That was one of my mother's instructive expressions that seems to ring especially true at sporting events these days. And especially among teenagers and 20-somethings. Instead of screening for illicit weapons and smuggled food, I suggest we screen for basic baseball intelligence!
Traveling to New Mexico for the first time, I had to see a 'Topes game. I love baseball and have become quite fond of the minor league variety. So here I sat, four rows behind home plate -- that $15 seat would cost $900 at Yankee Stadium -- ready to luxuriate in the bird's eye view of pitcher and batter. A hour earlier I enjoyed a surprisingly good cheeseburger (fresh lettuce and tomato and discernible cheese slices!) with some ultra caloric green chili fries. Life is good.
Until the idiots settled in behind me, that is. One lout, clearly overrating his comic abilities, engaged his acolytes with loud banter laced with moronic double entendres and a constant stream of not very clever insults directed at players and a chubby bat boy. Not an ounce of nuanced understanding of the game passed through his lips. His running commentary, driven to even more puerile depths by a steady infusion of beer, became so unpleasant that the fan sitting next to me left to complain. An usher issued a warning to Mr. Comedy (who averred that baseball games are about hurling insults.) He continued his oh-so- not-so clever chatter until game's end.
Arriving in the third or fourth inning, another groups of young "fans" demonstrated even less interest in the game than Mr. Comedy. Their commentary centered solely on the party scene in ABQ and how often they were asked to leave certain local establishments. Oh, I take that back: one guy claimed to be a Matt Kemp fan -- Matt was on a rehab stint with the Isotopes -- but seemed incapable of identifying Matt or the fact that once Matt was replaced defensively in the fourth that he wasn't coming to bat anymore.
And then there was the goofball sitting a few rows back who kept yelling things like "watch out for the four seamer" and "look out for the change up" at the hometown batters. I am quite sure this dummy had no idea what a four seamer is -- and shouting this drivel at a batter offers no help whatsoever.
Until baseball installs a fan IQ test, we will have to live with today's generation of "fan" who knows nothing about the game, its history, or its strategies and tactics. Baseball is just another excuse to down beers and show off in front of their peers.
But let me say how much I enjoyed the game itself. Parking was easy, the food was good and reasonably priced, the ballpark was attractive and immaculate, and placing Simpsons characters around the stadium (in homage to Homer who coined the Albuquerque Isotopes name) was fun. Although I could do without the between innings entertainment, I do accept that it is part of the "family friendly" marketing of minor league baseball. Oh, yea, the 'Topes lost, giving up seven runs in the top of the ninth and blowing a three run lead. It is minor league baseball!
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