Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When to Wave

I was at Fenway last Saturday, while the wave made its way around the park. As usual, the fan police took to twitter to voice their disgust at the activity. Most of the opinions could be summed up with the tweet “Wave making its way around Fenway during crucial at-bat in seventh. Damn pink hats.”

There are a few parts of this opinion that I need to question.

The most obvious flaw is the mention of the “pink hats.” Of course, the wave tradition predated the “pink hat” era by many years. The easiest way to tell is the fact that the wave still skips the Monster Seats. Passes them right over like they’re not even there. Obviously, these are longtime Fenway patrons who have been doing the wave since before the seats were added when you would skip the portion of the park that was just screen. But, I assume, everyone knows that they’ve been doing the wave for years. Just like the singing of Sweet Caroline, people seem to want to blame the “pink hats” for anything at the park. I’m not really sure why.

It’s the “important at-bat” portion that gets me. In this case, the wave actually started during the pitching change before the at-bat, and petered out as the at-bat got underway. But, even if that wasn’t the case…does the importance of the at-bat matter?

What are fans supposed to do during a big at-bat? Should they sit on their hands? Should they make some noise? I was pretty sure they were supposed to get into the game and cheer on their team. Isn’t the wave the crowd getting loud? Don’t “real” Sox fans always complain about other cities not knowing when to cheer unless the scoreboard telling them to? Shouldn’t they love the fact that fans have taken it upon themselves to cheer for the team?

Is it the organization of it? Are you just supposed to clap your hands? Can you clap your hands in the air? Can you yell? What if you yell “Let’s go Red Sox” while you clap? Is that OK? What if the whole section yells it and claps in unison? Is that OK? What if you’re cheering “Where is Roger?” or “Just Say No!” or “Manny’s Hitless!” instead of “Let’s go Red Sox!”? Is that OK? Those were pretty organized cheers that I remember doing during important games. Seemed to be OK. So, where is the line?

Now, I’ll give you that the people who actually start the wave are fools. Nothing looks worse that the loud guy who stands at the front of the section yelling, “Let’s do the wave!” Or the girls bouncing up and down hoping to get your attention. But, it’s worth noting, that these people are just fans. (I assume) It’s not Wally getting out there with a “wave now!” flag running along the stands. Again, just like Sweet Caroline, this isn’t some team manufactured tradition. It’s something that the fans take it upon themselves to do. Like hanging K’s or yelling chants. It’s the fans taking it upon themselves to get loud in support of the team on the field.

Where’s the problem?

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