Bill Simmons, ESPN’s Sports Guy, recently posted what he said are the only responsibilities for baseball fans.
Not bad. But not that good, either.
Here’s what Bill had to say:
“You only have eight responsibilities during a baseball game: Take your hat off for the National Anthem; don't take your shirt off; don't bring your baseball glove if you're over 13; don't wear a jersey with your own name on it; don't run onto the field; don't reach into the field of play to grab a pop-up or ground ball if it could adversely affect your team; don't boo one of your own players unless it's absolutely warranted; and don't throw up. That's it. Everything else is up to you.”
Bill got some things right, some things wrong and left out some things that must be said. Let’s break this down:
1) Take your hat off for the National Anthem.
Well, that’s just a given. I took my 9-year-old daughter to a West Michigan Whitecaps game on Sunday, looked over during the anthem and there she was, standing at attention with her cap over her heart. Sometimes a parent needs to be reassured that he’s doing some things correctly.
2) Don’t take your shirt off.
Another given. We were sitting in the Tiger Stadium bleachers one year and a guy took off his shirt and exposed a back that was so hairy it looked like was wearing a bearskin tank top. The entire centerfield bleachers started chanting “Shave your back!” Don’t let that happen to you.
3) Don’t bring your baseball glove if you are over 13.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Ideally, you are getting there early enough for batting practice, and it’s fun to hang out in the outfield sections and catch the homers.
4) Don’t wear a jersey with your own name on it.
I have mixed emotions about this. I work around it by having some jerseys of players named Murray. And yes, it was a very happy day when Eddie Murray signed with the Mets, and it wasn’t just for his playing ability. I also have a game-worn jersey from Matt Murray, who had a cup of coffee with the Braves. I also have a couple jerseys with teams that don’t put names on the backs, which allows me to avoid the whole debate. There are actually more rules for jerseys, which we’ll get to later.
5) Don’t run on the field.
No kidding. There’s no better way to demonstrate to the whole world that you are both drunk and an idiot. And the most unrealistic scene in “Fever Pitch” is when Drew Barrymore drops down out of “the triangle” at Fenway and eludes security to run across the field all the way to the box seats, where she is allowed to have a conversation with Jimmy Fallon. No woman that pretty would be seen with a goofball like Jimmy Fallon. Oh, and security would have pounced on her butt within 10 steps.
6) Don't reach into the field of play to grab a pop-up or ground ball if it could adversely affect your team.
Another no-brainer. There’s a reason Steve Bartman lives in seclusion. The only place where such people are not vilified is Yankee Stadium, where a guy like Jeffery Maier becomes a folk hero. That speaks volumes.
7) Don't boo one of your own players unless it's absolutely warranted.
This will stir some controversy, but I have to agree. I’m just not much of a booer in general, especially of our own. We as fans need to supportive. I do not for the life of me understand the people booing Carlos Beltran in that opening series. That said, I would have booed Billy Wagner on Saturday. But I cheered him wildly on Sunday.
8) Don’t throw up.
And don’t die in the seat in front of me, either. I know what I'm talking about. Dead Cubs fan in my lap.
Clearly, Simmons rattled these off in a hurry because he forgot some things. Here are eight more.
1) Get a program, keep score.
It’s a fun way to keep in the game. Plus, you don’t have to rely on the scoreboard to tell you who is having a good day. And do it in pencil. We used to pencil in a “K” every time Rob Deer started walking out of the on-deck circle. But occasionally Rob would surprise us – we’d need a backward K instead of a swinging K. You want your book to be neat.
2) Boo Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens every time, use discretion for everyone else.
For those first three, it’s just the right thing to do. For anyone else, be selective. You want your boos to mean something. It’s best to greet someone like ARod or Sheffield with indifference or silence. It’s more damaging to their egos. Mess with their heads.
3) Heckle no one.
You are not funny. OK, Metstradamus is funny. But the rest of you are not. And when you are drunk, you are even less funny. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard someone yell something that was actually decent. And most drunken hecklers can’t come up with anything more creative than “Chipper, you suck!” Well, we already knows that and so does he. That just makes you loud and annoying. Most of these people are just trying to call attention to themselves, and they are just a shade less offensive than Drew Barrymore and the other morons who run on the field.
4) If you’re going to wear a jersey, wear a proper one.
I’m a stickler. You’ve got to have the real thing. I know they’re expensive, but so are the cheesy replicas. If you’re going to spend that much, then go all the way. Then, if you are going to have numbers and letters on your jersey, make sure it is the authentic lettering. Nothing makes me sadder than to see a proper jersey with the wrong lettering. Then, if your team doesn’t use names on the back, don’t you go putting a name on there. One way to tell the stupid Yankee fans from the really, really stupid Yankee fans is to find the ones with “JETER” across the backs of their jerseys. I’m a jersey guy, which is very different from a Jersey guy. We’re like a cult. When jersey guys see other jersey guys with a properly lettered authentic, we tip our caps.
5) Do not yell “balk” when a pitcher fakes a pick-off to second.
The balk rule is so complex that then only people who understand it are the umpires, some of the managers and a handful of the players. You do not. My buddy John used to say that anytime someone yells “balk,” they need to be escorted out of the stadium, read the rule and not be allowed back until they can prove they understand it.
6) If you catch a foul ball, you do not have to give it to a kid.
Kids an get their own damn ball. But if you trample a kid or senior citizen to get the ball, you are a loser. And when you catch a ball, do not hold it up so you can be on television. No one cares.
7) If you catch an opposing team's home run ball, you do not have to throw it back.
Throwing such a ball back on the field is like declaring "I am drunk and stupid." Note that people who didn't catch a ball are the ones telling you to throw it back. My buddy Will notes that if he ever catches a home run ball, and you see it thrown on the field, look closely and notice that his hand will still be attached to it.
8) Do not for any reason leave a game early.
One of the many reasons why baseball is the best game is that no game is over until it really is over. Yogi knew exactly what he was saying. The only joyful thing about Saturday’s debacle was that countless stupid Yankee fans missed the comeback because they had already headed to their cars. And even on a horrible, rainy night, something magical can happen.
There you go! Let me know if you think I missed anything.
In other words...
Greg's recent take on Mike and the Mad Dog taking over the Mets radio booth is perfect! And while he's joking, you can imagine those two knuckleheads exactly saying the things Greg attributes to them. You can read it here.