If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, professional or not, chances are that you’ve either witnessed or participated in something called “the wave.” If not, it’s basically a stadium of 30,000 people all cheering at the top of their lungs, standing up and waving their arms in the air to make it look like there’s a giant ripple going through the crowd.
Sounds cool, right?
Recently, there has been much discourse amongst fans and players alike about how annoying the wave really is. I didn’t used to think that it was all that bad. If my team is up by seven runs in the 8th inning, why not celebrate a little bit? It’s kind of cool to see everyone getting excited.
Except when people do the wave during a one-run game in the 4th inning. Yeah, I’m not kidding. I’ve been to way too many Mets games where the wave spontaneously breaks out at the worst possible times. Heck, I’ve seen people start the wave when the Mets are losing!
A lot of people who do the wave think that everyone who opposes it are the Fun Police. That is to say that wavers (we can call them that) think that non-wavers are boring people who come to baseball games in suits and ties and sit in silence.
But that simply is not true. At best, the wave is downright distracting, for both the fans and the players. Imagine missing a crucial at-bat because some yahoo in the row in front of you decides to stand up and participate in the wave. Imagine missing your favorite player blast a grand slam in a blowout game (which is incredibly exciting) because “we’re just having fun!”
Admittedly, some people go much too far when it comes to trashing the wave. But they’re usually justified because nowadays, people actually do the wave when the team is losing. I can’t stress enough how much that annoys me. As a fan, I’m trying to watch the game. I’d rather just cheer when something good actually happens (and that doesn’t happen all too much with the Mets. Sometimes the cheers give me false hope that everything is okay).
Aside from my personal grudge, the wave is unsurprisingly distracting to players as well. In a recent video that Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard participated in, he specifically had a segment urging fans to “resist the wave”. He even tweeted this out after last night’s game.
This makes the most sense coming from a pitcher. Pitching is just as much mental as it is physical, and having a full stadium of people screaming seemingly at random while you’re just trying to get the right grip on the ball can understandably drive one nuts.
This is different than cheering on your pitcher in a big spot. The cheers that accompany the wave move around the stadium with the wave; it is not uniform. It’s like when music moves from one earbud to another while you’re listening to music and you can feel it shifting from side to side.
When the entire stadium is cheering for you to get that 99 mph fastball to paint the corner, that is motivational. When you know they’re just cheering because they’d rather be doing the wave than watching the game… not so much.
As fans, we pay actual money to watch people swing bats and throw baseballs. Why would we want to do anything else but watch that when we go to a game? If you find yourself doing the wave because you’re bored, well, you don’t really belong at a baseball game.
Bottom line: Don’t start the wave, don’t laugh at the wave and don’t participate in the wave, no matter how drunk you are. Think of the players. Think of the fans behind you. Think of the game! Who knows, you might miss a Syndergaard fastball if you just blink; imagine how much you’ll miss when you stand up and wave your arms around.