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Actually, the wave is good

A Socratic dialogue reveals all.

Chicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox
This is good and not bad.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Scene: My study. YOU and I (“ME”) are talking about baseball and the subject of the wave comes up. YOU make a face, I make a face, and we begin.

YOU SMART: The wave is bad.

ME, DUMB: The wave is good.

YOU: What’s so good about it?

ME: Why is it bad?

YOU: What does it have to do with the game?

ME: What doesn’t it have to do with the game?

YOU: Please tell me what it has to do with baseball. Please.

ME: Baseball is played in stadiums with tens of thousands of people, well past the number of people needed to make the wave cool.

YOU: There is no number of people that make the wave cool.

ME: There is a number, you just don’t know it.

YOU: There is no number that makes the wave cool.

ME: I still don’t know what you hate about it.

YOU: It’s dumb.

ME: I think it’s cool to see tens of thousands of people move in unison, unprompted, especially in Fenway Park, where the swell shrinks to a single fan in just-left-of-center. I think it’s simple and good and not asking too much for you to stand 3 times in a row, 45 seconds aparts, for something that looks extremely cool if you just lighten up for a minute. As Matt Collins wrote earlier this year in appreciating both the wave and “Sweet Caroline:”

[T]he wave, which is more spontaneous than Sweet Caroline[,] can be just as energizing for that same group of fans. I'll admit that I generally do not take part in the wave when it rolls by my sections. I'm far too lazy to be standing and sitting that often. I would never begrudge anyone for taking part, though. Baseball games are supposed to be a fun source of entertainment. We are in a small percentage of the population that lives and dies by the outcome of each individual game. I would venture to say that while most people at Fenway on any given day would like for the Red Sox to win, they aren't going to let a loss spoil their night. They see the excitement on people's faces as they throw their hands up and then watch the rest of the crowd follow suit. Who am I to tell them to sit down and watch the damn game?

You putz.

YOU: Let it out.

ME: You putz! I think hating on the wave is some of the cheapest points available on the woke baseball fan board, and it has the health value of Skittles. It’s self-righteous and dumb and you should be ashamed.

YOU: LOL you calling people self-righteous.

ME: I’m saying people should like things that are distinct and good.

YOU: You wanted to say unique and good.

ME: I wanted to say unique and good.

YOU: But you didn’t because the word “unique” is basically empty, in that every single thing on Earth is truly and utterly one-of-a-kind.

ME: I didn’t because the word “unique” is basically empty in that every single thing on Earth is truly and utterly one-of-a-kind.

YOU: And you didn’t do it, and I know that, because we are the same person.

ME: We are. Putz.

YOU: LOL. So hey, “me,” if the wave is so great, why doesn’t every sports stadium do it all the time?

ME: Because baseball stadiums are uniquely suited to it.

YOU: Really? That seems to be an argument of convenience.ME: A football stadium is too big. It looks plenty cool but getting and keeping it going is a pain in the butt. A basketball/hockey arena is too small. In tennis they’d kick you out.

YOU: [giggles] But that would be awesome.

ME: [giggles] Yeah. Wait a second. Aha!

YOU: What?

ME: I win!


ME: Check and mate! Check and mate!

YOU: Because I…

ME: Because if it would be cool in tennis, because of how much it would piss everybody off, it could then be cool.

YOU: Because I…

ME: Because if it could be cool, then it could be tolerable. And if it could be tolerable…

YOU: Because I…

ME: … if it could be tolerable, then it’s not inherently the worst..

YOU: Because I...

ME: ... and if it’s not inherently the worst...

YOU: ... then I am.

ME: We are.

YOU: I still hate the wave.

ME: Yeah, well, like the wave, this is over. Sit down.

[seconds pass]

YOU: Okay that was pretty good.