This entry will make us sound as old as dirt and even less in touch with current attitudes. But here goes anyway (just think of us as the parents you never had).
Baseball has its own etiquette. No, not Miss Manners, or Emily Post (for those of you old enough to remember Em). But they all have something in common: politeness. Common sense and some common politeness can go a long way towards an enjoyable game. (Ok, our age is really showing here, we know.)
First, don’t swear; this is a family affair and younger children really don’t need to hear adults shouting obscenities that parents will have to explain later. Even if it’s becoming more common to use profane words in public (particularly the “f” bomb), there’s a time and place for everything and the ballpark is neither the time nor the place.
Second, don’t fight a kid for a foul ball. Let the kid have it. Don’t you remember being young and the excitement of diving after that dinger up in the peanut gallery? Besides, do you really want to be that adult on the jumbotron making a kid cry? What would your mother say?
Next, if you have to leave your seat at any time, wait for a break in the action, like the end of an inning or the switch of the batters. It is completely rude to block other people’s view of the action. The same goes for when you return. Wait at the top of the steps until there is a break, then make your way back to your seat. A related pet peeve of ours is people cutting in front of us when we’re trying to watch the game. At one park we attended, this happened continuously through the game, no less by the players who were not playing that evening! Of all people who should have known better. (We’ll discuss this incident later.) We also just saw this happen to some other people at a game in Rochester. The photographer crossed in front of the first seat of fans just to climb over a wall into the field egress area. If you’re going to block someone’s view of the game, make sure there isn’t any action happening on the field.
Then there are the incessant conversationalists who don’t know when to stop talking. A certain amount of conversation is expected during a game. It’s not church (although some people may say it is a religion), but a non-stop chat-fest is so annoying that we have actually taken notes on what was being said in order to write about it later (which you’ll see in subsequent chapters). And standing in the aisles talking isn’t any better. One, you’re blocking people’s view of the game and second, nobody wants to hear the 45 minute description of how your prostate surgery went.
Cheering and jeering can also lead us down an impolite path. We want to support the team, give them encouragement and cheers are our natural response to a good play. However, our enthusiasm can turn to jeers, the ugly side of cheers. The players and the umpires are taught to ignore these jibes from the stands (or their own dugouts!), but it can become annoying for people to listen to those with such a negative attitude. Just remember others are trying to enjoy the game and the jeering (or even incessant cheering) can really interfere with that enjoyment.
Rain is another chance at being polite. Of course, nobody wants to get wet (unless it’s Dallas in August when we’re all dying of heat exhaustion). So what do we ordinarily do when it rains? Use an umbrella! And if the game hasn’t been called yet, nobody can see around the umbrella! Instead, bring a rain poncho, which actually can cover much more of you much better. Or make sure that nobody is sitting behind you for several rows before that umbrella goes up. In actuality, some ball parks do not allow umbrellas, so it’s better to be prepared with other cover-ups just in case.
Other small polite actions to think about include making sure you don’t take over the cupholder of the person sitting next to you and putting your empty food trash under someone else’s seat.
All of these aspects of etiquette are simply common sense politeness. If we take a moment and think about how we should respect others and their property, we’ll know how to act appropriately.