“The Sandwiches Were Said To Be Delicious.”

The Baltimore Sun, 9/26/1954

“The ghosts of Wee Willie Keeler and all the other old-time Oriole greats, who love so much to win, will have to await some other year before they can frolic again in triumph.” ~ The Baltimore Sun, September 26, 1954

On September 25, 1954, on the last day of the regular season, the Baltimore Orioles lost their 100th game.

Losing 100 games is that limbo bar that separates the terrible teams that lose 99 from the truly awful ones who lose 100.

Like the 1954 Orioles.

1954 Orioles

It is possible that the Tigers, the Phillies, and the Giants could cross under that 100-loss bar this season. But, with just a week to play, it’s not likely.

The 2017 Orioles were eliminated from the post-season last night with their 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

If the O’s lose their remaining six games – and I strongly urge them not to do this – they will have lost 88.

At least it’s not 100.

The 1954 Orioles, formerly the St. Louis Browns, were finishing up their first season in Baltimore on September 25. They were the first major league team in the city since 1901.

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Home Teams & The Cap Game

Do you root, root, root for the home team?

If you did last night …

Congratulations! Your team won.

Because last night, for the first time in baseball history (well, actually for the first time in any history), all 15 home major league baseball teams won their games.

And, for the first time ever, all 15 away major league teams lost.

(Stupid Baltimore.)

os mariners box

Because math is not my thing (in the same way that algebra, calculus, and trigonometry are not my things, inasmuch as they are math and, as I said, math is not my thing), I could not add up all the games that have ever been played to determine the average win percentage for home teams.

But, like always, I don’t need math. Because, Baseball Reference has already done all the mathy things required and found that, if you’re the home team, you are slightly more likely to win than lose your game. Home teams win about 54 percent of the time.

It’s just not likely that all you home teams will choose to do it on the same day.

All 30 major league teams actually playing on the same day doesn’t happen every day – because of off days and travel days and rain-out days and winter, not to mention the many decades when there were not 30 major league teams at all.

If your team won last night, please stop reading now. The rest of this post is not for you.

***

Dear Everybody Else, this is to cheer you up after your loss.

(Hey, winners, I knew you’d keep reading.)

One of the things that makes baseball spectularly better than any other sport is all the stuff there is to do when the game is at a break. Between innings there are songs to sing, games to play, mascots racing, trivia contests, and fan cams. So much to do!

There is the old favorite cap game. At Camden Yards in Baltimore it’s the Old Bay “Crab Shuffle”.

 

I just discovered that baseball has kindly put its cap game online so we no longer need to wait for a break between innings to play. Please forgive baseball’s abhorrently awful decision to use the Toronto Blue Jays cap. Play here.

toronto cap game

Baseball’s popular cap game is a family-friendly version of the old street con Three Card Monte.  Funny thing … Three Card Monte is expressly illegal in Canada.

So, I assume, is this cap game.

So, if you’re a Blue Jays fan in Toronto, please don’t play this game. (Also, if you’re a Blue Jays fan, your team won last night, why are you still reading this?)

 

 

Far From The Madding Crowd

camden yards 2014

An empty Camden Yards in 2014. ©The Baseball Bloggess

Dear Future Person,

Sure, I know why you’re here. You want to know what happened on April 29, 2015 – long before you were born – and how one game of baseball changed everything.

(But, before we get to that, let me tell you that I’m delighted that you still have, and enjoy, baseball in your world. We fans never believed the annoying naysayers who insisted the sport was dying. We knew they were idiots wrong. And, I’m also really proud of you for finally outlawing football at all levels because of the well-documented, long-term damage it does to players. Well done, Future World!)

We knew the game on April 29 would be historic before it even started. We just had no idea how historic it would be. And, how it would turn baseball on its head.

The Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox played to an empty stadium that day. It was the first time that no fans attended a major league game. Baltimore was in turmoil (probably similar to the unrest and turmoil you have in your own cities, as some things, sadly, don’t ever seem to change). For the safety of the community, the game was closed to the public.

