Is There Proper Baseball Park Etiquette?

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Don’t arrive late. Don’t leave early. And kindly sit down.

We all know there are rules of engagement for the players running the bases, but what about fans in the stadium? If you’re more of a football fan and have never seen a baseball game live, it might surprise you to know what’s expected of you—and not by Management but by the fans.

As with anything else, there are differences of opinion among the diehards. But some rules of baseball etiquette are almost universally accepted. If you don’t want to get the stank face from your neighbors in the stands, write these down:

Don’t be late. Fans hate it when somebody in the middle of their row shows up during an “at bat” and expects everyone to stand up and make way. Why? Because when the people on your row stand so that tardy you can get to your seat, they block the view of fans behind them, and everybody could miss a big play. In case of an emergency—and baseball fans define “emergency” as stopping by the hospital for outpatient surgery on the way to the ballpark—wait till a break in the action, like a changeover or the end of an inning, to find your seat.

Don’t leave early. Fans strongly believe that everybody should stick around till the very last out.

Remove your hat during the National Anthem. This applies to male and female fans. Show respect for the stars and stripes.

While we’re talking fashion, it’s bad form to wear the jersey of a team that isn’t on the field. In other words, if the Rangers are playing the Astros, don’t show up in a Cardinals jersey.

Leave your glove at home, Pepaw. If you’re old enough to drive, you’re three or four years past your glove-totin’ days. Kids only, please.

Sit down . . . unless we’re standing up. During certain critical moments in a game, everybody stands up. Otherwise, baseball fans are sitter-downers. Watch your neighbors whenever you aren’t sure what to do. (If you’re an SEC football fan, we know what you’re thinking: Stadiums have SEATS? Who knew?)

Never, ever, ever, do the wave (if we may paraphrase Taylor Swift.) At the very least, do it only during a changeover. And do it only in “wave-friendly” stadiums. Actually, now that we think about it, don’t do the wave—never, ever, ever. Some fans will hesitantly allow that the wave has its place, but most of the purists shun it.

Watch how you handle yourself with vendors. Treat them politely. Let them know how many hotdogs or drinks you want by holding up the appropriate number of fingers. Don’t get up and walk to the vender so that all your neighbors have to move. Politely ask them to pass down your money and let them know how much you aim to tip. (And you really should tip.) Your food and change will be passed back to you. And nobody misses a play.

Don’t talk on your cell phone, especially if you’re sitting behind home plate. If you were stepping up to the plate with two outs and bases loaded, would you want to be distracted by Baby Girl calling Mama to finalize plans for that upcoming Sip ’n See? No. No, you would not.

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