Friend of SFist Sally Kuchar, Curbed SF editor and lifelong Giants fan, and you very own SFist editor recently bemoaned early-season fans' behavior at AT&T Park. Kuchar points, of course, were all spot-on and wonderful and needed to be shared with the world. So much so that we begged her to pen this very special piece for SFist on proper etiquette for amateur fans at Giants games. Take it away, Sally...
After the Giants won the 2010 World Series a slew of new fans arrived at the park. Great! The team’s roster has been filled with quirky characters who are easily marketable and likeable. It’s very, very, very easy to become obsessed with Giants baseball. There are 40,000+ seats to fill at AT&T Park, and it’s quite the sight when an ass is in every one. That said, some of the new fans need to learn some AT&T Park etiquette. (But not all of you; the majority of you are great.)
• The wave. Don’t start it. Don’t do it because it seems like everyone else is doing it. Teach the youth of San Francisco that the wave is unacceptable behavior. And please, don’t ever, ever do it when we’re at bat. The whole point of the wave is to distract the opposing team’s hitter.
• Please remain seated when a batter is hitting. Refrain from walking around, as the seated people behind will not be able to watch the game. There’s a reason ushers stand in certain sections who will not let you reenter your section until the batter’s box is empty. The exception: Key moments, like when the count’s 3-2 with two outs and we’ve got players on base. It’s time to rally. Rally like a motherfucker. Unsure of what a key moment is? It’s when everyone around you stands up and starts rooting.
• Socializing while standing. Unless we’re between innings, do not stand up for long periods of time if you are in a seated section. The rows behind you cannot watch the game if you’re standing on your seat and yelling for five minutes straight. The reason there’s a 7th inning stretch is because you should be sore from sitting down for six innings.
• Swearing. There are 3-year-olds around you. And seniors. Seniors hate swearing! If you want to start a universally acceptable chant, do it. “What’s a matter with Victorino? He’s a BUM!” Acceptable! And encouraged. Especially if you’re in the bleachers. In fact, only in if you’re in the bleachers. Victorino can’t hear you if you’re sitting behind home plate. Inappropriate chant (similar to things overheard at the park as of late): “What’s a matter with Victor--what’s his fucking name again? OH, well, WHATEVER, FUCK THAT FAGGOT!” Do not do this.
• Smoking weed. You can’t smoke weed in a ballpark that’s family friendly. Don’t be that person who lights up a joint when you’re sitting in the middle of a section. Want to get stoned (because you have a medical marijuana card and not because you illegally purchased that weed, of course!) go to the game early and light up by the McCovey statue. It’s the equivalent of smoking cigarettes behind the gymnasium in high school. It’s where all the cool kids are.
• Treating opposing team's fans like crap. The bottom line is that we are collectively allowed to engage in civilized discourse with opposing team fans if they welcome it. Feel them out first. If they are just there to support their team, leave them alone.* If there’s an obnoxious opposing team’s fan on the loose, boo them loudly until they’ve sat down and buried their head in their lap, regretting their decision to not only be a fan of a lesser baseball team, but for being a jerk about it. If they’re out of control drunk and throwing garbage, spitting on people, and calling your girlfriend a “cunt,” text security so they can quickly show up and deal with it. The fan will most likely get ejected and may even spend the night in the drunk tank.
• Talking trash about our own teammates (unless they really deserve it.) Okay, you can crack a joke about Huff grounding out to second again. You can be bummed when one of our guys strikes out when the bases are loaded and there were two outs. You can be disappointed in Barry Zito’s contract. Just try your best to keep it positive when you’re at the park. The exception is when a player is consistently playing terribly. You are allowed to hold them responsible for their actions. You were allowed to boo Aaron Rowand for sucking all the time. You were allowed to boo Armando Benítez because he was awful and didn’t care about baseball.
PRO TIPS FOR HAVING AN ENJOYABLE TIME AT AT&T PARK:
• Be respectful of the folks around you. If you accidentally bump into the person you’re sitting next to because the Giants just hit a home run and you are totally stoked and are jumping up and down, apologize with a smile and give them a sort of hug or high five and tell them you’re so happy you’re here with them to see this great game be played. GO GIANTS.
• Enter AT&T Park through Public House. Better and cheaper beer, and you can bring it into the stadium.
• Dress in warm layers. This way you don't complain the entire time because you’re freezing.
• Understand that each team in the history of every sport has its ups and downs. Mostly downs. Try to find the good in the bad. Have faith. Have hope. Part of being a true fan is still loving your team when they’re playing like crap.
• It is an awesome experience when you catch a ball at AT&T Park. Further, you will be a much better person if you give the ball to the child next to you whose arm isn’t long enough to have caught it. You will be that kid’s hero and he or she will mention you as an inspiration in their valedictorian speech.
*This rule does not apply if the Giants are playing the Dodgers.
(By Sally Kuchar)