To read news accounts, you’d think that it was a ghostly quiet game, seen by few.  You’ll see “eerie” and “unsettling” used by a lot of reporters. Here are other words used in game day reports: “strange,” “eerie,” “surreal,” “hushed and surreal,” “uncomfortable,” “uniquely eerie,” “eerie and amusing,” “poignant,” “sad [and] lifeless,” “odd,” “eerily quiet,” “kind of eerie,” “eerily empty,” and “eerie.”

eerie

(Good job with the thesaurus, reporters.)

Let me clear up a few things. This game was seen by more people than would ordinarily watch an April baseball game on a Tuesday afternoon by two teams hovering around .500.

There was no room in the press box to handle the overflow of reporters who were clamoring to call the game “eerie.” There were cameras and announcers, same as always, sending the game out live on TV, streaming free on the Internet, and on radio. (Ask your grandparents to explain that radio part.)

The players enjoyed themselves.

caleb

O’s catcher Caleb Joseph having fun with imaginary fans.

People stood outside the ballpark peering through the gates or rented $300 suites at a nearby hotel to look down on the field.

hilton1

It made the national news.

guess the attendance

And, Saturday Night Live.

But, little did we know that the game would set into motion the greatest sea-change in 21st-century baseball – the end of fans in the bleachers.

I know this may sound strange (unsettling maybe, eerie, perhaps), but up until April 29, we fans thought we were indispensible. We cheered and chanted and carried on at games. We were certain that our cheers and boos could make a difference. We were the 10th man. Except we weren’t.

On April 29, we learned the truth. We were as disposable as a bag of stale sunflower seeds.

The game itself was pretty much like any other game.

The Orioles got off to such a fast 6-0 start in the first inning that I tweeted this.

if this keeps up

Lots of O’s fans retweeted me. Because it was so, well, ridiculous.

The Orioles went on to win 8-2. Their usually unsettled starter Ubaldo Jimenez was eerily settled and dominating.

buck

In the post-game press conference, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked: “Once the game started, how cognizant were you that there was nobody here?”

And, there was an awkward pause, a flustered and eerie silence, before Buck said, “That would be pretty self-incriminating. I can’t win answering that question.” And, then he said this, “It was still baseball between the lines.”

He wouldn’t admit it, but our absence hadn’t made a difference.

They hadn’t even noticed we were gone.

crush vine

O’s first baseman Chris Davis tosses a ball … to no one.

As the 2015 season began, one of the big stories was how baseball needed to speed up its games. The average game in 2014 ran just over three hours.

The game without fans? Two hours and three minutes. An hour faster. Come to find out, we were the slow pokes.

time of game

Once owners and their accountants realized that they could play speedy games without fans and still turn a profit, our days were numbered.

We were downsized until we were gone.

And, that dear Future Person, is why there are no fans at your baseball games. Oh sure, the luxury suites are still there. Those were too lucrative to lose. But, no bleachers, no upper tiers, no lower tiers.

Just wide open empty space where foul balls and home runs collect like dust bunnies under a bed.

crush homer

Chris Davis’ home run hit Eutaw Street. “Innings later, the ball was still just sitting there, unclaimed.” ~ SB Nation

Without us there are no piles of peanut shells and spilled beer to clean up. No drunk fights to break up. No fan, walloped with a foul ball he didn’t see coming, to bandage up.

We were more trouble than we were worth.

Future Person, you’ll never know how wonderful it is to gather up the family and spread out at a game. To fill up on peanuts and popcorn and French fries and cotton candy (do you even know what cotton candy is?). To yell at the umpires, cheer the mascot races, root for the home team, and heckle the other guy’s outfielders. To soak in the summer heat or, even better, the chill of October, from awesome seats on the first-base side. To catch a foul ball or a home run.

I’m glad you still have baseball, even if you must watch games from the safety of your techno-televisiony-hologram devices. At least you have something.

