February 16, 2004

Our buddy worldcup2002 (or the much daintier wc2k2) has decided he might be interested in following baseball this season. What advice can we give this man to make his first season as a diamond nut a more enjoyable one? Please follow the numbering system listed inside. I want to see how many we get.

posted by wfrazerjr to navel gazing at 06:08 PM - 53 comments

1) Always buy the smaller beer at the ballpark. The big ones get warm if you drink at a normal pace. If you try to speed up, you're in the can every inning. 2) If either Tim McCarver or Joe Morgan is involved as a color analyst on a televised game, try to find a radio feed. 3) If it came out of Bud Selig's mouth, doubt it. 4) Ditto for the MLB Player's Association. 5) If the team is based in New York, they automatically suck.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:11 PM on February 16, 2004

6) Buy the cheap seats. The common folks make for a better party.

posted by dusted at 06:27 PM on February 16, 2004

7) Sneak in peanuts to the game. Much cheaper. 8) Don't take baseball too serious.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:40 PM on February 16, 2004

9) Do not be afraid to heckle a bit. They're big boys, they can take it. 10) Do not try to take a hat off a player. Big mistake.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:45 PM on February 16, 2004

11) Remember, when soccer and baseball games are on at the same time, watch the soccer.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:27 PM on February 16, 2004

12) Sneak a mickey into the game, and buy the big soda.

posted by garfield at 09:58 PM on February 16, 2004

13) "This is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. You got it?" [wav file]

posted by jeffmshaw at 10:03 PM on February 16, 2004


posted by pivo at 10:21 PM on February 16, 2004

14) Watch Bull Durham and Field of Dreams now. 15) Go to a minor-league game, if you can, with a bunch of friends and a cooler. The lower-level (bonus points for sub-single A) the better. 16) Go to all games with friends. The game is best appreciated as a gentle, entertaining background to cheerful, fun conversation with friends. 17) If there is any way at all that you can, catch a weekend afternoon game in Fenway. The vast amounts of green are like a small-slice of mid-dirty-city heaven. 18) Sadly, don't cheer for a small-market team if you can avoid it. At the beginning of the season, you'll have no hope, and at the end of the season, there won't even be avoiding relegation to keep things interesting.

posted by tieguy at 10:28 PM on February 16, 2004

If you go see a Cubs game in Wrigley Field, sit in the bleachers. Apparently it's the stuff of legend, but I wouldn't know since I can't remember any games after sitting out there. If you can remember the game after sitting in the bleachers, you didn't do it right. The only thing that I really remember from sitting in the bleachers was letting Andy van Slyke know that his wife is a dyke. *shrug* Also, if the opposing team hits a home run and you catch it, you better throw that ball back. And I mean now. Of course, if you don't drink, sit elsewhere. I suggest behind one of the dugouts. Preferrably the visitors dugout as you get to hear some pretty amazing heckling of the opponent's relief pitchers as they try to warm up.

posted by NoMich at 11:09 PM on February 16, 2004

19) Watch "The Natural". It has the BEST sappy ending to a sports movie, ever. And you'll NEVER get rid of that theme song from your subconscious. EVER! You'll hum it to yourself when you do mundane tasks to make them seem more important. Trust me on this one... 20) My personal Hot Now, Hot 15 Minutes Ago, Not Hot list: Hot: Toronto Blue Jays (best of the underdogs in the AL-East) 15 Min Ago: Boston Red Sox (classic loveable losers, but they went and got Schilling and Foulke, removing the "losers" tag) Not: New York Yankees (unless you live in NY, NOONE cheers for the big bad Yankees (like ManU)) Hot: Ted Williams' career (great numbers plus a war veteran) 15 Min Ago: Babe Ruth's career (great numbers plus carousing) Not: Ty Cobb (great numbers plus embodiment of pure evil) Hot: the shift (moving players on the field to counteract a batters extreme pull-hitting nature) 15 Min Ago: hidden ball trick (pitcher pretends he has it, and when runner takes a lead-off, the closest fielder (who does have the ball) tags him out...while it's been done 200 times, it hasn't been done in almost 5 years) Not: double switch (elaborate name for taking a pitcher and fielder out of the game simultaneously and putting their replacements in reverse order, thereby having the pitcher bat later in the upcoming lineup...highly overrated maneuver that some managers STILL can't get right) Hot: Retrosheet (the source for information about almost every game played in MLB history, plus lots of other quirky things) 15 Min Ago: Baseball Reference (the source for almost every baseball stat available) Not: Rototimes (barely anything of use except reprinted news reports) Hot: the triple (guaranteed excitement as it involves lots of running for the batter and fielders, a long throw, and usually a close play) 15 Min Ago: the home run (it used to be exciting, but now everyone is doing it..only when a monsterous blast occurs does it thrill people now) Not: the intentional walk (it means a good hitter has had his chance taken away from him, and the fans have had to watch the dull affair of four wide pitches in a row while he just stands there)

