With the majority of my esteemed co writers away at GABP for the night, being shown “the ropes” by media director, and super kind/helpful Reds rep @LisaBraun, I will be taking the hours leading up to first pitch with the Cubs to touch on a few different subjects. I understand most will be accessing my rants and madness for insight on the Reds, but with the amount of people we have writing fantastic articles on the team, I’m going to use this soapbox to address broad ranging issues that baseball fans all face. Not just necessarily those in Cincinnati, or the tri-state area.
Previously I had covered the subject of the appropriate reaction to have when a former star returns in the uniform of another team, I offered my opinion on the subject, and with any luck I hopefully opened a few eyes. This week, I really have a particular annoyance that seems to only rear its ugly head when I’m attending live games in Toronto, though other ball parks I have frequented could also stand to benefit from the lessons learned in Canada. This post will be easier to create, knowing that I have Adam Dunn’s undying approval, as his bobblehead is constantly affirming my stance.
We’ve all been subjected to it. The guy that sits behind us, that knows the game better than anyone else in the world, and that profound knowledge and insight is exponentially more enlightening by the time he has arrived at a certain level of inebriation by the fourth inning. This is more agitating when I have specifically purchased tickets in an alcohol free section, with the understanding that I no longer have to deal with this particular type of “fan” and be allowed to just enjoy the game with my Pops, and my girl. For starters, the kids in the section, were surprisingly worse than the drunks in the nosebleeds. If you plan on taking a GROUP of kids to a game, moderate the ENTIRE groups behavior. Please. I would be furious if I was sitting a level below, and wound up with chewed, and spit covered sunflower seeds because you didn’t see fit to discipline the child you are responsible for the moment your tickets were scanned. It’s a family section, your 12 year old shouldn’t be calling ANYONE an “effing see you next Tuesday”. That, once again, is on the chaperones. I’m bothered by it, and I highly doubt another family with their six year old is going to be impressed by your lack of common decency either.
That being said, if they aren’t allowed to serve alcohol in this section, there should be some form of restriction on the people that go get drunk for two innings and return. The entire philosophy is that you curb the behavior, to the benefit of the people trying to enjoy the game, by eliminating the source. I get it. I love the family section for that reason. However, what is the point if Johnny Dumb Drunk can leave for an hour, come back drunk, and exhibit the same behavior people in the section were expecting to avoid? This seems ridiculous on multiple levels. Do not allow drunk fans to return to their seat in the alcohol free/family section, simple as that. Another idea, expand the zone to a full two sections, allowing the organization to justify having extra staff that are trained and able to spot these particular fans and help keep the sections operating the way they were intended. And trust me, if enough people complain about the offenders, stadium staff will have them removed. The reason the ushers are there is to keep the peace, and allow everyone to enjoy the game they have paid to see, so if someone is intoxicated to a point of concern, mention it to the staff. Most of them are unbelievably helpful and friendly
Let me say this, just to clarify, I do not think these people are “bad fans”. I do believe, however, that there’s something to be said for being polite and cognisant of the people and other fans in your immediate vicinity. If someone has their young family there, there is no need for the foul language or aggressive behavior. If you wouldn’t behave, shout, act the same way in the immediate company of the local law enforcement at the ball park, you have a pretty good gauge on the fact that it’s time to re-assess how you act in the stadium. There’s so many other ways to enjoy yourself and feel like you’re involved. Most teams have a terrace where like minded individuals gather to enjoy, shout, drink and act a fool all in celebration of the perfection that is our favorite game.
I am not against drinking at a baseball game, or any sporting even for that matter, what I am against is people who do not respect the game, the other fans in attendance, or the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves. If getting drunk is your only incentive for attendance, please stay home, and allow someone else to fill your seat that actually cares about what’s happening on the field of play. Now I know I may sound negative about this, confuse it for being old and whiny, but the thing is, everyone has paid for their right to enjoy the game. And everyone that is there, has that right, up until your presence has a direct and immediate impact on another persons ability to enjoy the game without distraction.
So go to the game, get wound up, lit up, and loud. But please be aware that not everyone is there or defines themselves in the same way. Let everyone enjoy the game as they want, and expect to. So long as it doesn’t negatively impact another persons enjoyment of the same game!
And it goes without saying, so I’ll say it anyway, but
GO REDS! Please beat the Cubs. Badly.
Hugs and high fives from Canada.