And, I’m glad that scientists figured out a way to ensure that Vin Scully still calls Dodger games, extending his baseball career for hundreds of years to come.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I’m glad you finally brought the DH to the National League. It shouldn’t have taken so long, but the National League can be stubborn sometimes, so really, good for you.

But, I’m sorry about the empty games.

davenport empty

© The Baseball Bloggess

 

davenport blue seats

©The Baseball Bloggess

There’s not much time left for fans, I guess. I hope we make the most of it.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, by Thomas Gray. 1751

box

 

Dear America

Dear America,

Baseball’s American League Championship Series (ALCS) begins Friday.  And, I know you’re rooting for the Kansas City Royals, but hear me out.

map

Baltimore is a fine, fine city, and the Baltimore Orioles are a fine, fine ballclub. There’s plenty of room on the train to Birdland and I’ve saved you a seat!

I checked StubHub Wednesday morning and Standing Room tickets for Friday’s game at beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards can be yours for just $98 a ticket. Looking for standing room tickets to Monday’s game at Kauffman Stadium in KC? $196.

Advantage, Baltimore.

(Dear Slowpoke, all those “cheap” “seats” are now gone.)

Baltimore is the birthplace of Babe Ruth.

Public Domain

Public Domain.

They built Camden Yards – and centerfield – over the spot where he lived. He is the greatest baseball player ever.

Cal Ripken, Jr. and brother Billy were born close by. So were Harold Baines and Buttercup Dickerson. (Buttercup!)

Born in Kansas City? David Cone.

Advantage, do I need to spell this out?

Hint, it starts with a B, as in Babe.

Here are a few more things in Baltimore’s favor.

America’s first professional sports organization was born in Baltimore in 1743 – the Maryland Jockey Club.

The first hot air balloon to go up in the air with a person in a basket?  1784. Baltimore.

The first sugar refinery (1796), the first electric refrigerator (1803), and the first ice cream freezer (1848). All Baltimore. Yes, thank Baltimore next time you wolf down an entire container of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie with an oversized tablespoon after a crappy day at work. (What? Just me?)

chocolate fudge brownie

Bottle caps. Duck Pin Bowling. John Waters.

Baltimore. Baltimore. Baltimore.

You know that song Kansas City? There’s this famous lyric:

I’m gonna be standing on the corner
12th Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine

Guess what? There’s no corner of 12th Street and Vine. The roads don’t meet.

Nice song, though.

Still, it’s no National Anthem.

Baltimore.

1814.

Stay for the “OH!” at the 1:05 mark.

And, let’s not forget … there’s Dancing in the Streets in Baltimore, baby!

 

Baltimore, Maryland is known for Old Bay seasoning and Maryland crabs.  Kansas City is known for barbeque that is sweet and saucy.

flavor

Hey, I’m a vegetarian, you’re going to have to score this one yourself.

It was in Kansas City that Walt Disney dreamed up Mickey Mouse.  It was in Baltimore that David Simon dreamed up The Wire.

mouse wire

I’m sure that Kansas City is a lovely place.  Although, most of it lives in Missouri, not Kansas, which seems a bit shady, if you ask me.

Still, Kansas City is home to the first suburban shopping center – The Plaza. Kansas City’s Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country – more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park.

If it weren’t for Kansas City we wouldn’t have Teflon-coated frying pans and electric hair clippers. Really. Those are really important things.

I mentioned that Baltimore gave us ice cream freezers, didn’t I?

Ice_Cream_dessert_02

Photo used with permission by: LotusHead, http://www.pixelpusher.co.za

Both cities have rich baseball histories.

The Baltimore Orioles have been a part of baseball – in one iteration or another – since the late 1800s. In just the past 40-odd years, these greats have played for Baltimore: Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Mike Flanagan, Mike Mussina, and Cal Ripken.

The Royals’ long and storied baseball history began in 1969, as an expansion team. It has its share of greats, too, I’m sure. Like George Brett and outfield-wall-climbing Bo Jackson. I’m sure there have been others.

The Royals have a big, lovable lion mascot named Sluggerrr.

