Tag: Fans

10 Things That Happen After a Team Wins a Championship

Oh, the elusive championship. Teams spend countless seasons hunting for it. Some make it to the top while others are left clamoring in the dust, looking like a character out of Mad Max.

When a franchise finally is able to nab a championship, things tend to change.

Our goal here was to analyze 10 changes that happen and explain each element in detail. Whether it’s how these wins affect a city’s economy or how coaches are suddenly given more slack, these changes are evident.

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Top 20 Athletes in the History of the Bay Area

The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful and important sports areas in the country. Covering three major cities—Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose—the Bay Area has played home to some of the most prestigious franchises around.

By now, you know the drill. The point of this slideshow is to hone in and talk about the top 20 athletes in the history of the Bay Area.

Deciding who makes the cut comes down to statistics, championships won and overall legacy. With all of that info seeping into your cranium, let’s get right into it and start the countdown.

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8 Rules for Masterful Heckling

The best Masterful Hecklers can actually affect the outcome of a game. If one desires to Heckle, this is the desired result. A Masterful Heckler will throw off the other team, and inspire his own, while making everybody laugh.

A Failed Heckler is mocked, scorned, jeered, disrespected and even tossed from the game.

Baseball players are the most heckled athletes alive, and they have heard it all. A successful heckle will have a visible effect on the player. Some use them as fuel to excel, others may get flustered and miss a play.

But what are the guidelines for Heckling? How does one tell the difference between what is appropriate and entertaining, and what is only annoying. Here are some dos and don’ts for aspiring Hecklers that will help them reach Masterful status, with some stories to illustrate.

Keep in mind these guidelines are specific for a baseball game, but with slight modifications, these rules will work elsewhere as well.

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Being There: An Ode to Baseball

You have dreamed of this moment before you bought your ticket. Indeed, it was the thought of buying the ticket that was the germinating seed of this dream. You have a smile on your face, because you know that you are about to witness a historical, traditional, rarified love…a baseball game. 

Maybe you are with your wife. Maybe you are with your kids. Maybe you are with a bunch of your rowdy friends and you can’t wait to get in the stands to be rowdy with the rest of your “friends” who all root for the same team. Maybe, like myself, you even go alone because once you get there, you are not alone. 

Whichever is the case, you’re ecstatic. The feeling of joy intensifies as you pass through the gate, handing off the ticket to your dreams. The collective hope and joy is all around in the buzz of the stadium and you can feel the immensity of it. 

Then it happens. You have checked your ticket for where you will be sitting then as the concrete walkways and walls give way you look through the first section that you come upon and there it is: The diamond.

Lush and green, with white lines, four bases and a fence that defines the game. It is as if you have walked into a temple. Depending on your perspective, if it is in line with mine, you have. 

We come and unconsciously worship the ghosts of legend. Conjuring up the spirit of those who have come before us and laid the groundwork for this amazing tradition. We do this because we understand that without Babe Ruth, there’s no Roger Maris nor Mark McGwire.

Likewise, we understand emphatically that without Josh Gibson there is no Jackie Robinson and that we would have surely missed out on the greatness of Willie and Hank. Furthermore, without the courageous spirit of Branch Rickey, we couldn’t enjoy it together, as one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. 

When we are truly in the spirit of the legacy of love called baseball this unconscious worship of legend plants the seed in our collective consciousness that asks, who will be the next legend whose name will be inscribed on the consciousness of future generations? What amazing feat has yet to materialize in this game that will be enshrined in the hearts of those unborn? Will it happen today? While I’m here? 

Thus, you run, quickly—so as not to miss a thing—to buy your traditional beer, dog, Cracker Jack, maybe some fries, never minding the ridiculous cost because…it’s baseball.

Upon finding your section, row and seat you squeeze in with 40,000 other folks, the vast majority of which are of the “casual fan” variety. You pay them no mind, because you know that you are in the vast minority of men, women and children that actually “get it.” 

Yes, you are of the other variety of fans. You’re like the elder guy two rows ahead of you that listens to the game on his handheld radio, or like his wife sitting next to him who owns a book of scorecards and is currently going through passed games that she has kept score of. 

You are the fan that nobody understands. They ask, why do fans do such things like listen to the game on the radio, or keep score, or never leave their seat from the first pitch to the last and get annoyed when people want to talk at the most critical stage of the game? 

But imagine what it would have been like if you were able to be in the stadium behind home plate the day that Sandy Koufax pitched arguably the greatest perfect game in the history of baseball. Imagine what it would have been like to be at that game, with a scorecard, to record the moment so that you could frame it and pass it down through your family.

Even more, imagine if you could have been at the game and heard Vin Scully calling those last 6 strikeouts of Koufax’s legendary moment. Priceless.

It is the sound of the bat, the awaiting of the next pitch like the next breath in meditation, the “head game” of trying to out think the person that stands before you and strategizing ways to manipulate your opponent into losing. It is fans who all of a sudden become coaches and writers that live as trickster critics.

