If you like baseball you probably know that the Dodgers played the Yankees this past weekend. I was at Dodger Stadium for Saturday’s game and I have some thoughts. Grab some bench or take a knee and let’s chat.
Over the years sports have become a major part of our lives, almost like another religion. One hundred and fifty years ago sports were a past-time indulged in when, and if, people had time to play them. There were no sports stars, no god-like figures of physical prowess who ruled the hearts and minds of men and women alike.
Now, however, we live in a world where people who know how to kick, hit or throw a ball are wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, they’re A list celebrities and sometimes they are above the law.
As sports fans we idolize them. We know the statistics of their careers going back to their very first game of Little League. We know their family histories back to the days when we were cavemen. And never is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ repeated in sports bars as often as when one of them gets embroiled in a scandal.
Occasionally our fandom leans into a religious-like extremism, which can be dangerous. And this is what I witnessed at the Dodgers game on Saturday.
Chants of “Yankees suck!” echoed from every direction. Of course we all know that the Yankees don’t suck, they’re a professional baseball team. But they are the enemy of the Dodgers. And, of course, it’s important to remember that without opponents there wouldn’t be any games to go crazy about.
As Saturday’s game went on I watched several fights break out in the crowd. These are people gathered in the same place at the same time because they share a love for this game. But despite the commonality between them it took almost nothing to spark arguments between fans in the stands. An insult thrown as someone passed by, a dirty look, a slur against the target’s chosen team was all that was needed. It could be something that most of us would simply brush off in everyday life but when someone insults our team of choice people get on the same hair trigger that sets them off when topics like religion come up.
I am not a fan of grown human beings getting in each others’ faces, screaming, hitting and hurting their fellow sports lovers over a rivalry they bought into because it’s supposed to be fun. Again and again the LAPD and stadium security pulled brawlers apart and ejected them from the game Saturday because these angry fans have chosen not to be civilized. They end up missing the very game they are willing to lose teeth over. And let us not forget that you can punch a fellow fan in the face as much as your fist can withstand but it’s not going to effect the final score of the game.
So as we head back into the fray let us all remember that sports have become the billion dollar industry they are and their players our heroes because if we look up to them we will buy what they’re selling, namely Old Spice and Chevrolets.
And though you may want to smell like the man in the commercials because you saw how cool he was during the Super Bowl, it’s hardly worth jail time on assault charges. Then the man you end up smelling like may just be that murderer in cell block 9.
Have a good game, team, good game! And… break.