The Orioles have a big, loveable oriole bird mascot named … um … I think he’s just called The Bird.

mascots

Both, awfully cute. Battle of the Mascots … Tie.

Both cities celebrate baseball’s history. Baltimore has the Babe Ruth Museum. Kansas City has the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and considers itself the birthplace of the Negro leagues. Both cities honor baseball well. They both win on that count.

museums

Hooray for history!

So, does one team deserve to win more than the other?

The Royals last won the World Series in 1985. The Orioles in 1983.

Both are underdogs. Small-market teams that are regularly bullied by teams with far bigger payrolls (Tigers, Yankees). Both were expected to finish last (or nearly last) by almost every baseball “expert” this spring. Both are hard-working and drama-free. Both have excited, fired-up, feisty fans.

Really, both are deserving.

But, wait. Before you pull on that Royal blue sweatshirt.

puppy

I can’t promise you a puppy … or Stevie …

stevie closeup

© The Baseball Bloggess

Not for sale.

But, there is this …

America loves an underdog, right? Who doesn’t?

Let’s look at the map again.

map

Nearly everyone in America is rooting for the Kansas City Royals.

So, who’s the underdog?

jj hardy bw

© The Baseball Bloggess

“I think it helped being the underdogs. It’s just going to get more fun.” ~ Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy

Let’s all have fun.

Ahh, who am I kidding?

May the underdog Orioles have a little bit more fun.”

Let’s Go O’s!

we wont stop

Photo: J.J. Hardy. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland.  Royals at Orioles. April 27, 2014.  

 

Fan of the Game

Luke was at Camden Yards in Baltimore last night. He brought this sign.

??????????

O Yeah! Luke & his Orioles Beast of the East sign.

Between every inning and half-inning, Luke stood up and held up his sign trying to get the attention of the camera people so that they would show his sign on the Jumbotron in Center Field.

Luke is awesome. He never faltered and he never lost hope.

Never faltering and never losing hope are incredibly important qualities for any true baseball fan.

Luke told me that his mother actually made the sign – not him. “I slept in,” he admitted.

This is another important quality for a true baseball fan: pacing. The understanding that night games can often run into the wee hours requires the ability to catch a few extra snooze minutes whenever possible.

Luke cheered and clapped, and every time the public address system yelled “Charge!”, Luke yelled “Charge!” Absolute joy for baseball and the Orioles.

Luke’s favorite player? Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Manny didn’t play last night – he’s out after season-ending knee surgery last month. But, Luke didn’t dwell on that disappointment.

The only thing that mattered was the game at hand.

And, don’t think that Luke’s cheers weren’t heard.

Last season, Baltimore Style Magazine asked Machado if he was aware of the crowd when playing. He said:

“Totally. … [Y]ou can always feel the energy. You hear people in the background. It’s gotten really loud in Baltimore lately. I love it.”

It was loud last night.

Even when the Red Sox got off to a fast 2-0 start.

But, did Luke give up hope? What do you think?

??????????

Final Score: Baltimore Orioles 7. Boston Red Sox 2.

Fan of the Game: Luke.

box score 9 20 14

Photos: Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Baltimore, Maryland. September 20, 2014

Fan-Tastic, Part 3

Joe Nathan, the Detroit Tigers closer, got a little frustrated during Wednesday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Tigers won and all, but Nathan was a little shaky in the ninth, walking the first two batters and making things interesting. (He’s been “a little shaky” a lot this season.)

This led to some booing from equally frustrated Tiger fans.

So, Nathan did this.

nathan

Let me say this about that.

Joe Nathan, I don’t care if they booed you. No need to be a dolt.

And, fans, don’t boo your players.

Even when they frustrate you and annoy you and make you want to slam your head into the wall. Even when they blow the save or give up a walk-off homer and lose the game. (Brian Matusz, you sure do work my nerves some days.)

They’re doing their best.

Okay, there are a few times when you are allowed to – even encouraged to – boo your team.

