On April 17th Tim Anderson of the White Sox smashes a massive dong against Keller of the Royals. Anderson is pumped as he flip/tosses his bat toward his own dugout yelling in excitement (again, toward his own dugout). Anderson then finally begins to trot the bases.
The entire scene, from the dong to the 1st steps of the home run trot, take 4 whole seconds. The Royals hated it. Anderson had broken unwritten rules of the game and therefore must be punished. Anderson was too excited for his home run you could see it with his body language, plus he was having too much of a good time at Keller’s perceived expense. During Anderson’s next plate appearance he was HBP and the benches cleared over the breaking, and then the enforcing of baseball’s unwritten rules.
This got me thinking: What, if any, unwritten fan rules must we keep in mind while watching a game at the ballpark specifically our home, Chase field.
As a fan who spends a lot of time at Chase field, I started to think back at all the instances I either barked at or wanted to bark at another fan, Diamondbacks fan or visiting fan, during or after a violation of an unwritten fan rule. Here is what I came up with:
1. When entering the ballpark have your ticket ready to scan, bag open for a look-see, and wallet, keys, smokes etc ready for the tray as you get ready to slide through the metal detectors. Punishment for non compliance is a few mean looks and some choice words. It’s hot, we have been waiting and want to get inside, bro. You had 10 minutes to get your shht together. As a fan you are breaking an unwritten rule when you take forever to get through the metal detectors. Move.
2. Now that you have entered the ballpark finally, get the FCCK out of the way, bro. We get it, you need to check your phone to see if Kelcy has parked yet. You can do that, or congregate in your confused-looking group, near a wall or out of the walkways in general. Not in the center of the concourse or right in front of a beer cart that you are not in line at. Punishment for breaking this unwritten rule is getting your shoulders brushed up on by a few 240 lb sweaty Brute-hogs, some mean looks and my sister might roll her eyes at you as we smash by.
3. Looking for your seat can be tough especially when you are brand new at numbers and you have ignored the 2 ushers at the top of the steps when you blew by them in your confidence. You have broken an unwritten fan rule at this juncture. Do not walk the aisle and look for your row until there is a break in play, especially when you have no idea where your seat is. You are blocking the view of the game and making yourself look incompetent when moments ago you were cocky and knew it all. Punishment for this is many, many heart-breaking heckles from our entire row as we have at least 20 of these seats, and you have angered us by blocking the action.
4. Concessions time. The lines can be long, there is no way around that. But you can help by following this unwritten fan rule: Bring cash. I cannot tell you how many Chads that I have waited behind in a beer line and after Chad finally decides which grapefruit IPA he wants, he then digs through his wallet (accompanied by 30 seconds of “uhhhhhhhhhhh”, mouth half open etc), just to pull out a credit card. Guess what, brah? You just added another 60 seconds to my wait time because you did not bring cash, or at a minimum did not have your card ready. If this were on the field I may throw at you, but you are a fan so revenge for this is me barking at you while you sign your receipt, unleashing merciless heckles upon you in front of your girlfriend Kelcy, and me completing my cash purchase before you have even had a chance to wallet your credit card and receipt. It’s not like you did not just wait 10 minutes in line again, you could have been ready with that CC. True story, a guy once bought me my beer for holding the line up.
5. After a few beers your testicles have dropped and you are ready to get LOUD! Another unwritten fan rule is, do not cuss during your heckling or good time. Even though you had about 9 beers, that does not grant you carte blanche to just go crazy with the F-YOUs and F-THATs. Punishment for violating this unwritten rule is other fans getting in your face, the Brute Squad sending a brigade over to issue warnings, or you being escorted out by security. Get loud, heckle, talk crap. Just don’t cuss. If you see an unruly fan, text BRUTE to 69420, include your section and row #’s and a Brute will be by within moments.
6. The game is over and now it’s time to GTFO of the ballpark. Instead of a nice flowing stream of fans moving forward in unity we have adult-sized penguins swaying to and fro at a snails pace toward the nearest exit. This sucks, but there is nothing you can do about it except, do not go against the grain. Usually Kelcy is headed for the women’s restroom and she feels the need to be go the opposite direction of everyone else and lane split down the center of our waddle path. This slows down the masses. Find a bathroom with the flow of traffic, Kelcy. Punishment for your disregard of this unwritten fan rule is getting crushed backward into the distant past by a human Brute wave.
7. You made it outside and you’re back in the parking garage behind Seamus McCaffery’s; DO NOT leave your car unattended at the exit gate-arm while blocking exit traffic because you did not read the signs and failed to PAY in the lobby before you tried to drive out of the garage. This is a big fan no-no and will result in your car being handled by many angry people, people you have angered by blocking-in and delaying their return home. You will also suffer a severe lashing of brutal heckles and unwritten words while you finally pay your fee at the gate arm and leave.
Going to the ball game is supposed to be a fun experience and for the most part it is. The majority of fans that I have been in attendance (at any ballpark) with follow these unwritten rules that are listed above - not because I have told them to, or that they even know about them, but because most of those fans try to be polite, are prepared, and consider others. Some other fans however were raised by wild dogs or something because they clearly have no idea how society functions at the ballpark.
In summary, like the players we fans adhere to a set of unwritten rules and guidelines while we are at the ballpark. Whether we are aware of it or not, we even police each other when some of those rules are broken. The players do it for strange reasons and we do it for even stranger, more patience related reasons.
*Did I leave out anything? Perhaps one of your own unwritten fan rules like, NO WAVE, etc.?