Baseball Vs. Hockey... A Case Analysis
  Copyright 1997 Joe Pasko, no part may be copied or reproduced without written consent
I've been to a few hockey games over the past few years, and recently I went to a baseball game for the first time. "Interesting" is a word that's more or less applicable, depending on whether or not you are referring to the fans or the game itself. As far as the fans go, your "just out of the double-wide" baseball fan tends to more obnoxious that the corresponding "just got off of work at Wendys" hockey fan. While you are more likely to hear "Kill that piece of shit and shove a corncob up his ass" at a hockey game. (That was more or less a direct quote, minus the slobber and accent.) I argue that there are many mitigating factors that would tend to make the average baseball fan more obnoxious than the standard hockey aficionado.


First look at hockey


At hockey games, they sell alcohol. The "Jack D." sold at the stadium may slow the reflexes, but it goes a long way toward helping the repressed hit an all new level of self-expression.


There is nothing like hearing the meaty thud of a head being smashed against the glass to get the blood moving in the average hockey fan (Note: There's probably a LOT of alcohol in this blood...)


Hockey games seem to attract lot's of Lolita's and Tangaray's, thus giving the resident rednecks something to impress by being loud and obnoxious. (Hey, the girls can't see the size of their pickup-trucks from inside.) This quantity of trailer park-queens might be explained by the rules of the sport itself; During the game, there's only a two minute penalty for "Hooking."


Hockey fans throw cups and rubber sharks onto the ice after a goal is scored. One theory to explain this refined and cultured action, holds that fans are having such a good time, they throw garbage onto the ice to prolong the game. A second theory might be that the blood-thirsty fans just want to see some shmuck bust-it after tripping on a left-over slushy.


Audience participation is encouraged. The fans crowd around the penalty box and taunt the visiting teams players. This seemed like a good idea until at a particular game, one fan went too far and tossed his drink down upon an opposing player. This player, ever the epitome of couth and professionalism, reacted in pure hockey fashion and style. He pulled the fan down into the box and pummeled him senseless. Sweet Darwin in motion!


With all this going against hockey fans, how could I possibly rule that the baseball fans being more obnoxious ?? It wasn't too hard really for a variety of reasons.


They don't serve alcohol at baseball games.(This is not to say that some of the fans weren't already tanked, with the way that they behaved, I hope they were tanked.)

Baseball fans go to the games to be obnoxious and, in turn, view the obnoxious. The game is secondary. I was at the UF/FSU game and people were leaving right and left after the 4th inning. The game was close, and WE left in the 8th.


Here are some of the award-winning high-lights of the game


"The Animals" leading a conga line around the stadium lifting bags of Doritos high in the air (Don't know what the significance of the Doritos...didn't want to ask.) "The Animals" are a group of die-hard fans who attend games for the sole purpose of tormenting the opposing team. Once they sang 34 nonstop rounds of "Take me out of the ballgame" when the opposing pitcher was having a bad game.


The crowd yelling "Hut hut hut" when the players would take stay-warm runs to the fence. (Yes it's such an physically taxing sport that the players need to run during the game to avoid cooling off)


The bat-girls('nuff said).


The fans would consistently boo calls made by the umpire. Now take note that we are sitting down the first base line, and most of the fans were looking through a fence at a ball going near 90 mph...I had to resist the urge to yell "He missed the tag!", ALA Bob Ucker.


The crowd was consistently harassing the right fielder for the opposing team, chanting and taunting him until HIS MOTHER who was sitting behind us went and complained to the police.(To his credit the cop told her to sit on the other side with the visiting team. Guess that he knew who was paying his salary.) To the fan's credit, they were aware the whole time that the right fielder's mother was behind them, and they didn't let it bother them in the least. If anything, it appeared to intensify their fervor to know that they could insult the player and his mother at the same time. Kind of makes those spots about the USA, baseball, mom, & apple pie ring a bit hollow with a psychotic reverb. And finally, to the right fielders credit, he did manage to silence the crowd by hitting a 2 run homer, leaving the mental midgets slack-jawed. A few fans managed to chant "We're not worthy" as he jogged into the field. They were right.


The players were continually "adjusting" themselves throughout the course of the game. I figure that between modern technology and Tinactin, this could be eliminated.


The crowd chanting "Touch his butt, touch his butt..." When the other team would have a conference at the mound.


"The Animals" singing to the other teams (They at least did an OK rendition of "Oh Canada").


Baseball fans don't care about the game because they don't have to... There are at least 4 million games each longer than anyone wants to sit through. This creates an atmosphere where there's no pressure to see the whole thing, especially since there are generally no spectacular plays or feats of athleticism. While hockey is a quick intense game viewed intently by drunken morons, baseball is like a gathering of morons who consume hot-dogs and complain about the umps. It's group therapy and community theater for idiots. It brings the community together to bitch about a common enemy: the other team. At any point, a fan can be the star of the show by simply shouting out something pithy (OK, something loud).




Why ? Simple. They continually support a boring insipid game that is often misconstrued with a sport. If going to a baseball game was supposed to be relaxing, the fans ruin it by being loud and obnoxious. If the game was to be entertaining, its rules prohibit it (The players should keep their bats while charging the mound Dammit!)


In the end I liken baseball to driving in traffic: You're awake because you have to be. You don't pay much attention because it's not necessary, and in the end, it's generally OK to be really obnoxious to the guy behind you because chances are, he's being obnoxious to the guy behind him.