It is the long legacy that got us here and the beauty of people from around the world coming to the United States to play this game as this is the stage of the embodiment of the greatest game on earth.

It is “the catch,” “the shot heard around the world,” 100+ years of baseball futility for the Chicago Cubs and 27 championships for the Yankees. It is “Teddy Ballgame” and the legend of .406 and Satchel Paige pitching three innings of shutout baseball at the age of 59.

It is the legend of Josh Gibson hitting a game winning home run in Pittsburgh that landed in the glove of an opposing player the next day in Washington. It is another Gibson, Bob, who managed to average allowing a measly 1.12 earned runs per 9 innings in 1968. 

It is yet another Gibson, Kirk, fist pumping on two bad legs around second base after a game winning home run against Dennis Eckersley. 

It is Joe Carter’s World Series winning home run, the summer of ’98, Curt Schilling’s debated bloody sock and the Red Sox shocking the world to come back from a three game deficit to the Yankees only to sweep my beloved Cardinals in the World Series.

And, yes…it is the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, as much as it is the Dodgers/Giants, Cubs/Cardinals and every team vs. the Yankees. 

It is myth, legend, lore, statistics, hall of fame credentials and potential, endless debates about the who’s, what’s and why’s and above all…it is about the game…and you wouldn’t want to miss any moment of it. 

Yes, you get it. You understand that as Dan Millman learned in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior that, “There are no ordinary moments” and that at any given moment…the extraordinary could happen. You realize that this may be the moment that you get to tell your friends and family of the experience of being there. 

After all, you know, baseball is love. Baseball is a reflection of life. Maybe you relate with the batter that digs his feet in knowing that best in the game only get a hit 3.5 times out of 10, and as he grips the bat with the intention of helping his team toward victory, he understands that it is him against nine guys and the odds of winning are slimmer than the odds of success. Do you feel like him sometimes? 

Maybe in this mirror of life you feel like the pitcher who stares down that very same batter knowing that he has an arsenal of weaponry to slim that guys chances of getting a hit even more. Beyond that, maybe as you relate with the pitcher, you realize that you have a supporting cast of family and friends who have “got your back”—literally. 

Baseball is beautiful, isn’t it? Here you are with thousands of other people that you don’t know from anywhere, that you may have passed on the street and didn’t recognize, and the common thread that is bringing you together at this moment in history is this amazing game played inside (and outside) the lines.  

Indeed, this beautiful sport has nearly everything that life offers; passion, intelligence, philosophy, athletic agility, camaraderie, love, compassion, magic, hatred (of the Red Sox, Yankees and their fans, ha!), hope, promise, integration, humility, entertainment and escape from the worldly politics into the politics of the game. Sure it misses in some areas, but even the perfect game isn’t “perfect” (Sandy threw a wild pitch that sent his hat flying in that last inning). 

So, you sit there, awaiting the first pitch, not thinking about the last, watching with the understanding that being there is an event all to itself.

Whether you are at the stadium or even at home watching it on TV or listening on the radio, as you focus your energies sharply, baseball’s truth springs into your awareness and you are quite metaphorically in the game. 

And that, my friends, is a beautiful place to be. That…is a dream materialized. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2010 MLB World Series: Now, We’ll See How Many Real Baseball Fans Are Out There

Many, many times in the past, I’ve heard about how pro sports are fixed. Super Bowls, NBA Finals, Stanley Cups, Auto Racing. You name it, somebody, somewhere…more often than not on the barstool next to me, has said..pro sports are all fixed. It’s about the money and the TV Ratings. TV wants the big market teams like the Celtics, Lakers, Yankees and Red Wings.

Prior to 2004 (IE The End of the Curse of the Babe), I used to actually give a small amount of merit to that theory. Not any more though, and the 2010 World Series is first hand proof of that.

New York vs. Philadelphia would’ve pulled in huge ratings. Two of the biggest ratings-getters in all sports. Yet, as fate would have it, that’s not what the baseball gods had in mind. Instead, the matchup is Texas and San Francisco.

Now, we’ll see if the REAL baseball fans stay with this series from start to finish, or if we get another fan base that turns the station and their attention to college football, the NHL or about-to-being NBA season.

I’d like to think the vast majority of the fans out there are going to see this 2010 season through till the end. Sure, many of them might be band wagon fans (IE Red Sox, Yankee or Phillies fans who have jumped on either the Rangers or Giants bench after there teams were eliminated). While the diehard might not appreciate those fans, at least they’re going to watch every game, which is okay with the head honchos at Fox and Bud Selig to boot.

Tonight’s opener should merit great ratings. Cliff ”I Own the Post Season” Lee against Tim Lincecum. Could you get a bigger contrast in style than that out of the two starters? The lone thing they have in common is that they’re both darn good.

In any event, I’ll be watching each and every game from start to finish, and enjoying the heck out of it, even if my team isn’t playing.

Hopefully, I won’t be alone. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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