go play catch?" The game of catch can almost be considered an armistice in a conflict between two parties, and for the time that the game of catch is going on, can be the bridge through generational gaps.
That being said, the game itself is a break in the hectic everyday world humanity lives in. Going to a ball game with a friend or with your family is a time to catch up, to come together and watch baseball. A MasterCard commercial was even created with this in mind.
The area of South Florida (Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe county) has missed this point entirely. There is certain etiquette to a baseball game to be respected so that everyone in the stadium can enjoy the game.
Rule 1. Baseball is a game that is ageless and can be (and should be) enjoyed by every generation. Therefore, it would not only courteous but PROPER to refrain from any profanity and vulgar comments if you are within the hearing range of a smaller, younger person. We are all there to enjoy the game and be with our families. Being some drunk putz shouting obscenities towards a player or even the friends you went to the game with is not needed, and frankly, you can go to a sports bar to do that. This includes shouting for no particular reason at all and disrupting the area around you.
Rule 2. Recently, players have a theme sound-byte when they come up to bat. There is no problem with that, but there is also no need to stand up and start mimicking the same movements you would do if you were in a dance club. This is not Ocean Drive on South Beach, or any club in Times Square. Enjoy the game because your sound-byte only lasts a mere 20 seconds.
Rule 3. Shocking, but there is a BASEBALL GAME in progress. Spending the entire game behind someone talking on a cell phone or arguing with your friends can be done in the confines of your own place of residence. Let us fans who went to watch the baseball game enjoy it without hearing your voice for five straight innings.
Rule 4. If you're going to speak about baseball and make audacious claims, keep them to yourself. There is a pretty good chance someone near you is well schooled in baseball knowledge and would appreciate not having to hear you spout off ridiculous facts that are either blatantly wrong or just plain stupid. (You are allowed, however, to make a claim of your favorite player or baseball team-this is what fuels the spirit of baseball)
Rule 5. Recently, baseball stadiums have created menus with a potpourri of food on it. BASEBALL FOOD SHOULD BE REGULATED TO HOT DOGS, HAMBURGERS, PEANUTS, AND CRACKERJACKS! You kill the spirit of the game by buying grilled dolphin or a Monte Cristo sandwich. They made a song including two of the items listed that is sung EVERY game during the 7th inning stretch. The food, as well as the game, have a mystical quality to them and I cannot understand not partaking in almost 160 years of tradition.
Rule 6. If you're above the age of 13 (and that's iffy) and are not sitting either along the railing of the field (in order to lean over it) or down near the field in proximity of a fast-flying foul ball, you SHOULD NOT BRING A BASEBALL GLOVE TO THE GAME! The only reason the two above examples are allowed to have possession of a glove is to either save their lives or to grab a fast rolling foul ball that is easily out of arms reach. Any other position in the baseball stadium should not need a glove. The whole point of a crowd-caught foul ball (or home run) is the fight for it as the ball travels towards the seats. Reaching out with a glove gives you an unfair advantage over those with the courage enough to attempt to catch a foul ball. It might sting, it might hurt, but the fact that you can catch a ball bare-handed over a mass of others also fighting for the ball gives you a leg up in the world of crowd-respect. You only look like a patsy when you're sitting there with your glove next to a six year old with a glove. I would even go so far to say that IF you end up with a home run or foul ball and a little boy is seating next to you excited that he was nearby a real major league baseball, give it to him. I know it's a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to grab the ball, but what's going to be the story? The ball, or the fact that you caught it? Seeing the face of a kid light up when you hand him a baseball is like passing the torch. Everything you love about the game is now installed in him and it will stay with him forever-a stretch, but really think about that.
Rule 7. Do not make stupid claims. When your team is down by six runs and can't hit the ball to save their lives, there is a good chance they will lose. Shouting "we're gonna win" is just as ridiculous as claiming you invented the sky. This goes for those college boys and immature men who decided they would go to the baseball game to get drunk. Spending almost six dollars on a beer JUST to get drunk means you most likely have a problem, and I would direct you to the local AA location.
Rule 8. There is no need to get into physical conflict with a fan of the opposing team. They are there for the same reason you are-to watch your team play. Showing up to the home team's field in the opposing team's colors already shames him or her, so there is no need to point it out in a drunk or angry tirade. If you can argue civilly, that is acceptable.
Rule 9. DO NOT JUST GO TO THE GAME FOR THE FREE GIVEAWAY! Who the hell are you? Do you go to the grocery store JUST for free samples? You're not a baseball fan, you're a patsy. Stay home, give the game that respect.
Rule 10. Do not avoid going to the game if you believe you will not get reasonable seats. Sitting in the cheap seats once or twice earns you the respect a baseball deserves. Furthermore, it is not hard to move from the cheap seats down to the nicer seats, and doing so only makes your game a little more enjoyable.
Rule 11. Please, if you're that person who feels it necessary to look like an expensive fishing lure by showing up to the game COVERED in pins, do me and the other baseball fans the pleasure of leaving your metal- laden clothing at home. I don't need to be bringing a set of welding goggles to an afternoon game in order to enjoy it because you've decided to wear metal shiny pins.
Rule 12. Every pop-fly is not a potential home run. Shouting "That one's gone!" each time the ball goes above twenty feel will only piss off the people around you. Don't do it. Please.
Rule 13. Arguing with the umpire from fifteen rows up in center field is pointless and downright ridiculous. Feel free to argue with a fan next to you and make your case about the play and ruling on the field. But trying to shout from the anywhere else for that matter is just plain annoying.
Rule 14. Leaving by the second inning is wrong. At least give your team the respect it deserves by staying until the fifth, when it becomes official.
Rule 15. Claiming that someone doesn't deserve to be on the field and that you are better is dumb. I can understand you are perturbed by the actions of the player and his inability to compete on the field at the time, but there is a reason HE is on the field and YOU are in the stands. For a baseball player to get all the way to The Show (major leagues) is something a SMALL percentage of players EVER accomplish.
I don't believe these rules are hard to follow and if they WERE followed, going to a baseball game could once again return to it's status it once enjoyed, instead of being the circus is has recently become. Thank you.