  1. Not running out ground balls to first.
  2. Lack of hustle.
  3. Not hustling.
  4. Lazy hustling.
  5. Hustle atrophy.
  6. Hustlessness.
  7. When cheering for your favorite player sounds a lot like booing … Nelson Cruuuuuuuzzzzzz … Louuuuuuuu Pinella.
  8. And, of course, when your closer does this to you …

But, booing, generally speaking, doesn’t help. (Oakland fans, are you listening?)

It won’t make the blown save disappear or turn a bottom-of-the-ninth two-out strike out into a walk-off win. It won’t make anyone play harder. It won’t make anything better. And, it could make things abundantly worse. (Oakland, I’m not kidding here.)

The only time booing really made a difference was in ancient Rome when the cries of displeased fans would occasionally determine which gladiators lived and which, uh, umm, didn’t. Joe Nathan would have been a short-lived gladiator.

But some of us must boo, mustn’t we? Like the dinner party guest who must poo-poo every story you tell … one-up your vacation … your job … your kids.

(Oh my, your precious daughter won a Scrabble tournament with the word ‘jonquil’? I see why you’re so proud. My cat beheaded a mouse on my Yoga mat, dissected its intestines and set them aside, and then barfed the rest of it up into two separate piles. Can your daughter do that?*)

* True story: My cat Polly barfed as I was writing about cats barfing. How cool is that!

Polly

Polly. Not sorry.

Nathan apologized for his obnoxious behavior the next day.

And, he should, because, despite sometimes booing, baseball fans are the most wonderful hodge-podge of people around.

Like Tim Pinkard who attended his first Houston Astros game on Tuesday and caught Chris Carter’s home run ball. And, then caught another Chris Carter home run ball. Watch it here.

pinkard

Here’s to the fans. The managers may be the brains. The players may be the brawn. But, fans are the heart … and without them … well, there’s no $9 million payday for Joe Nathan is there, Joe?

“I do love … the baseball that is in the heads of baseball fans. I love the dreams of glory of 10-year-olds, the reminiscences of 70-year-olds. The greatest baseball arena is in our heads, what we bring to the games, to the telecasts, to reading newspaper reports.” ~ Stan Isaacs, Newsday sports columnist (1929-2013).

Davenport Field

Fans on the hill. Davenport Field, University of Virginia

Squirrel Girl

Richmond Flying Squirrels, The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia

Oriole Bird

7th Inning Stretch, Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Cardinals Fans

Cardinal Fans at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Orioles Fans

Orioles fans at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Beverly and Francisco Squirrel

Beverly brings “Francisco The Flying Squirrel” to nearly every Flying Squirrels ballgame. (It “stands” during the national anthem and the 7th inning stretch.) The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia

___________

Here’s more …

Fan-Tastic, Part 1 ~ Our grandparents were bad (and dangerous) baseball fans. 

Fan-Tastic, Part 2 ~ Today’s rules of proper fan behavior.  Bring your miniature horse to a game? Okay. How about a grapefruit? Not okay.

Fan Photos: Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Virginia. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore,  Maryland. The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia. 2014

Fan-Tastic, Part 2

Fun Fact: Rain Delays don't last forever.  Fun Fact #2: Rally Towels are very absorbent.

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:

colored whites sign

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.)

bodysuit

(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.

Foul language.

“Disruptive behavior.”

Intoxication.

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.)

Fishing nets. ~ Chase Field, PhoenixCoors Field, Denver

Beach balls.

“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.

stay classy

You stay classy, 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.

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

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.)

service miniature horse

By DanDee Shots [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

(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 relaxing

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’?”

hows it going

(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.

nate

And, here’s the one you’ve been waiting for …

Earlier this season, the Texas Rangers “banned” fans from doing the wave.

wave2

Yippee!

