So it looks like the “rumor” that Yankees fans were playing bad sport to Rangers players wives during the playoffs has turned out to come straight from the mouth of Cliff Lee’s wife. Via Chicken-Fried Baseball‘s Dan Stokes comes an article from ESPN in regards to a radio show appearance that Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg made recently, wherein he referred to Yankees fans as “an embarrassment”. Part of me feels that this is a bad move – if Yankees fans were already prone to throwing things at Rangers wives, how badly will this go the next time there are Rangers fans at Yankee Stadium? Or Yankees fans at Arlington?
I am not interested in fighting or hostility against fans of other teams – that sort of behavior is for drunks, jackasses, and drunk jackasses. Baseball is a game, and it’s meant to be enjoyed; if your sole purpose in coming to a baseball game is to act like an uncivilized idiot at games, perhaps a sports bar or your own living room might be more your speed? At least most sports bars have bouncers…Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about heckling – that is completely acceptable, part of the game, etc. But when part of you or your belongings violently interferes with my personal space, that’s an issue. So, while I feel that maybe Greenberg made the wrong call by addressing it publicly (specifically in regards to matters of safety and possibly triggering future fighting), how else could he have possibly addressed it? Personally, I don’t feel like there is enough public humiliation for people who start fights with opposing teams fans – then again, if those people are willing to do things like that under the public eye, they likely have no concept of humility to begin with.
Further frustrating within this issue is the fact that one or two bad apples really do spoil the bushel here. Phillies fans seem to have the worst reputation, from what I can tell sitting here in Seattle. Granted, according to further reports from 2009’s World Series win, a lot of the people who tipped things over and set fire to things in the street were from New Jersey (information that Tom was all too keen to share with me when he found out), but still, Phillies fans allowed that to happen in their city, after a championship win. Pardon me if I’m missing something here, but what’s the point? You won. Why is your first reaction to go destroy something that belongs to someone else?* The Phillies also have the rep as the team with fans who vomit on other fans. Ignoring the fact that this is absolutely disgusting and poses a possible health risk to everyone within the splatter radius, I want to know why? Not only why would you do this to another human being, but what is it that you have in you that wants to give your entire fanbase a bad rap? Personally, I don’t enjoy going into a game wondering whether or not I’ll be seated around fans who can’t handle themselves in public, which is, sadly, what happens before every Blue Jays game I go to – three games sitting next to people who have smuggled in booze (yes, every time), yelled racist slurs at our players, and arrive to the game already well into their drunk has given me a sort of pre-game dread about any Jays games I attend. I wish it didn’t, but that’s been my personal experience. Also, as an added note, I’m not picking on Phillies fans – just using them as an example, since they seem to have a pretty public problem with this sort of thing.
I try to give all fans the benefit of the doubt. I’ve had some lovely discourse with opposing teams’ fans (Angels, it’s shockingly true), and I’ve had some bad experiences listening to the loud, racist, and abusive opinions of other teams fans (Blue Jays take this one, hands down, but Boston is guilty of it as well), so I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. Fortunately, Seattle’s countrywide reputation for being peaceful, passive-aggressive sorts means that I have yet to see one single physical altercation at SafeCo Field. A little puffing of chests, some verbal showmanship perhaps (some Boston fans getting uppity at a Yankees fan who wasn’t even bothering either of them the last time Jonathan Papelbon collapsed in the 9th against us), but nothing that made me concerned I should leave my seats or call security.
I don’t know what my point was here, or if I even really had one -those who fight are still going to fight, and those who don’t are not going to start. I just find it annoying that it’s even an issue. I believe you can be passionate about your team without being stupid about it. You’re a baseball fan – get over yourself and watch the game like the rest of us. I didn’t pay for a ticket to watch you act like you’ve never been out of the house before.
On a completely different (and far more chipper) note, later today, my (kind of sort of birthday) wish comes true, and game 5 starts with another Cliff Lee/Tim Lincecum duel. A few of my friends want a nice long series, some of them want the Giants to try to win at home. I’m merely looking forward to a good game, and hope both pitchers are a little more on their game than last time. Also, it’s November, and there is still baseball on. Wow.
*Seriously, if anyone can answer this question in a remotely comprehensible way, I really do want an answer.