Summer vacation is vastly approaching and baseball season is well underway. Many travelers will frequent U.S. cities this summer, selecting to take in a ballgame for a taste of that city’s sporting culture. And if you aren’t familiar with U.S. baseball, there are a few etiquette suggestions you might want to consider before stealing a foul ball from a three-year old and winding up on the JumboTron for all of the wrong reasons.
Don’t Do The Wave: You might not be a baseball fan, but you have decided to head up to St. Louis to see a game. Even if there are supposed “fans” doing the wave, resist the urge to jump up out of your seat and join in. This practice usually comes at the worst moments, like when the home team’s closer is trying to end the game with the bases loaded. Among baseball diehards, the wave is far from a celebrated tradition at U.S. ballparks. Some ballparks know this better than others, but just because you are on vacation at the ballpark doesn’t mean you should stand up and wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
Don’t Gossip The Entire Game: I sat behind a man the other day at Coors Field in Denver. He gossiped the entire game, detailing the many romantic failures of his roommate. There are times and places for dishing out gossip, but I’m not sure the ballpark is one of them. If you are planning on catching a baseball game on your summer vacation to New York or down to Miami, you should by definition be there for the game. A little outside chatter won’t irk baseball fans, but an entire game discussing everything but baseball is certainly a different kind of no-no in this game.
Seek Out the Ballpark Food Specialty: While dining at the ballpark can be pricy, each stadium tends to have a classic meal, usually a hot dog with a twist. For the Dodgers in LA, it is the Dodger Dog. For fans at Fenway in Boston, it is the Fenway Frank. Don’t be that guy that gets a salad. Do your research for the stadium’s staple and get busy chowing down before the first pitch.
Be Respectful At Visiting Parks: Many baseball fans travel with their teams, turning the regular season into a travel adventure of going ballpark to ballpark, city to city. You might love your team as much as the next guy or gal, but you don’t need to be a jerk at visiting ballparks. Cheering is expected, but fistfights with fans are not. Know that there are probably families around you and hometown fans who might already be down about losing.
Watch Out For Packaged Ticket Deal Days: Many ballparks have their own days where giveaways are in abundance or a certain flat packaged price is offered for tickets, food and parking. If you are on a budget but dying to see a game in San Francisco, do your research and figure out what days you might get more bang for your buck.