posted by grum@work at 12:33 AM on February 17, 2004

21) Read Box scores...read the game summary if you must, but learn to read the box scores. 22) Learn to keep score...great way to learn the game while watching one. 23) The only person at ESPN under the MLB portion of the site who has a clue is Rob Neyer. 24) Revel in the local broadcast team's (radio or TV) "homerness". (Corollary: Despise the "homer" broadcaster in a Nationally broadcast game. See also: McCarver, Tim) 25) Whenever possible listen to the radio broadcast. 9 times in 10, it is much better than the TV team.

posted by pivo at 03:55 AM on February 17, 2004

26) If you can find it, see Kirk Gibson's 1988 WS home run at bat (whole bottom of the 9th inning even better). "In a year that has seen the improbable, the impossible has happened..." - Vin Scully

posted by pivo at 04:25 AM on February 17, 2004

(by the way, the Kirk Gibson 1988 World Series home run is the living embodiment of "The Natural" ending...)

posted by grum@work at 07:04 AM on February 17, 2004

27) Let's go Mo! err wait... never mind.

posted by corpse at 08:13 AM on February 17, 2004

28) Don't take your eyes off the field just because the ball isn't moving. This is when all the shit is happening. When the ball is not moving, watch the thrid-base coach giving signs, watch the infielders and outfielders positioning themselves, watch the catcher giving signs, watch the batter try to sneak a peek at the catcher's set-up position, watch the SS and 2B deke baserunners back to the bag, etc. When nothing is going on, that's when everything is going on.

posted by vito90 at 08:24 AM on February 17, 2004

29) Happily, cheer a small-market team. Learn what it's like to be a fan of a perennial loser, a true underdog. Understand how to expect losses and become absolutely ecstatic about the rare win. 30) Pay for seats behind home base, if only once. Watching the pitch come into home, and the movement on it, will give you the utmost reverence for both pitchers and hitters. It's also the best insight into the psychological game.

posted by rocketman at 08:55 AM on February 17, 2004

31) Try boiled peanuts as a snack (may be limited to the south). 32) Don't watch the game from the instadium bars or restaurants that are at many stadiums. It's too much of a social scene and you usually can't see the whole field (see vito90's comment). 33) Try your hand in our fantasy baseball league; it will increase your knowledge of and interest in all the games. (It worked for Hockey with me this year.) 34) Boo the Umpire. 35) Vote for the all-star team early and often.

posted by trox at 09:55 AM on February 17, 2004

36) There's no crying in baseball. 37) You are only allowed to eat certain things at a ball game. Hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, crackerjack, nachos, and beer are acceptable. Sushi, burritos, wraps, anything on a stick, anything made with chicken, and pizza are unacceptable. Sunflower seed and bubble gum are ok.

posted by mbd1 at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2004

38) Arrive early. Batting practice (aka "BP") and infield practice aren't typically exciting, but it's what sets the rest of the country apart from Southern Californians and we'd like to keep it that way. Plus, it's the time to get autographs for yourself or for the kids (should there be any who would want one). 39) Never, ever, under any circurmstances leave early because you think the game is over. I think this is standard in the world of sports, but well... see #38. 40) Get to one of the new parks. Camden Yards in Baltimore, The Jake in Cleveland, SafeCo in Seattle are all worth the trip. Shea Stadium in Queens, NY is not. 41) Learn the words to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and sing as you've never sung before. You are not required to do this before the game, but rather over the course of your baseball lifetime (as we all have). 42) Keep your ticket stub. Just cause. 43) Buy cheap tickets. Move up in the middle innings. Some ushers will be picky, but some won't if your discrete and not a loud-mouth. If you're booted from one seat, worry not, you'll find another and you always have the option of returning to the original. 44) Ignore the PA announcer & the big-screen television (when not directly related to the game) and just watch the game. 45) Don't wee-wee between innings. You can sacrifice and at-bat or two in order to save time. #21 & #22 is a great ones. I read a book about box-scores one time and it was rather good. Too bad I forget the name and author. Sorry.

