A Guide to Sitting Next to Me at a Baseball Game

When I go to a baseball game I like to get there right as the gates open so I can beat the lines for the parking, the gate, the concessions and maybe the bathroom. Then I get to enjoy the king of all nostalgic, meditative novelties: batting practice. This part of the baseball day is peaceful and sunny and joyous.

The problems start when all the other people show up.

In general, other people are some of my least favorite people, no matter the setting. But from the moment they invade my temperate baseball zone with their awful garbage to the minute I get into my car, where I can freely talk shit about them, I can imagine no being worse.

I have long despaired about this, but then I realized: there is simply no literature available regarding how to comport oneself in my presence at a baseball game. I am here today to solve that problem.

A Guide to Sitting Next to Me at a Baseball Game

 

Lesson 1: Sitting Next to, or In Front of Me

Don’t be huge vertically. Don’t be huge horizontally. That’s basic.

But also don’t do anything to make yourself effectively larger than you are. That means stop shifting side to side. I want to watch the flight of the ball from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s glove without having to bob and weave with a human slalom goal. I’ll gladly lance your hemorrhoid with a peanut shell between innings if it helps you sit still like a big boy.

Also, if you’re sitting next to me, under no circumstance should you ever touch me. There is a buffer! The buffer is the only thing that separates us from the animals. Respect the buffer or move down a species.

And don’t take advantage of the fact that I am a decent human being and will actually attempt to honor the buffer, regardless of how unreasonable your behavior becomes. Stop thinking of claiming the arm rest and a third of my leg room as a victory for your comfort and realize it’s an act of terrorism, you insane pig.

Most importantly, unless there is an exciting play on the field, or you have to let someone by, don’t stand up during play. Since it’s clear you have no idea where you are, let me remind you. It’s called a stadium. One definition of the word “stadium” is:

A place where there are a bunch of people trying to see something. 

You’re blocking someone who is intensely passionate about how exciting and beautiful and infinite this game is and in so doing, your are robbing them of a moment of unusually pure joy, just so you can see if the churro guy is coming this way.

Standing up during play is the pinnacle of being self unaware. How did you even survive to the age of 36 if you’re this oblivious. How did you convince someone to marry you? How do you have kids? How have they survived under your supervision? Evolution is drunk.

Lesson 2: If You Decide to Talk Baseball

Don’t.

In other words: “do not.”

I know more about baseball than you know about your own life. You know how I estimated that? Because you chose to wear sandals to a baseball game and then spilled someone else’s beer on your bare feet. Yeah… that’s where you are.

I know that being at a baseball game makes you excited about baseball, and that’s good. But let’s clear some things up.

No, they shouldn’t try to bunt him from second to third. You know why (besides the fact that bunting is for old people)… because there’s one out already. That means they’d have to get a two out base hit to score him. But he’d score on a base hit from where he is already, and two shots at a base hit is twice as good as one. Plus the pitcher is up next.

And no, Huston Street didn’t get traded because the owner is cheap. He’s the best reliever in baseball by WPA (see how you don’t even know what that is?) and the Padres have no chance of competing for a playoff spot while he’s under contract. That means he is useless to them, so they got a package of prospects that one day could be a part of a winner. I know, having more than a one step plan for winning the World Series makes your boner soften.

And no, ticket prices aren’t higher because they have to pay the players more. In fact, player salaries represented a much larger share of total revenue in 2002 than they do now. Down to 40% from 56%.

No, they shouldn’t trade for Ryan Howard! He is not a good hitter. He is not a good fielder. He is not a good baserunner. That’s… all of the things, and yeah he’s bad at them. How is it possible that you can still even speak intelligibly after being in the coma for four years?

In the even that you just can’t keep your sewer janitor mouth away from your baseball thoughts, admit that you don’t know what you’re talking about and try asking questions. That I would support. In fact, I would love to provide some answers.

Lesson 3: If A Ball is Hit in the Air

It happens multiple times every game. Someone on the home team loops a pop-up to short and half the stadium shoots up to their feet screaming “go, ball! Get out!”

I know you’re all freaked out on Bud Light and nitrites, and I know that your hope for a homer has a massive upper hand against your minimal grasp on reality in this situation so I’m not baffled. Let’s face it, if there is one thing I understand, it’s your failures. But the thing that gets me so incensed about this phenomena is the total lack of accountability afterward.

Let’s try something new. After you embarrass yourself, acknowledge how stupid what you just did was. And by all means, feel free to estimate the distance between the fence and where the ball landed. Something like this should suffice:

“God, I am a moron. Look where that landed. How could I have possibly thought that would be a homerun? I mean, I should be able to tell when a ball is about to travel 300 feet shorter than the fence shouldn’t I? I’m gonna try to figure out how to improve myself in this respect.”

Lesson 4: If You’re Not Into Baseball

You paid to be here. You bought a hat. You left work a little early. You rushed here through traffic on a week night. There are people performing nearly impossible feats in front of you. All of that adds up to me assuming you’re interested in baseball. And yet, you’re clearly not.

The loudest you cheered was during the condiment races. Then you booed a guy for knocking the beach ball down to the level below ours while, during the 7th inning of a one run game, the visiting team walked the bases loaded.

Is Major League Baseball just the stuff that happens between scoreboard games and your turn to do the wave? Is the hat shuffle so entertaining to you that you are willing to put up with an extraordinary amount of peripheral bullshit just to experience it? If so, tell me more about your head trauma while I escort you out of the stadium.

(For an extended diatribe about the rise of distractions at baseball stadiums, go here.)

Lesson 5: If You Are Somehow Decent

If you are a piece of rat shit, I will forget you in 48 hours, but if you somehow emerged from this miserable world a courteous human being that can manage to make my experience at the ballpark feel more communal, you will earn a plaque in my emotional hall of fame.

I once sat behind 5 guys who were really knowledgable and clear thinking about the Padres. They were making references to Archi Cianfrocco and having informed discussions about the trajectory of the club. It was so refreshing. They sat down the whole game, too. That was 4 years ago and I still think of them all the time.

I know you’re out there, unicorns. I hope I see you soon.

[RA ROWE]

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About ra_rowe

A long suffering Padres fan who grew up in San Diego, and moved to Pasadena, Rowe works as a Junior Product Manager and writes poetry in addition to knowing everything about baseball.

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