Okay, it's time for a lone1c Rant—and perhaps also time for lone1c Cognitive Dissonance Time.
I'll admit that in many aspects of my life, I like to be on the cutting edge. I get to play with a number of computers that are the fastest in the world (and have even gotten to break some of them in!). I've created my own web sites. I can't survive without my smart phone. I've even embraced social media to a certain extent.
However, when it comes to sports, I guess I'm a little more old-fashioned. Well, not entirely—I don't think wins and losses measures a pitcher's worth, nor do I think that RBI's encompass a hitter's value to the team. So I'm willing to embrace novelty when it's appropriate.
Where it is, in my opinion, not worth the innovation is when it comes to rooting at a baseball game. Coming up with cheap gimmicks just to rattle a crowd up and get them to be responsive shouldn't be that difficult. After all, if you're not willing to come and support your team (or a team, if your team doesn't happen to be playing in the game in question), why the heck are you even spending the money to go to a baseball game. There's lots better ways to get noticed if you want to be seen as part of the "in" crowd. (And does going to a baseball game even count for that outside of LAD-LAA and NYY-NYM land?)
So doing The Wave at a baseball game? Lame. Tossing around a beach ball? Somebody hand me a pin so I can puncture it. The idiotic cowbells at the Trop? There's not enough bile in the world to express my hatred. (Indeed, I do loathe them with the empassioned flames of all the stars in not merely the Milky Way, but in the entirety of the Local Group.)
Recently in my inbox—as one of the downsides of having a very public persona on a very public blog such as this one—came along a mail advertising a competitor to ThunderStix. (I will not names, to protect the guilty—even though I still debate whether that's a necessary or worthwhile step.) And my hackles started to rise.
Oh, how high they would get.
It is bad enough that I'm getting spam email—already a pet peeve—over something that is designed as a "noise enhancer"—another pet peeve. But even worse than the very thought of these noise makers is the pitch itself:
Product X [was] designed as an alternative to ThunderStix® and other large, noise-making devices that can impede fan enjoyment of the game.
Product X will not obstruct the views of other fans nor infringe upon their game-watching ability. In fact, they enhance the enjoyment of the game experience - in addition to making more noise, fans can
This is just wonderful news. After all, what would I do as a fan if I wasn't able to Facebook and tweet about the game I'm attending at the same time as I'm trying to make noise with the clappers. My brain shudders in horror at the very thought of not being able to tweet about the annoying pink-hat sitting next to me in the grandstand as Papi or Gonzo or Youk is coming up to the plate in a clutch situation.
Oy, the fail, it burns.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no problem with gimmicks designed to get fans into seats. It's a difficult time for sports in general—there are far too many distractions, and as a society, we now seem to have the collective attention span of a five-year-old hyped up on candy the day after Halloween. So bobbleheads, gift certificates, and other giveaways? Totally cool in my book, so long as they don't interfere with the game itself. The President's Race and other similarly goofy antics? Why, you go, Teddy.
But noisemakers that artificially make up for enthusiasm with extra decibels? Not on my life. I'd rather shrivel up into a ball and die. Perhaps we can recruit Wally as an enforcer to cut down on this ridiculous behavior.
I'm probably swimming uptide on this one—noisemakers are almost certainly here to stay. I just wish they weren't.