I was in New York last week attending my sister's nuptials. As it happened, while there, the San Diego Padres were slated to play my beloved Yankees in an inter-league series at Yankee Stadium. At first, I wasn't going to go. But then I got a call from a friend, Kevin, who was also in town. He said he had an extra ticket for Sunday's outing and invited me to join him and his friends-Padre loyalists named Tim and Monty.
It was weird being a Yankee fan, sitting amongst Padre fans sitting amongst Yankee fans in Yankee Stadium. The three of them were all decked out in their Padre colors and, since I was in plainclothes, the crowd mostly assumed I was a Padre fan also. So there we were, the four of us getting verbally abused by the Yankee fans with me going, "No, no, no-I'm not one of them! Spare me!"
Of course, most of the Yankee fans were just talking fun-friendly smack, but then there was that other type of fan, the sort who takes his devotion to the home team waaaay to seriously. It's the kind of fan who thinks the greatest crime against humanity is going for the visiting team in their home stadium. I call them The SPORT-O'S because they are Stupid, Pathetic, Obnoxious, Rooting, Tyrannical Oafs.
For instance there was one SPORT-O getting all pissed off at Monty, who was yelling "Jeter stinks!" because Jeter was currently stinking. Another SPORT-O was yelling, "Sit down, asshole," to some unknown Padre fan who was jumping up and down for his team. And a SPORT-O Mama sitting behind Kevin was not only herself spouting inhospitable, oafish obnoxiousisities, but was even instructing her young son-a little brown-haired SPORT-O turd-in-training-to shout nasty as well. That smug look on his little runt face when he told us to "Go back to San Diego" made me want to punt his papuliferous ass into the bleachers.
Kevin, on the other hand, just turned around and calmly explained to the woman and her demon seed the importance of the visiting fan's role in the whole ecosystem of professional sports. "You know, lady," he said, "we're spending a lot of money in your ballpark."
As a transplanted New Yorker living on the West Coast, I've spent many hours in other team's stadiums taking abuse. I was pelted with peanuts during the Yanks/Pads World Series Game 4. I was purposely tripped up on my way to the bathroom during Lakers v. Knicks at Staples Center. I've had a beer beverage sprayed all over my friends and me during Angels/Yanks in Anaheim. Also at Anaheim Stadium, during a Rams/Giants match-up circa 1994, a group of three Rams' fans were throwing pieces of pretzel, hot dog (with mustard dripping) and whatnot at a Giant fan painted in blue-face down in front. I was behind them and could see the whole thing, and the whole thing really pissed me off. So I pulled out the biggiest, gnarled-iest, chunked-iest pieces of ice I could find in my cup of cola, fused them together with my fist to form a jagged iceball, and whipped it at the center guy, hitting him square in the back of his neck.
"How do you like it?" I shouted down at him.
Speaking of iceballs, remember the infamous snowball game of Giants v. Chargers in the Meadowlands Dec. 18, 1995? In an impressive display of mob mentality, the Giant fans simultaneously went daft and launched the world's largest snowball bushwhack upon the players on the field as television viewers watched in disgust. But what they didn't see on TV was even more revolting. Before the Giant fans unleashed their fury onto the players on the field, they were targeting Charger fans in the stands.
Take this one poor bastard of a Charger fan sitting one section over. He was just wearing his colors, minding his business, rooting for his team and getting periodically struck with snowballs from behind. The Charger fan did his best to ignore the onslaught-but the snowballs kept coming, and coming-harder, and harder until something inside him snapped. Then he stood up, stripped off his Charger jacket and jersey and-topless now-screamed, "Come on motherfuckers, bring it on!"
It was as though a thundercloud had rolled in over his section and released a blizzard of snowball-sized hailstones slamming about his face, neck and torso until security escorted him away for his own safety
Jesus, ice people, can you really be so Neanderthalian? Do you actually believe it's "your house"? Oh please. If it really is your house, then how come you never vacuum it? Besides, whatever happened to hospitality? You know, like when a visiting fan comes into "your home" stadium, how 'bout you let him wear whichever colors makes him happy? How 'bout letting him shout out whatever the hell he wants to shout? It's called the First Amendment. It's a pretty good amendment, and I'm pretty sure it covers inside the ballpark as much as outside.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble in the House of Steinbrenner and to shout out loud, and with zeal, "Yer a bum, Jeter"; or wear a T-shirt to Petco that says, "Trevor Hoffman stinks like the ass of David Wells after one of his stark-raving monkey binges."
See, people, it's in the Constitution-so lighten up.Lob your iceballs at email@example.com and editor@SDcitybeat.com.