posted by 86 at 11:24 AM on February 17, 2004

Here's the book. As I recall, it was a good read.

posted by 86 at 11:28 AM on February 17, 2004

46) Learn the obscure rules that come up only several times per season that make the game unique. Dropped third strikes and runners ability to advance, infield fly rule, check swing appeals, balks, tagging on a fly, appeals for early bag departure, local ground rules, etc.

posted by vito90 at 11:49 AM on February 17, 2004

I may have to grab me that one. Thanks 86.

posted by pivo at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2004

Tim McCarver in his "Punk Period"

posted by lilnemo at 12:57 PM on February 17, 2004

47) Visit the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

posted by jasonspaceman at 01:04 PM on February 17, 2004

48) Go watch minor league baseball games. A, AA, AAA, doesn't matter, even if you don't learn the nuances of the game, you can at least have a good time. ESPECIALLY if it's dollar draft night.

posted by corpse at 01:08 PM on February 17, 2004

49) The All Star game is not one dimensional. You've got players who play offense and defense with equal aggressiveness. Also, the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series.

posted by jasonspaceman at 01:16 PM on February 17, 2004

50) After all of these years watching, I still look forward to 'This Week In Baseball' even if Mel Allen isn't still around.

posted by jasonspaceman at 01:22 PM on February 17, 2004

51) Belittle officials, teams, players all you want. They're paid for it. 51a) Never belittle another fan. We're not paid to do this. Let's just all enjoy the game huh? 52) If you're going to embibe at a game, don't overdo it. Baseball is one of the few sports that parents will take their children to. Let's not sour them on the game early. 38) Arrive early. Batting practice (aka "BP") and infield practice aren't typically exciting, but it's what sets the rest of the country apart from Southern Californians and we'd like to keep it that way. Plus, it's the time to get autographs for yourself or for the kids (should there be any who would want one). 39) Never, ever, under any circurmstances leave early because you think the game is over. I think this is standard in the world of sports, but well... see #38. Showing up to games late and leaving games early is not a behavior exclusive to the Southern California area, it happens everywhere and at all events. It just so happens that in some cases more events are televised from LA than the rest of the country. So lets put that fallacy to bed huh? You're starting to sound like McCarver.

posted by lilnemo at 01:29 PM on February 17, 2004

53) Figure out what Youppi is about (and whether or not he is gay) before the Expos are finally removed from Montreal. 54) Ponder Mr Met. He has a baseball for a head. Weirdo.

posted by gspm at 04:18 PM on February 17, 2004

lilnemo, you're correct I'm sure. It was more a joke than anything. Still, no leaving early! And take that McCarver thing back, that ain't right.

posted by 86 at 04:39 PM on February 17, 2004

Okay. :)

posted by lilnemo at 05:16 PM on February 17, 2004

My God, what hath I wrought?

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:03 PM on February 17, 2004

55) Catching a foul ball and giving it to a nearby starry eyed kid is worth the price of admission.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:45 PM on February 17, 2004

56) Grab a ball, a glove, a bat and a few friends and head for the park. Throw, catch and hit the ball. Run the bases too. Start a double-play. Slide to second. (Wear pants!)

posted by qbert72 at 11:01 PM on February 17, 2004

57)Read the boys of summer.

posted by justgary at 01:40 AM on February 18, 2004

55) Catching a foul ball and giving it to a nearby starry eyed kid is worth the price of admission. Worth the price of admission for years actually. I've only caught one foul ball and did just that, and I still think about the look in the little boy's eyes almost everytime I go to the ballpark.

posted by trox at 08:31 AM on February 18, 2004

58) If a foul ball is flying towards you, DROP YOUR BEER, you can get another beer, but not another face.

