Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 13 July 2012 00:00
At a recent Mets game at Citifield, the Mets were trailing by a score of 5-4 in the ninth inning to their avowed enemies from “the city of Brotherly love,” Philadelphia. The crowd then got into the action. Forty thousand Mets fans, egged on by the visuals and sounds coming from the scoreboard starting chanting, “Let’s go Mets!”
In addition, as the rally increased, the fans got out of their seats simultaneously and continued their incantation of “Let’s go Mets.” The cheering got louder and the opposing pitchers seemed to be affected by the mob’s desires. When David Wright blooped a winning Texas Leaguer in front of the Phillies right fielder, the crowd went berserk. It was a true New York moment. It reminded me of the old Madison Square Garden throng’s reaction at a Knicks game in the early 1970s. I was proud to be a New Yorker and the trip home was delightful. The multitudes had “willed” the victory.
I recently read an article by Jim Kaat, a former major league pitcher. He was asked to name his one wish for today’s baseball and he replied, “I wish that at some point they would have a real turn-back-the-clock-day. There would be no rock and roll music. It would be nice and quiet, and you could hear the ball hit the bat. You could hear the vendor two sections away say ‘hot dogs.’ We could just sit and watch the game on a lazy afternoon.”
These are two diverse points of view on the desired sound level while watching a baseball game. The purist baseball fan thinks the play on the field in front of him is enough and perfect. Other fans relish the hijinks that go on at the stadium, like “The Kissing Camera,” which catches pictures of two fans kissing. The military music that winds up with a call to “CHARGE!” is too much, in my opinion. “The Quiz Games,” which ask some clever and some inane questions, is not necessary. Even “the Wave” sometimes just annoys me.
Baseball is something like a chess game, played with bats, balls and gloves. No one needs shouting and schtick at a chess or tennis match. But if the fans can cause their team to win, I am in favor of it.