Published on June 11th, 2012 | by John Friend2
Baseball Etiquette Returning to Pirates Fan Base
Despite the unthinkably long drought of meaningful baseball in this city, Pittsburgh is still a baseball town and over the past two seasons we have slowly seen the city show signs of baseball-life.
The Pirates have not been relevant to most sports fans in Pittsburgh for about 20 years now. With such a span of losing, also comes the knowledge and etiquette of a fan base being almost completely erased.
Since its inception in 2001, PNC Park has become nothing but a family oriented, fireworks-filled, generic-band-playing experience for most fans.
With the return of winning baseball, it is also slowly bringing back an element that has been lost since I can remember–baseball etiquette. You know, the things that baseball-smart crowds do with consistency and without hesitation.
As a baseball-savvy person, the 2011 season was a frustrating one to witness from the stands. The Pirates were competing on a high level, but the crowds venturing into the stadium were not there to see a winning team, but rather to see REO Speedwagon or Collective Soul put on highly mediocre shows filled with fireworks after the game.
Fans refused to be vocal at proper times, continually asked me why Jack Wilson was not in the starting lineup and usually refused to stand up for big moments and cheer on their hometown team. Like I said, it was frustrating.
This season, things are starting to change for the better in the stands as I have witnessed actual baseball fans attending games. This past Friday night was a perfect example of there being a shift in mentality at the ballpark.
Here is the breakdown of what occurred:
One out. Pedro Alvarez on third base, Jose Tabata on first. Tabata gets picked off, but gets himself in a rundown in an attempt to allow Pedro to score. Meanwhile over at third base, Alvarez seems utterly confused on what to do and is only about four feet from the bag.
That is when almost every fan down the third base line decided to get involved. All at once, every fan knew exactly when the proper time was for Pedro to run home, and at that time every fan SCREAMED at Alvarez in a plea for him to take off down the line.
As the fans stood and screamed in unison, Pedro bolted down the line and easily scored without even a throw to home plate.
I cannot guarantee that Pedro ran only because of the crowd, but it sure seemed to me that without the crowd encouraging him to run exactly when he did, Pedro would not have scored or even attempted to score.
That is what I call baseball etiquette at its finest and it occurred inside PNC Park.
Pittsburgh was a baseball city before it was a football city and certainly before it was a hockey-town. With the recent success and the future looking bright, Pittsburgh fans will become as knowledgeable as any MLB fanbase out there.
Now if we could learn to only leave your seat during breaks in play and to not leave sporting events early to beat traffic, Pittsburgh will be a well-rounded baseball town once again. But for now, I will take the baby-steps that come with rebuilding an entire fan-base’s knowledge of a sport.
Image RJ Schmidt @ flickr