I’m definitely not Miss Manners, and I’ll never be confused with Emily Post. However, I am the owner of the one ManFridge to rule them all, and ManFridge has some baseball etiquette reminders for all of you diehard baseball fans who are coming out of hiberation at the first signs of spring training. If “pitchers and catchers” is enough to get your blood pumping just a bit faster, then this is the one etiquette post for you. It’s just a set of rules, reminders, and guidelines (much like the Pirate’s Code) to help you get back into your baseball groove without commiting any major faux pas.
- Don’t drink and drive. Ever. It’s dumb. It’s worse than dumb. It’s dumber than dumb. It’s dumberer. That’s not even a word. It’s so dumb that I’m making up words to describe how dumb it is. If you have the money to blow on a baseball ticket and toss back overpriced beers, then you have the money for a cab, a hotel room, or a good, sober friend to slap you upside the head before driving your dumb butt home. I’m not even kidding. If you think a cab/hotel combo costs a lot, you should try paying for a DUI/DWI and a lawyer. Ask around. Almost everyone knows someone who has gone that route and paid the price, and that’s if you get off easy. It could be worse. Someone could get hurt. Don’t do it.
- Spring training games are like 3 dollar bills. They are worthless, and they just don’t count for anything. No matter what your favorite team does in spring training, try to keep that in mind. Do you remember which team had the best record in spring training prior to the 2010 season? Yeah, me neither.
- You may want to invest in a cuss jar. Recycling a big plastic or glass one isn’t a bad idea, but keep in mind that glass is breakable. Plastic ones with lids are really good, because you can kick them without breaking them (not that I’ve ever kicked a cuss jar, I’m just sayin’).
- You can ignore 99% of what the color commentors say on baseball broadcasts, because it’s mostly gibberish, and the 1% that you don’t ignore is advertisement stuff or shameless self-promotion. The play-by-play guys are different, though. Some of them are good, some are great, and then there is Vin Scully. If you don’t like Vin Scully, then you probably don’t like Vegas buffets, classic cars, comped hotel rooms, and first class airline tickets.
- It’s perfectly fine to yell at an umpire. It’s never fine to berate them or denigrate them. They are human beings. They just happen to be human beings who made really poor career choices. So be it. Make comments about their impaired vision. Request that they consider watching the same game that you are. Stay away from ALL comments about race, sexual orientation, appearance, and any possible violations of any legal statutes. Never mention farm animals. Keep it classy, folks.
- Baseball is a game. It’s not a matter of life or death. The players are typically the best at what they do (except for maybe Felipe Lopez), and they are highly compensated as a function of the financial reality that is the baseball business and its corresponding marketplace. That still doesn’t put players on par with research physicians, first responders, military personnel, and aid workers in 3rd world countries in my opinion. Baseball isn’t war, a burning building, a region without clean drinking water, or a lab full of anthrax. Perspective is a good thing. The world would function just fine without baseball. The others? Not so much.
- Always keep in mind that there are kids around you at baseball games. The basic rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want put on YouTube for your co-workers and family members to see over and over again.
- Feel free to create a sign and take it to a baseball game. Go ahead and hold that sign up like a dork and try to get yourself on camera. Just don’t obstruct anybody else’s view of the game while you are trying to get your 1.5 seconds of fame.
- Tip the freakin’ vendors who lug those heavy freakin’ bins full of perishable goods around the stadium for 7+ innings. Those people walk up and down the stairs for hours trying to keep you well-fed and hydrated. Yes, the stuff they sell is overpriced. They don’t set the price of the peanuts, but many of them do work for practically “peanuts”. Many of them work two jobs, because the vending job is seasonal and infrequent at best. I’ve seen people buy a round of beers for their friends and drop a $1 tip on the vendor. I’ve made good on the tip myself, because when you see something wrong and have the ability to correct it, I believe that you have the responsibility to correct it as well. Make it right. ManFridge has a soapbox attachment for real.
- Avoid the burning desire to correct people who say “foul pole”. People have called the “fair pole” the “foul pole” for years, and it hasn’t resulted in global warming or polarity inversion as of yet. Relax.
- If you bother to take a baseball glove to a game, try to remember to use it. Also, make sure that it actually fits on your hand. There’s nothing worse than watching some old guy re-enact the O.J. Simpson “glove too small” courtroom scene in the stands while his kid stares at him completely mortified.
- Remove you’re freakin’ head apparel during the National Anthem. Take off the hat, cap, ski mask, skull cap, bonnet, football helmet, trilby, or stretched out hosiery you just used while robbing a 7-11. That applies to everybody. Take off the freakin’ headwear. I mean it. Only people who have some sort of medically necessary headgear are exempt.
- If a baseball or bat goes flying into the stands, you have an obligation to catch the moving object as long as you are NOT affecting the outcome of the game. It’s more important than the beer you are holding in your hand. Safety is priority one. Beer is a close second. If you can combine the two and still catch the flying object, then you’ll probably be on ESPN that night. Congrats.
- In case you have forgotten this since last season, most of us cannot hit a Roy Halladay or Justin Verlander pitch with any consistency at all. A very select group of special individuals tend to forget this after they reach some unspecified level of alcohol intake. It’s uncool. Yes, you did play in a Little League All-Star game about 20 years ago and hit a double that was really a 2-base throwing error. No, you have no real chance of hitting a big league fastball. You might get hit BY a big league fastball, though. That’s not exactly the same thing. Sit your drunk butt down and shut up, drinky guy.
- Limit your baseball stat quotes during games unless you are actually seated behind a microphone and have a press pass. Maybe you really do care about Matt Holliday‘s BABip for the past 3 seasons, but the odds are rather slim that the guy dressed up as Ed Hochuli seated next to you shares your passion.
- When attending games, please figure out the “shared armrest configuration” as quickly as possible. If you are seated at the end of the row, you do not ever get to claim the interior side armrest, unless the seat next to you is vacant. If the people on the ends of the row start by leaning on the exterior side armrests, then all will be well. It’s that simple. This isn’t rocket surgery, people.
TIDBIT: I’ll be adding more to this last throughout the day. Feel free to suggest some ideas yourself.
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