Saturday, September 8, 2012

Game 26: 90 Percent of Success is Showing Up

(Note: This post was written partially by Owen, and partially by Jeff)

Rockies 6, Braves 0
We were there, Chipper

After attending so many baseball games all across the country, we have become somewhat of an authority on fan behavior. Each park has its own inherent vibe and atmosphere that becomes apparent to any seasoned fan right when he or she steps into the stadium.  Along the way, we have seen both the good, passion and attentiveness, and the bad, apathy and distraction.  However, no fan atmosphere was worse than in Atlanta.  The experience was so bad that it led fan-favorite and lifelong Brave Chipper Jones to send the following tweet after the game: "Come on Atlanta! The Ted was a morgue tonight. We need you in full force. We feed off you guys. No excuse for the loss! Just sayin..."

In light of Chipper's tweet, I have decided to present a list of rules for baseball fans to live by if they want to enjoy the game to its fullest and avoid the shame of their favorite players.

Be in Your Seat by the National Anthem
It has been disappointing to see how many fans show up casually late to baseball games. First of all, this is disrupting to the game atmosphere as the first few innings are spent with people filing into the seats around you. Moreover, this causes many people to miss some important pre-game events. If a fan showed up just fifteen minutes before first pitch, they would be there in time to see the lineups, to watch the pre-game information and videos on the scoreboard (the scoreboard is at its best just before the game, when the best highlight videos are being played and standings and league leaders are being listed), and enjoy the national anthem. Finally, if you show up late, you miss baseball. In the first inning of games alone, we have seen so many important, fun, and interesting developments, moments, and plays. We saw the Yankees fans "roll call" their team in New York, we saw Carlos Beltran's home run set the tone for the Cardinals in St. Louis, we saw Stephen Strasburg lose command of his fastball in San Francisco (which gave the context for his adjusted pitching style in the later innings), we saw David Price throw a five pitch first inning in Texas, we saw Angel Pagan make the only solid contact of any Giants hitter all game in Los Angeles with his double to deep left-center, we saw Evan Longoria homer off the foul pole in Texas, we saw Adrian Beltre make a barehanded catch and diving throw for an out while charging a bunt in Cleveland, and we saw Jason Bay hit a grand slam in Miami. The point is, baseball fans, we've seen over and over again that there's good reason to come on time.

Cheer at the Appropriate Times
There is nothing more frustrating at a game than when fans cheer more for the gimmicks and promotions than for baseball. There have been too many games where the most life the fans have shown has been in an attempt to get a free t-shirt thrown their way, when the wave comes through their section, or when mustard beats ketchup in the pre-determined animated condiment race on the jumbo-tron. The fans and the scoreboard managers are equally guilty on this, but it would be a lot nicer if fans didn't need prompting to show some excitement. There is no need to wait for the scoreboard for your cues and enjoyment. The excitement is on the field, and the best chants start organically.

Never Ever Leave Early
We have been asking a question all trip, which was originally rhetorical but became literal. That is, what would it take to get fansto stay at a game? After we saw thousands of fans leaving before the ninth inning at our first few games, we wondered if they understood that any game could turn exciting or important at any time. How close would the game have to be, we asked, for them to realize that the climax was ahead of them? Then we saw fans (less of them, but still a lot) leave during one- and two-run games, and even tie games or games with significant playoff implications, and realized that a lot of fans will leave early just about regardless of what is going on on the field.  With the possible exception of emergencies, if you pay for nine innings, stay for the whole game.

This list is far from complete.  These are just our intial takeaways from the first 26 games.  If you have any to add, put them in the comment section below.  We can work together to become better fans of the sports and teams we love.

Games watched: 26
Games to go: 4
Thuuz score: 38
Stadium: B-, pretty bland, no big takeaways, although a good incorporation of history (pennants and statues) was a plus.
Fan Atmosphere: D, see above.
Concessions: A-, great barbeque pulled-pork sandwiches, and all reasonably priced.
Tim Kurkjian Award: On a throw to first base, when the throw barely beat the batter, both the first and home plate umpire called him out. The home plate umpire then immediately changed his call to safe, signaling that the first baseman came off the bag to make the catch. We have not seen an umpire overturn himself and another umpire without any new information. The overturn looked like the right call to us.
Miles traveled: 13,150
Miles to go: 470 (Phillies @ Reds, September 5, 12:30pm)

Click "Read more" for pictures from the day

Lots of Empty Seats at Turner

Atlanta Skyline

Brave Panorama

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