posted by corpse at 08:37 AM on February 18, 2004

59) If you don't want to watch the game, or don't understand the game, don't go to the game -- that goes for you too ladies. There's nothing more annoying than sitting next to/behind/in front of someone jabbering (loudly) on their cell phone, talking pronouncedly about their lives for hours, or girls giggling with their sewing circle because they don't know or don't care what's going on with the game. This is tantamount to talking in the movie theater. 60) Memo to Guy behind homeplate on your cell phone waving? Everyone thinks you're a tool -- the people behind you in the nosebleed seats, the people at home, probably the players too. Sit down, shut the phone off and watch the game. Don't waste good seats on a game of "I'm at the game. Can you see me now? I'M WAVING, CAN YOU SEE ME!?" Ass. 61) Baseball games are not a good venue for a first date. I've sat next to the most uncomfortable people ever who thought it would be a good idea. She clearly had no idea what was going on and he was attempting to split his attention between her and the game. He was definitely more interested in the latter. Occasionally, she'd pipe up with something insignificant, and he'd patronize her for a second and go back to the field. I almost leaned over and said, "Look, you're a nice girl, but I don't think this is going to work out".

posted by jerseygirl at 09:58 AM on February 18, 2004

Another reason to like baseball 62) The organ, baseball's official instrument.

posted by jasonspaceman at 01:32 PM on February 18, 2004

63) When baseball discourages you, remember it is safer than rugby.

posted by jasonspaceman at 03:34 PM on February 18, 2004

64) Watch Ken Burns' Baseball

posted by goddam at 04:06 PM on February 18, 2004

I don't know jasonspaceman. Would you rather have a finger temporarily up your bum, or be hit in the head by a 95 mile per hour fastball?

posted by NoMich at 04:07 PM on February 18, 2004

65) Baseball books that must be read before the season opener (don't worry, they're quick reads): "Shoeless Joe" "Ball Four" "Veeck, As in Wreck" "Maybe I'll Pitch Forever" "Eight Men Out" "Catcher in the Wry"

posted by NoMich at 04:21 PM on February 18, 2004

Wow, that organ link kicks ass ... I'm putting it on my cell phone! 66) Pick out some guy that isn't a big superstar and just enjoy him for being a professional ballplayer. I've been a big Joe Randa fan for years, just for the sheer pleasure of watching a solid contact hitter and good fielder perform. These fellows are all damned good. Enjoy one that isn't on every billboard in town. 67) Get a jersey. There's something really special about wearing the same uniform as the players. I have a could of game-worns, but of course, my big ass won't fit in them, but I do have a 3X Cards authentic that I love dearly (do not mix with mustard).

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:48 PM on February 18, 2004

68) If a foul ball is flying towards you, hold onto the beer. You'll need it after the ball has hit you in the face.

posted by squealy at 06:20 PM on February 18, 2004

69!) This is awesome advice to a budding fan (ignoring the suggestion one would willingly follow The Joker's career. That dude is creepy): Pick out some guy that isn't a big superstar and just enjoy him for being a professional ballplayer. It's doubly good advice when the team you follow goes in the tank for 5-10 years. I still think of the Red Sox early '90s as The Scott Fletcher Years. Jeff Frye, Rusty Greer, David Eckstein, guys who work walks, scrap for hits, run out grounders, position themselves well defensively . . . they get you through 162 games.

posted by yerfatma at 08:32 PM on February 18, 2004

wow. Maybe _I'll_ try baseball this year too.

posted by forksclovetofu at 10:55 PM on February 18, 2004

70) Managers are very eloquent speakers. Well, some are better than others.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:54 AM on February 19, 2004

Jason.....you can't forget this one.

posted by mbd1 at 09:43 AM on February 19, 2004

71) Anyone, really anyone, with a few extra dollars can own a baseball team. If anything, that is my one of my top dreams ... owning a baseball team.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:23 AM on February 20, 2004

72) A great moment is when your favorite reliever comes out of the bullpen in a flurry of hard rock tunage that tingles your spine. Some players, however, have horrible taste.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:28 AM on February 20, 2004

Phil Nevin: “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth What, no Manilow?

posted by billsaysthis at 03:43 PM on February 20, 2004

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