Baseball’s opening day is almost upon us and the season begins with your Texas Rangers hosting the Chicago Cubs on March 28th. Yes I know that it technically begins a week earlier with the Mariners and A’s playing two games in Japan but MLB is referring to that as the “Opening Series” and not “Opening Day”.
Whether or not you’ve been to a game before at Globe Life Park or this season will be your first time there are several “unwritten” rules that fans must abide by. Or at least try. I spoke to a few fans and came up with the following list:
1 Always stand and remove your hat for the National Anthem. Even if you’re on an escalator at the time. The only exception is if you are heading to your seat while both hands are full of drinks and food. However, if you happen to be a Jedi then use the force to make your cap levitate above your head.
2 Never come to the park wearing the jersey of a former player who is still playing but for a different team. So no wearing of Cole Hamels or Jurickson Profar jerseys or shirts this season. Treat yourself to something new. Once they have retired, or come back to Texas, then feel free. On a side note: if you’re going to wear the jersey of a former player then at least make it someone decent. I once went to a game where a guy wore an authentic John Rocker jersey. Think about that. The guy actually went and spent money on a John Rocker jersey.
3 Be aware of your surroundings. I once went to a game with a friend who loved to use every swear word in the book when something bad happened. I kept having to nudge him and point out the kids sitting near by. He would get embarrassed but would proceed to do it again and shake his head when he realized what he had done.
4 If you are an adult and catch a foul ball you should give it to the nearest kid. They are going to appreciate it way more than you ever will. It’s almost like Christmas for them especially when you see the expression on their face. Plus, if you are with a significant other it may tug a little at their heart strings. And if you are a grown man don’t bring a glove to the game. Catching a ball with your hands, in your cup of beer, or in your cap looks so much cooler and almost guarantees a replay on television.
5 Quit throwing back opponents’ home run balls. That is a Wrigley Field tradition that began decades ago and now other ballparks do it. By doing that you may miss out on something. Let’s say Giancarlo Stanton hit his 300th homer and you caught it and decided to throw it back. Congratulations, you just missed out an opportunity for some cool swag. Had you held on to it an official may have come with an autographed bat or something else to exchange with you.
6 DO NOT DO THE WAVE. There is nothing more annoying than watching a game where Texas is down by one run, has two runners on base, two outs, and someone decides to start the wave. Do you not realize what’s happening in front of you? Even the great Chuck Morgan will post on the Jumbotron that the ballpark is a “No-Wave Zone.” I had a girlfriend who told me, that despite my stance, if we had kids she would teach them the wave. Please note I said that I “had” a girlfriend.
7 Stay off your phones. Yes, it’s okay to check in on Facebook that you are at the game to brag with your friends. But you are at a live baseball game. Soak it in. Have fun. Plus if you are in the lower seats and are too busy with Facebook and Twitter you are more likely to get smacked in the face with a foul ball. That will probably also get you on television, but for the wrong reason.
8 Learn the Cotton-Eyed Joe dance. And know the words to the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.
9 This final one is not so much a rule as it is a suggestion. If you are attending your first game this season don’t be enticed by all of the specialty foods. You have to have a hot dog and/or nachos.
Well I hope this helps you this season with your experience when attending a game. Have fun and GO RANGERS! Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats.
James Holland is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. You can follow him on Twitter @JamesHollandTX
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