 

Fan-Tastic

“At the ballpark or even in front of the television, fans are, for the interlude of a few hours, different from whom they are in everyday life. … In the drama that is a baseball game the fan imagines himself not a spectator but a participant, as if the fervor of his rooting will have a bearing on the outcome.” ~ John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball

Sometime in the 1880s or so, newspapers started to mention baseball “fans” and “cranks” and “rooters.” Before that, who knows what they called the men (and they were mostly men) who would sit and watch the other men (and they were mostly men, too) play baseball.

Ty Cobb unkindly called fans “bugs,” but he didn’t have a good word to say about anyone.

Umpires might argue that today’s fans can be rowdy at times, but all in all, fans are a pretty good bunch.

We’re certainly nowhere near as rowdy as our grandparents and great- and great-great grandparents who went to games and shoved their way onto the outfield, or, if the weather was hot, would bully players out of their dugouts and take over the benches in the shade.

rowdies

— SDN-006846, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum. (1908)

 Police hold back the rowdies at Chicago’s South Side Park on April 14, 1908. The White Sox will defeat the Detroit Tigers 15-8. (And, look at that trash!)

Cranks would fight with other fans, the umpires, and the players. They would throw bricks. Today, I pack my scorecard, maybe some peanuts. Back then, fans would pack bricks and guns, along with their sandwiches and moonshine.

Players would climb into the grandstands and beat up heckling fans. Fans would jump onto the field and clobber a player or ump.

Games were forfeited because fans were jerks.

Ahh, the good old days.

I have been known to complain at games if the person next to me is bogarting my cup holder. (Yours is on the right, Bozo.) Back then, I’d have been lucky to get through the game without losing an eye.

I recently asked a policeman at Oriole Park at Camden Yards what the hardest part of his job was and he said catching the underage drinkers who all sit together in the upper deck on student nights. (Yes, fans today are so well-behaved even the bad ones cooperate by sitting together.)  Other than that, he said, he got paid really well to walk around for a few hours, maintaining the peace and watching the game.

So sure, a few bad fan eggs. But, without us there would be no baseball.  We are the 10th player. We pay the salaries. We are irreplaceable.

That’s why teams have Fan Appreciation Days and lavish gifts on us to lure us to the park – caps and shirts and seat cushions. Bobbleheads that are supposed to look like certain players, but usually don’t.  Garden gnomes that are supposed to look like certain players and sometimes actually do.

Sure, it’s cheap crap, but fans will line up for hours – HOURS – to get our swag.

nick bobblehead

Nick Markakis Bobblehead? Horrible. Did Helen Keller design this?  Socks down! Socks down!

wilson gnome

Wilson Photo: by CBL 62, via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (2011)

Brian Wilson Garden Gnome? Awesome.

Every baseball fan is a great fan.  Even if you don’t know a balk from a walk, and can’t name your team’s starting pitchers, you’re still all right in my book.

But, some are just a tiny bit all righter. Here are three of them.

On Friday night, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Seattle Mariners 2-1 in 10 innings. These fans were at Seattle’s Safeco Field.

1) Happy Homer.

cruz homer

Who cares if your team just gave up a go-ahead run, you just caught the freaking home run ball!  Good for you, happy Mariners’ fan.  Your team will lose because of that run, but at least you didn’t spill your beer.

(For the record, if you catch a home run ball, keep it. Even if it was hit by the opposition. You may think you’re some hero by throwing it back on the field in disgust, but really, we just think you’re stupid.)

Watch here.

2) One of these fans is not like the others.

oriole fan

This Orioles fan sat in a sea of Mariners on Friday night.

Editor/Husband thinks the guy lost a bet. I think he’s just a very good fan. Sure, he kind of looks uncomfortable and maybe just a little sad. But, at least he didn’t have to worry about being hit on the head with a brick.

Watch here.

3) Rally Kid

rally kid2

First off, there’s that napkin. The rally napkin. If you don’t have a ball cap to twist or turn to spur your team’s late-inning rally, then you get creative. This kid stuck a napkin on his head. Because, hey, why not?

Well, whatever it was, it didn’t work. Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano – the would-be tying run – was called out to end the game after a challenge.

The rally napkin folded like a … a … a napkin.

