As a displaced baseball fan, you run into this problem sooner rather than later: going to a ballgame in which your favorite team is not playing. So what do you do when that happens? How does one conduct themselves, especially if one lives in a foreign town, like Atlanta as I do? Fear not baseball-monk readers, as I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for your behavior at said games, whether in Boston, Atlanta, DC, San Diego, LA, or any other city you may live in. (Note: I use the Braves as my example, feel free to substitute your own team.)
Rule 1: You must ALWAYS cheer for the Giants when they come to town. No exceptions.
Rule 2: You must ALWAYS boo the Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels. (I refuse to call them by any other name.) The Dodgers should be clear. The Angels because through their shenanigans and tomfoolery, they managed to get the 2002 World Series cancelled after they realized the Giants would sweep them.
Rule 3: You may wear a modest amount of Braves team apparel. A hat is appropriate, as is a t-shirt, sweater, etc. Wearing a combination of apparel is appropriate in moderation. For example: A hat/t-shirt combo is fine. A jersey under a jacket with a hat while wearing your Braves sweat bands and track pants would be considered excessive, and unfaithful to your home team.
Rule 4: You are allowed to participate in various home town activities, such as betting on the Milwaukee sausage race during the 5th inning, or doing the Atlanta tomahawk chop as long as you do not do so in an excessive manner.
Rule 5: You may vote for Braves players to be represented in the All-Star game, but ONLY if your favorite team’s option is injured with no chance to play. Even then, you need to think long and hard about possible write-in options before punching out the box of your next choice.
Rule 6: If both the Braves and the Giants make the playoffs, there is NO excuse for missing the Giants game on TV, even if you manage to score sweet, free tickets to see the Braves. The only exception to this is if you plan on sabotaging the Braves in order to set up a more favorable matchup for the Giants in the next round.
Rule 7: Sabotaging your new hometown team is forbidden in all other circumstances.
Rule 8: If a player that you despise is signed by the Braves, you may, in moderation, boo said player, even if you are given evil stares by the fans around you. (For example, if Shane Victorino signed with the Braves, I would be obligated to make signs and say unflattering things to him, while still appreciating the team as a whole. It’s a balancing act.)
Rule 9: Enjoy yourself, but do not make a fool of yourself. Remember, you represent the Giants and you don’t want to give others a bad impression about us. Unless you’re a Yankee fan, in which case it’s impossible to make anything BUT a bad impression on others.
Rule 10: If your favorite team does not make, or is knocked out of the playoffs, you may cheer for your new hometown team to win the World Series, but only by making it clear to friends and co-workers that your favorite team would have totally kicked your new team’s butt if they were both still playing.
Stick to these 10 simple rules and you’ll easily be able to enjoy baseball in person wherever you live!