Matthew Taylor: A little background about the fans on TV

You’ve seen them before, probably more often than you’d like. And since I’m guest blogging for this week, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss them. They’re the fans in the lower seating bowl who stand out - by design or otherwise - when you’re watching a game on television. They’re akin to the people who stand outside the window at the “Today” show each morning with the notable difference that they’re at a baseball game and supposedly interested in its outcome. Well, that and the absence of Matt Lauer.

Players have a hitter’s background that keeps them from getting distracted while they’re batting; fans deserve the same sort of thing while they’re watching the game at home. Forget digitally inserting ads on the green screen behind home plate, let’s try digitally removing the following types of fans who I’ve seen on my television recently at baseball games.

1. The woman who dresses like she doesn’t know she’s headed to the ballpark.

Imagine the husband who comes home from work, tells his wife to “put on something nice because we’re going out for a night on the town,” and then surprises her with a trip to ... the ballpark. That’s the only way I can explain some of the outfits I’ve seen in the lower seating bowls at ballparks. I’m probably the last person who should be offering fashion advice. I’m simply a jeans, T-shirt, and ballcap type guy. Come to think of it, I’m exactly the type of person to be offering fashion advice, at least for the ballpark. If you watched the Orioles’ road opener in Tampa, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (Sequined tank-top lady, I’m looking at you).

2. The cellphone waver.

Talking on your cellphone at the game? Strike one. Waving frantically when the person on the other end of the call tells you you’re on camera? Strike two. Continuing to wave throughout the game? Strike three. If you watched the Red Sox-Rays game last night on my second-favorite sports network (wink, wink) you saw a perfect example of the cellphone waver at Fenway.

3. The sign guy (or gal).

JeterSign.jpgKids can get away with all sorts of things at baseball games that adults can’t - bringing a glove to the park (for the record, it’s adorable when kids do that), wearing a jersey with their own name on the back and, of course, having a homemade sign for their favorite player. Signs are most appropriate for college sports - they’re a staple of “College Gameday” during football season - and professional wrestling. (I’m partial to the ones that read, “The guy behind me can’t see.”) Baseball is a different story, although I did enjoy the sign I saw a few years ago on MASN that misspelled Derek Jeter’s last name. Teixeira I can understand. But Jeter?

4. The guy having trouble staying awake.

One of my college friends interned at Geraldo Rivera’s talk show. (I swear my school had a decent journalism program.) She told me they had a “beautiful people” section for attractive audience members and/or people who were likely to stay awake. It was the section that appeared on camera most often in background shots. I don’t expect to see good-looking people on camera during baseball games (especially in The Bronx - I kid, I kid), but I’d be happy to take those expensive seats off your hands if you’re that disinterested in the game. Chances are the guy falling asleep is the one who had one beer at the ballpark - one too many.

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. Read his ruminations about the Birds this week as continues a season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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