When 30,000 baseball fans get together, one or two will turn out to be jerks.
Not you and me, of course. But, you know, other guys.
I recently wrote about how we are much better behaved today than our grandparents and great-grandparents were. Click here.
A hundred years ago, the unwritten rules for baseball fans were essentially: “Don’t kill anyone. But, if you do – and we know these things happen – please keep bloodshed to a minimum. Also, if you have the Spanish flu, tuberculosis, or the plague, please stay home.”
The only written rule was this:
That rule’s gone.
But, there are plenty of other rules today.
Good rules. (“We don’t care what your great-grandparents brought to the games, leave your guns and knives at home.”)
Weird rules. (No full bodysuits in Cincinnati.)
(Not so fast there, Reds fan.)
And, dictatorial ones. (For a game that segregated fans for years with “Coloreds Only” signs, they really shouldn’t be so self-righteous when it comes to what WE can put on OUR signs.)
These things are banned in pretty much every major league ballpark:
Thermoses, things in glass, hard-sided coolers, noisemakers, fireworks, guns and knives, anything that explodes, anything that could kill you (except, apparently, trans fats and chewing tobacco), anything that could put out someone’s eye.
Also specifically restricted in most ballparks:
Standing or sitting in the aisles, in the portals, or in the tunnels. Sitting in a location other than your ticketed seat.
Running onto the field of play (clothed or unclothed).
Throwing stuff onto the field.
Inappropriate public displays of affection.
Skateboards (except at San Francisco’s AT&T Park where you may stow your ’board under your seat).
Brooms. (Exceptions are made in some parks if the team is going for a sweep. Oakland’s O.Co Stadium says no full-size brooms, but little “whiskbrooms” are OK. Clearly, a grandmother writes their rules.)
“Culturally insensitive attire.” ~ AT&T Park, San Francisco
“Food that might be thrown as a projectile … (i.e., oranges, apples and other fruits).” ~ Petco Park, San Diego
“Any fruit or vegetable larger than a grapefruit” unless it is sliced. ~ Coors Field, Denver
“Loud or lengthy” cell phone calls. ~ U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox
Hairspray. ~ Marlins Park, Miami
Inflatable dolls. ~ Petco Park, San Diego.
“Confetti or Glitter” ~ Yankee Stadium, New York
The Pittsburgh Pirates specifically ban footballs from PNC Park. Good for you, Pittsburgh. Footballs should just be banned, period.
The Washington Nationals encourage you to sit still: “Be a team player – Restrict movement in the seating area to breaks in the action.”
The Philadelphia Phillies will let you bring handmade signs, but they provide a lengthy list of guidelines on what your sign may say, its size, what it can be made of, and how you can display it. No “fighting words,” they warn.
“Citizens Bank Park is a baseball ballpark and not a forum for public discussion.”
The Houston Astros insist that your sign must “support” the team or a player and be in “good taste”.
(Trying to come up with a sign supporting the Astros? How about this: “Well, at least you’re not the Rangers.”)
Most places restrict “wrapped gifts.” The Kansas City Royals, recognizing you might be celebrating a birthday at Kaufmann Stadium, earnestly suggest “gift bags” instead.
The Mets allow diaper bags “with children.” I don’t know where to go with this, because I didn’t even know diaper bags could procreate.
St. Louis’ Busch Stadium has a pretty short prohibited list. Leave your big bags and weapons home. That’s about it. Have at it, Cardinals fans!
Oh, except for this:
“Visiting team fans are our guests. Harassment of the visiting team or their fans will not be tolerated and may result in ejection.”
Cardinal harassing is, apparently, a-ok. You may now harass John Lackey with abandon.
The Angels and Dodgers invite you to bring your crappy cameras and iPhones, but no lenses that are longer than 4” (Angels) or 6” (Dodgers), please. The Tampa Rays allow lenses that are 12”. (The better to fully capture the Trop’s Teflon roof.)
The Yankees invite you to bring whatever size lens you like.
Visit the Minnesota Twins’ website and they will offer you security rules for the Metrodome.
They haven’t played there since 2009 and it was permanently deflated earlier this year.
The Mets continue to have tight security at Shea Stadium.
Shea was torn down in 2009.
Most teams explain that the only animals allowed are service animals (except for special “barks in the parks” events).
Miniature horses are specifically welcome at Petco Park in San Diego, as long as they are serving a direct service role. (Slacker horses? Not allowed.)
(Yes, service horses wear sneakers!)
A big tail wag to the Chicago White Sox who allow service animals at U.S. Cellular Field and “offer a Pet Check service for other types of animals.”
Stevie hopes this “pet check” includes snacks and a nice brushing.
Then there’s the Toronto Blue Jays. What a way to ruin a post, what with your “We’re a friendly place and we want you to be happy” rules.
They even promise to greet us with a cheery “How’s it goin’?”
(My friend Susie swears that no one in Canada really says “How’s it goin’?” She’s from Canada, she should know.)
They seem almost apologetic to be restricting anything, and when they do, it’s really just to keep you tidy.
Your own food is welcome, “as long as the items are wrapped, bagged or left inside a container to avoid spillage.” See? They just want to keep mustard off your shirt.
But, there is one odd Toronto rule:
“For obvious safety concerns, guests are not permitted to throw any objects around or within the Rogers Centre seating areas (e.g., baseballs, beach balls, shoes, seat cushions, hats, food, drinks, ice, coins, etc).”
Coins? Shoes? Ice? (There’s a lot of ice in Canada.)
This is ironic since Toronto is fast becoming known for having the worst, drunkest, throwingest fans in baseball. (Sorry, Philly.)
Hey, mind the rules, Toronto fans. Don’t throw your beer at Nate McLouth.
And, here’s the one you’ve been waiting for …
Earlier this season, the Texas Rangers “banned” fans from doing the wave.