I go to a lot of baseball games. Like, a LOT of baseball games. I practically live at the ballpark for six months of the year, is what I’m saying. One of my life goals is to go to every ballpark in the U.S. And I’ve got three stadiums knocked out just by being a Braves fan, alone.
(Quick explanation for non-baseball fans: The Braves played in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium from 1966-1996, in Turner Field from 1997-2016, and started playing at SunTrust park this year. It is, to put it simply, very, very silly that we are on our third stadium after 51 years. The Cubs are still in the same stadium they started in, 103 years later.)
Anyway, my point: Since baseball games are usually around three hours long or more, and since, again, I’m there almost everyday, and since people like to drink lots of alcohol at sporting events, I’ve witnessed one or two thousand ridiculous things over the years.
TOP 10 MOST INSANE THINGS* I’VE WITNESSED AT A BASEBALL GAME
(*unrelated to baseball… because if we were talking about insane things I’ve seen actually related to the game of baseball, the answer is obviously the Infield Fly call and we’d shut this whole thing down.)
1. A dude in a wedding dress jumping on the field. Not all that surprising, people do crazy stuff all the time. Still, very memorable.
2. A white woman yelling at me for being racist because I referred to the two black male siblings playing in our outfield – BJ Upton and Justin Upton – as “brothers.” I’m sorry, but they are brothers. They have the same last name. They have the same parents. They grew up together.
3. Along those same lines, just a heads-up to any baseball newbies out there: If you see a sign that says KKK at a baseball game, it means the home team pitcher has struck out three batters. If you wait a few minutes and your pitcher is good, there will be a fourth K added, and maybe more. I’ll just let your imagination come up with some of the things I’ve witnessed when people who don’t pay attention to baseball see that sign. (If you’re interested in why strikeouts are recorded as Ks in the scorebook, I’ve explained it at the bottom of this post.)
4. SNAPCHAT STORIES GALORE. So, so, so, so many idiot teenagers and 20-somethings choreographing their own photoshoots at the game. Home run? Grand slam? Benches-clearing fight on the field? The hottest player takes off his shirt and starts doing pull-ups on the outfield wall? Doesn’t matter, these chicks have to get the lighting juuuust right for that picture they’re sending out to every single guy in their Snapchat contact list. AND GUYS DON’T GET OUT OF THIS INNOCENT, EITHER…
5. I witnessed a guy who couldn’t be older than 21 take 17 different selfies (I counted, it was a slow game,) of himself wearing a Braves hat, edit the winning picture in two different photo apps, and then send out the snap to over a dozen girls with the caption “making a Braves hat more famous than a Brave can.” No. No sir, you are not. Just… Oh, honey, just stop.
6. An absolutely adorable girl who couldn’t have been older than 5 or 6, all curly hair and bows and team-branded clothes, jumping up and down in the front row of our section, high on cotton candy. She is as sweet and adorable and everyone around us has fallen in love with her. And then a guy on the other team hits a homerun and fans are booing and she stands up in her chair, puts both hands around her mouth, and shouts at the top of her adorable, little lungs, “You’re a terrible husband and father!” Our entire section went silent, having suddenly become privy to a marital argument the little girl clearly overheard between her parents.
7. A little league team sat behind us one time and kept talking to everyone around them about how great baseball is, how delicious hot dogs are, and isn’t Chipper Jones amazing, and don’t you love summertime, and I’m a pitcher, aren’t you impressed? I asked a little boy sitting near me who is favorite player was and he said Freddie Freeman, and I said I liked Freddie too, he hugs people when they get homeruns! “Has he ever hugged you?” The little boy asked, eyes as wide as saucers. “No,” I explained. “But Dan Uggla hugged me once.” (Another Braves player (at the time) whom I took a picture with at batting practice.) The kid – probably in 4th or 5th grade – nodded sagely, folded his arms, and leaned back. “Yeah, he gets all the chicks.” HOW DO YOU KNOW? HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT, KID?
8. In that same group of little leaguers I asked another kid what position he played and he said catcher and I said he must be really strong. And he said “Yeah, I have big muscles and big burps!” He then demonstrated the latter.
9. They do contests with fans on the jumbotron between innings and one time they asked a fan how many wins the Braves coach had won during his 20 seasons managing the Braves’ minor league teams. There are 162 games in a baseball season, and a few weeks shorter for minor leagues, so around 130/140ish games. And he had a fairly decent managerial record during those 20 years. So you could estimate around, oh… 1,300 wins, give or take. (Spoiler alert: The correct answer is 1,301. GIVE ME A PRIZE, BRAVES.) But I know baseball, so let’s say you don’t know baseball, and let’s just listen to the question: “How many games did he win in 20 years?” You would still guess a number that was fairly large, right? Baseball seasons last forever. What I’m saying is, you wouldn’t guess what this girl guessed, which was… Three. Three wins in 20 years worth of baseball seasons. That’s over 2,600 games. If they only won 3 games in 20 years, they would have a 0.001% winning percentage.
The stadium booed her. And she completely deserved it.
Quick baseball history lesson: Hey, sports nerds! In 1859, the first baseball box score was published using a scoring system devised by a sportswriter named Henry Chadwick, now known as the “father of baseball.” In his system, K was chosen because it’s the last letter of “struck” as in “struck out.” This scoring system has changed somewhat over time, but for the most part, present day box scores still look a lot like the original box score system developed by Chadwick because it’s a simple, common sense way to track the game. Unrelated fact, the KKK was founded six years later, in 1865. So six years after Ks were used in baseball scorebooks.