I never took the game home with me. I always left it in some bar. — Bob Lemon
Walk around your city long enough and you will start to notice people looking at you and either giving thumbs up or throwing a disgusted look your way. Why? Look no further than what hat you are wearing. Baseball fans are all a part of a close-knit community when it comes to their teams and players. We recite minute, irrelevant facts supporting arguments centered around dynasties or who had/has the better team or why this year is the team’s year to win it all.
Fans refer to themselves as if they are on the team as well as the players. Loyalties are methodically tested and labels of “band wagon fans” are slapped onto people new to the fan base or ones that are just tourists enjoying the party until next year when they will have new allegiances. They try to outdo the next fan by telling of deep, entrenched family loyalties that go back generations to when the team began or when they relocated, always trying to one up the last story to prove they are the ultimate fans of said team. Walk around the wrong city or state wearing merchandise from a rival team and it can seem as if you are wearing the wrong colors in the wrong neighborhood and are encouraged to quickly find the nearest exit or else subjugate yourself to relentless ridicule.
This week we have seen benches clear, pitchers plunking batters, slides through the bag with spikes up, and what looks like the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry in full force once again. The Rockies and Padres brawl was about teams keeping the other team accountable, the “you hurt one of mine I hurt one of yours” mentality is a great way to let the players police themselves, in my humble opinion. With the addition to another wild card game to make the playoffs it seems as if teams have more to play for each season making for some great storylines through the season. It makes me excited to see the passion and the pride of a player’s team on the field after such a long absence, and while it’s fun to see the passion on the field — it should never turn violent in the stands. A little trash talk here and there is a great way to keep the spirit of competition alive, but it needs to stay with talk. There are fans whose lives have been ruined simply for rooting for the wrong team in the wrong city. Remember, we’re all baseball fans!
We all love the game and a little trash talk amongst fans is a great way to strengthen ties to your club. Remember though, some people don’t like baseball and think it is a slow, boring game. For all the fighting that goes on something strange can happen every now and again. An unexpected partnership forms when someone mentions they hate baseball and proclaim soccer to be the better sport. I know right!? SOCCER!? Arguments about teams and players and who is better subsides and the attention rightfully turns to the idiot who doesn’t understand the game.
So, unite together and smartly explain the reasons they are wrong and kindly show them the door. No one needs to hang out around such horrible people anyway. My team is better than yours and you better get used to losing cause your team is a bunch of losers. Play ball.