Washingtonians are dead last in ballpark etiquette. Here's how they can improve.
That old joke about Washington being "first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League," doesn't work these days, and not just because the Nationals don't play in the American League. (Come to think of it, it doesn't work on the war and peace parts either.) That's because the Washington Nationals have started off the 2012 baseball season on a tear, leading the division even with major injuries to their starting left fielder, right fielder, closer, and three of their four Venezuelan catchers. They've overcome the bad luck because the pitching staff is the best in the league, and Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old phenom, flies around the field like Pete Rose and swings the bat like Mickey Mantle. He's a revelation: Paul Bunyan with a dash of Bamm-Bamm Rubble. He's done the impossible in cynical Washington: exceeded expectations, just as pitcher Stephen Strasburg did before him.
That's the good news. The bad news is we Washingtonians are dead last in baseball fan etiquette. I don't know if that's because all of this success has brought an infestation of new fans to the park who have no idea how to watch a game, or that we don't really have a baseball tradition in this town after losing two teams, or if I'm just getting older and more get-off-my-lawny. But one thing I do know for sure: I go to about half the home games and I miss a lot of the action because people are standing up way too much during play. Like that guy two sections over—why is he suddenly standing during an at-bat? And why did that woman five rows down choose bases-loaded-two-outs as the perfect time to get out of her seat to submit to her jones for Dippin' Dots, "the ice cream of the future?" I'm not even sure many of the new fans are aware a game is going on.