Ten innings that kid sat through. The tying run is on first and then, suddenly, he is gone. His team has lost.  He is not happy. I love him. I could watch him all day. (He comes at the 1:52 minute mark. He’s worth the wait.)

Watch here.

Don’t worry kid, there’s always tomorrow.

_______________

Not done yet. Here’s Fan-Tastic, Part 2 ~ Unruly Fans/Ruly Fans. Click here.

 

Baseball’s Not A Spectator Sport … Vote for Nick!

A friend told me recently she hates baseball.

“I hate all spectator sports, but I especially hate baseball.”

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this blog.

I think her baseball-hate thing comes from a long-ago doofus boyfriend who would watch the Mets on television with his father and not include her.

Baseball, as in many things, has its share of doofuses.

But, you shouldn’t hate baseball, just because you dated a dolt. (And, really, if your boyfriend is bringing his dad to your date night, you’ve got relationship problems well beyond baseball.)

The thing that really bothers me, though, is that she called baseball a spectator sport – some boring, passive, sit-around-and-watch sort of thing.

Binge-watching Downton Abbey is a passive spectator sport.  Oh, and it will probably kill you.

Baseball is no spectator sport.

Even at our laziest, we always get up and stretch in the 7th inning.

To be a real baseball fan, however, requires a bit more than just a stretch. It takes commitment and, occasionally, Gatorade.

There are those slightly weird, old-fashioned purists who bring their scorecards to games and carefully pencil in every play.

??????????

Yeh, it’s mine. So?

(I met a nice old fella at an Orioles game this season who chuckled because I did my scorecard in pencil. He and his wife keep separate cards. In pen. Show offs!)

There are fans who will happily wear whatever in order to break a Guinness World Record in the middle of a game.

santa hats

Angels Fans in Santa Hats, 2014.

cowboy hats

… and in Cowboy Hats, 2012

Snuggieswigswrestling masks.

Wacky Angels fans don’t care. They’ll wear anything!

Always on alert, there are fans catching foul balls and home run balls at every turn, sometimes even while holding a baby.

homerun baby

There are fans who dance

dancing dodger

… and kiss

kiss

… and sing

take me out to the ballgame

Even if you aren’t actually at the game, there is still much doing to be done.

Have you voted for your All Stars, yet?

Because, you only have until this Thursday, July 3, to vote online for the starting line-ups for this year’s game.

You might think this is where I will beg you to vote for all the Baltimore Orioles.

You would be wrong. Even The Baseball Bloggess can’t vote for all of them.  Not this year.

But, I can vote for a few, and there’s one in particular that deserves – and needs – your support.

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis.

markakis

His plays in the field are seldom flashy, simply because he positions himself so well, that he rarely has to overcorrect. (It’s often those over-correctors who make the highlight reels with their crazy chin-first swan dives into the ground.)

His uniform stays pretty clean in the field.

He made NO errors in 2013. He played right field in 155 games – all nine innings in 152 of them – and made NO errors. NO errors in his 74 games this season either.

I bet YOU made an error at work last year. Nick Markakis did not.

Trust me, it’s not for lack of work. It’s not like the Orioles crack team of starting pitchers is striking everybody out.

His glove stays plenty busy.

He is stellar in the outfield. But, unheralded, because he goes about his business without grandstanding.

Just one Gold Glove. (2011)

He is steady and reliable as the Orioles leadoff hitter, batting .298 this season. (Geek Alert: .358 OPB/.410 Slugging).

But, no showing off, no fancy home run handshakes, no bat flipping, no jawing at umpires.

And, in nine big league seasons NO All-Star Game appearance.

And, that just stinks.

So, Vote for Nick.

Because he does this …

nick catch

And, this …

4 hits

(Yes, they won.)

And, this …

nick another great catch

And, that was just in June.

Or, as Orioles’ Manager Buck Showalter says, “He makes our highlight reel every night.”

Don’t Be a Spectator.  Vote Here.

whos your all star

And, Vote for Nick.