We all know the tune. We’ve all gotten up and stretched during that space between the top and bottom of the 7th inning. But as long as I’ve been attending baseball games, I seem to have gotten the words wrong. You see, I no longer live in the same town as my team. I’m just a visitor. The proverbial “couch-surfer” of the sports fan community. The unfortunate “out of market” fan. I put on my orange and black, and brave the masses of LA blue to see my starting 9 take the diamond. But the more I’ve attended games as a fan of the visiting team, I’ve realized it’s not ALL bad.
The first out of market Giants game I went to was a few years back at Dodger Stadium. Without thinking, I threw on my throwback Will Clark shirt, and started hiking up the hill towards the entrance. On the way up, I was heckled, laughed at, and shouted at by a number of men in blue. Now, I’m all for a little back and forth with opposing fans, but never in my life have I been asked if I had “some kevlar underneath that filthy shirt”, or if I wanted to “have my face introduced to some Chuck Taylors”. I was getting a bit nervous about my choice in attire for the game.
Once I got into my seat, I started to forget about the far from friendly greetings from the local fans. And I started to have a good time. And here’s why. As an out of market fan, you’re the stand out. The misfit. You showed up to the black tie affair in a tuxedo shirt. But the thing about being the sore thumb is you’re never alone. I was spotted by 3 other Giants fans, and I was instantly part of their crew. They waved over to me, and shouted “Go G-Men!”
Having gone to Giants games in the bay area all my life, I had gotten used to seeing orange everywhere. But as a fan of the visiting team, seeing that orange was a whole new feeling.
Now I’m not saying that I would rather go to a game at Chavez Ravine than AT&T Park. But I am encouraging all you displaced fans to brave the hecklers, pull on that jersey, and go support your home team, even if you’re not at home. You’ll be surprised at the number of friends you’ll make. Just don’t forget to change the words to that song we all know and love during the 7th inning stretch.