Monday, June 4, 2012

Baseball Etiquette

I spent this Sunday at the AT&T Park with my husband and son.  One thing I was struck by is the deterioration of baseball etiquette.  I’m dismayed by the deterioration of etiquette in general, covering your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze, a man holding a door for a woman, a younger person letting an older going ahead of them in line, eating politely in public.  I’m not sure if it is due to the progress made in mobile devices, cameras, and social network sites that people have become used to instant gratification that patience and polite society may become antiques. 

However this rant is due to the absolute rudeness I observed and was a victim of this Sunday’s game.  So for those of you that get it, and those of you that don’t, here are some ‘good manners’ tips when you go out to a ball game.

1)       Forty thousand (or more) people want to get into the park, get food and get to their seats.  The age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and (dis)ability is as diverse as it is going to get.  Be open and respectful to others.

2)      Especially be polite and nice to the oldsters.  More than likely they were baseball fans well before you were born.   Mowing anyone down with your garlic fries and microbrews so you can get to your seat 15 seconds earlier is rude but when done to our elders is especially rude.

3)      When finding your seat, look at your ticket.  If you’re not familiar with the park, check the signs for the best way to get to your seat.  A really good way to find out is to ask the ushers who btw are actually paid to do so.   You could tromp 20 seats / people to get to your seat on the other side of the row when you could have just walked up a different flight of stairs, but why?

4)      Does it matter if you are sitting in the seat printed on your ticket?  Well, yes.  Basically someone has paid between $40-$100 for a ticket.  The ticket gives them ‘dibbs’ on the seat.  They most likely want to sit with family or friends they came with.  IF you want to swap seats with someone, ask politely.   An example would be, “Would you mind moving down a couple seats?”  If they say no, lose the attitude.  It is their seat.  

5)      IF you sit in seats that don’t belong to you, smile sheepishly and move immediately.

6)      IF you come in late (past the 2nd inning), don’t expect those that get their early to be especially pleased you’re tripping over them during the middle of a play with your beer/dog/nachos.  Some people like to actually watch the whole game, this includes when the guy throws the ball the other guy is going to hit (called pitching).  (See 7).

7)      When is it a good time to leave / return to your seat?  Not during a play or when a batter is in the box.  Even between pitches.  Honestly.  Acceptable times are:

a.      Between innings

b.      Pitcher change

c.       If you can be quick about it or if it is an emergency, between batters. (Getting another beer is not an emergency).

8)      Don’t stand in the aisle way when you leave and thereby block the view of others. 

9)      I know there is a two beer per purchase limit.  I am not a teetotaler.  I’m also not that excited to have beer spilled all over me because you are tipsy. Really.  Know your limit. 

10)  Maybe you want to put sunscreen on before you get to the park.  Spraying sunscreen on you and your kids’ bodies that drifts and wafts over other’s food items (hot dogs, drinks, etc.) is yucky.

11)  Bring your kids to the ball park.  Teach them about baseball.  Can they understand what is going on?  Watch it on TV first so they know.  Maybe get them some baseball cards.  Play baseball with them. Baseball is a game of strategy and patience.  It is hard for any kid under 11 to sit and watch.  Be aware.  Keep your kids under your command.  If you’re going to drink beer and eat garlic fries and ignore your kids, give yourself a well-deserved break and let the kids stay home. 

12)  View obstruction (this is from previous games, not Sundays):

a.      Big Hats:  Everyone loves “The Cat in the Hat”.  Leave your big hat at home.  Even if you think it is cool/cute, you have to realize you’re really obstructing the view of the person sitting behind you.  You never know, but they might be height challenged.

b.      Same goes for big hair, babies in tutus, etc. 

c.       Tall people can’t help it.  But be aware who is behind you and try and understand they might not want to sit on the edge of their seat all game.

Many of these rules can be transferrable to concerts, movie theaters, grocery store, etc.  Basically the Golden Rule applies.  Always.   

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