This requires a bit of set up. I'm ordinarily an overly respectful kind of person, and pretty much hate making a spectacle of myself. I tend to cringe at heckling, and even wince a bit at the "SIRM" kind of chatter that goes on online here. (There, I have said it . . . recognize that my credibility is permanently affixed at zero.I just never saw Russell Martin as that hateable. A.J. Pierzynski on the other hand . . . ) I'm just not a big boo-er in general.
That having been said, there are a few things that just flip my switch. I'm not sure I can synthesize what kinds of things they are, exactly . . . but I think the fairest summary is that they are things that are just aggressively and deliberately unintelligent. To pick on some Giants, those things would include
- Pedro Feliz hacking at balls in the dirt in the LHB batting box with two strikes. It felt to me like he knew better but just couldn't stand the possibility that he get called out looking. So hack hack hack. Don't know why, but I always gave Juan Uribe a pass on this.
- Felix Rodriguez insisting on pouring in fastballs again and again and again, stubbornly insistent that eventually one would get by the batter.
- Zito (seemingly) refusing to throw strikes early in the count. I know, this one is probably more about $18MM a year than Zito's intelligence. . . . but then maybe it was about management's intelligence in the signing. But c'mon, there was no way that Zito's performance should have been anywhere near as bad as it has been, right? He must have the talent to be a passable fourth starter?
- To pick a non-baseball example, I once terribly embarrassed my son by standing and booing loudly, for a good minute or so, at the end of the movie Eagle Eye. Couldn't believe I'd wasted two-hours watching such an aggressively stupid movie.
But for the most part, residents of Section 112 lower box don't normally need to be worried that I'm going to disturb their enjoyment of the game by making a lot of unpleasant noise in my season seats.
But then there's The Wave. It's fortunately infrequent. But when it happens, I just lose it. Well, not foaming at the mouth or anything. But I pretty loudly will boo The Wave. Happened most recently in the 9th inning of Saturday's game, as Penny struggled to close it out. It seemed to start up on the Club Deck (elitist non-baseball fans!) and fortunately didn't really last that long. But I did my boo thing. A guy sitting in front of me, with his seven- or eight-year-old daughter, gave me the evil eye and made some negative comments. Now, I in no way used profanity . . . other than noting that "the Wave is a Dodger thing." But he looked pretty bent out of shape. And so I wonder . . . what's the right way to respond to bad behavior such as The Wave?
I suppose I should explain why I hate it so much. I'm a firm adherent to the old Veeck adage about "if you have to rely on the true baseball fan, you'll be out of business by Mothers' Day." So I have no objection to game-day diversions that are non-baseball related that do not detract from the other fans' enjoyment of the game. Dot racing, cable-car racing, between inning contests, Lou Seal (if he's not blocking anybody's view) . . . it's all fine by me. But The Wave (and to a lesser extent, beachball bouncing) not only shows a disdain for what is going on on the field, but interferes with other fans' ability to follow what is going on on the field.
Am I wrong here? What's the right response?