In December of last year, I wrote an article detailing 20 different Fan Laws that I felt that all sports fans should adhere to.
In this article, I bemoaned the existence of "fans", people who are eager to be seen at a game by others, and also those who are only there because they feel it is their civic duty to annoy the crap out of everyone who comes near them.
These "fans" do stupid things like throw garbage on the field, treat vendors and other people rudely, and insist on drinking as though suddenly Congress is going to do an about face and re-institute Prohibition.
While these "fans" are all quite annoying, I have come up with a list of 10 different "fans" that you will likely encounter during journeys to your favorite ballparks or arenas. This list is certainly not a be-all-end-all affair, and I'm sure that you will think of many more in the days and years to come when you attend games. So, without further adieu, let us proceed down the road of idiocy.
"Fan" No. 1: The guy who comes in late and requests a "War and Peace" sized rendering of the events that have transpired in his absence
This guy is a nuisance first off because he violates Fan Law No. 13, which states that "real fans arrive before the gates open, and get their business done early." He then compounds the mistake by offering up an explanation as to why he was late.
"Oh, my dog ate the sports section, and then I went to my drawer to get my 1962 replica Chelsea championship ring, and I noticed it was gone. I beat the dog without the ring, and then took him to the vet when he started bleeding from the nose. When they X-rayed him, they found the ring lodged in the lining of his esophagus. That's why I was late."
He then requests a complete recap of the action to that point. Some "fans" then compound this mistake by requesting to see your scorecard to catch up theirs that they bought in a mad rush on the way in. Then they don't know what your symbols mean, and you spend an hour explaining your system like it's a set of hieroglyphics.
My apologies for ranting on this trait. This was largely based on a personal experience at US Cellular Field in Chicago. Except for the beating the dog part. Everything else is true.
"Fan" No. 2: The guy who claps loudly every time a player makes a common play
"Alright! Way to go making that easy dump off pass for a seven yard gain!" This guy also lets out a whistle or two when a team makes a tackle on second and nine, or when a player hits a wide open jumper in the first quarter. He treats every play like it's a masterful display of skill that should be awarded with his approval like he's the freaking emperor in ancient Rome.
"Fan" No. 3: The guy who insists on booing every bad call made or egregious error that his team commits
Here's the Al Bundy of the group. He was "All-City" in football when he was in high school, and he could throw a deep ball that could rival John Elway in his prime. At least according to him.
That's what gives him his license to heckle every time a fielder muffs a ground ball, or a receiver drops a pass that is thrown behind him. He gets so aggravated with these "dumb errors" that he shouts at the top of his lungs from the bleachers, even though the offending party is about 220 feet away and likely couldn't hear him even with one of those nifty hearing devices that are advertised on late night TV.
"Fan" No. 4: The guy who gives nicknames to every player and shouts them repeatedly in an effort at endearment
This may just be a Chicago thing, but every time I go to a game, I hear somebody yell something like the following:
"C'mon Geo! Sock the crap out of that ball and tie this game up!"
The player referred to in this example is Geovanny Soto. I've also heard stuff like "Sharpie" (Patrick Sharp), "JD" (Jermaine Dye), and "Kreutzy" (Olin Kreutz). These names are not original, and they start to grate on the nerves after they are shouted for the fourteenth time in the same quarter.
"Fan" No. 5: The guy who constantly badgers the ball boy for a baseball for his kid
I was watching a replay of a Giants-D'Backs game at some point last year, and I noticed something really irritating. There were at least three foul balls lined down the left field line, and every time the kid in the goofy glasses and too tight uniform would bend down and field the ball, some irate dad was holding his son over the railing like some mad reincarnation of Michael Jackson and yelling for the ball.
Now, I understand that you want your kid to have a souvenir from the game. What I have a problem with was the absolute expression of "he's entitled" that this dad had about his son, who looked extremely uncomfortable with the arrangement. I wouldn't doubt that this dad is the same guy who sends his kid up to players with slips of paper when he spots an athlete at a restaurant, and swipes the paper when the kid wants to play Yu-Gi-Oh.
"Fan" No. 6: The guy at golf events who shouts one of the two most irritating phrases in the sport
When Tiger Woods burst onto the PGA Tour, he brought with him a legion of new fans. They would constantly reaffirm his status as "the man", and rooted for his shots to "get in the hole."
Now, this once original and fun past-time has quickly become the most idiotic display of non-creativity since the invention of "Sportscenter is Next" signs.
Every time I hear a "fan" yell "you da man!" or "get in the hole" on drives, it makes me want to wrap a four iron around the offending patron's neck. This guy should be beaten with the "Quiet Please" sign and left for dead behind the 10th green.
"Fan" No. 7: The guy who thinks it's fun to bring prohibited items into a sporting event, and use them repeatedly
My two most glaring examples of this chunk of stupidity are the whistle and the laser pointer.
I can recall several incidents where some idiot in the stands of a sporting event blew a whistle, and play on the court stopped because players thought the play was dead. This knucklehead probably thinks they're the Lewis Black of sports fandom, and in reality he costs real fans enjoyment of an on-going play.
Also, I have been blinded by some idiot with a red laser pointer who thinks that the little red dot is a beacon of hilarity. If I ever saw a guy in my proximity shining this on others, I would take the thing and burn out his retina with it. Prison be damned, it would be done!
"Fan" No. 8: The guy who sucks up to superstars for their autographs/time, then rips the hell out of them when they are up to bat or on the field
I had this experience at a Cactus League game in Mesa, Arizona between the Cubs and Rangers a few years back. Sammy Sosa, at that time a member of the Rangers, took the time before the game to sign autographs for fans. I myself didn't want his autograph, on ethical grounds, but a lot of people did, and I admired Sosa for taking the time to do this.
This admiration turned to unabashed anger when the very fans who wanted his illegible signature on baseballs and Cubs jerseys booed the hell out of him when he stepped to the plate. One fan even yelled "you ruined this team Sosa!" l wouldn't have been surprised if the Sosa signature on the back of his jersey hadn't branded him in a painful and hilarious display of irony, but it didn't happen unfortunately.
"Fan" No. 9: The guy who insists on buying tickets in close proximity to the plate, then brings his young children to the game
I hate the idea of being struck with a line drive or a tossed bat. That is why I tend to stick to the upper deck or the lower bowl further from the plate. I've seen too many instances of people being brained by flying baseballs, and I decided that the risk isn't worth the reward.
What I can't stand is the guy who buys these tickets, then brings his young children with him. These kids and inattentive adults who don't pay attention to the game are more likely to be struck by these projectiles, and these idiots who buy these seats probably think proudly "I can protect them from this danger."
Wait, Anderson Cooper just called with breaking news for these dopes: "You can't catch what you can't see, and I guarantee a check swing foul ball on a 98 MPH fastball will send the ball at you so fast you won't even react to it quickly enough." Enough said.
"Fan" No. 10: The guy who insists on getting up during the middle of a play/inning
This kind of fan irritates me the most. When I go to a game, I am involved in the action on the field of play. I'm drinking in the atmosphere, and just when the puck drops or ball is pitched, this knucklehead decides it's "piss and a beer" time. He then shoves you out of the way so he can move his 300 pound carcass down the aisle to obtain relief and refreshment.
I can understand if you leave between innings, and the next half inning goes a little long, and you have to try to hurry in between batters. That's fine by me. What I don't get is the guy who insists on barging back into the aisle during an at-bat and acts as though you should stand up and move two rows back so he can fit comfortably back to his seat.
-The guy who takes his shirt off when common decency and a respect for the keeping of my food in my stomach dictate that he shouldn't.
-The guy who won't stop talking on his phone, and asks what players are on the court or ice so he can tell his buddy what the game is like.
-The mother who insists on a family picture in the middle of an inning, and then asks another person to take the picture for her (thank you Bill Simmons for that one).
-The guy who wears opposition colors and yells inappropriate things when his team does something remotely good.
-The guy who insists on making correct change for his $6.50 beer and, of course, he generally is sitting in the middle of the row so you have to delicately pass the money and change down the aisle to the vendor.
So there you have it folks. If you have any "fans" you would like to call out, please feel free to do so. Here's to happy sports watching!