Ball game etiquette.

I’m not a traditional sports fan. You won’t find me watching baseball, football or basketball on TV let alone in the stands at a game. But a friend went to a ball game just to see the Washington Nationals play. It was actually four girls out for the novelty of the outing. Not huge sports fans but just for something different to do on a nice sunday afternoon.

The spent most of the game in idle chatter about things that were important to them: work, relationships and other life things. Not much attention was being paid to the game, I’m told. Finally, in the severth inning, the guy in the seat just in front of them turned around and berated them for their “idle chatte” and asked them in a not too polite manner to shut up for just one inning. You see, he had come hundreds of miles (from Toronto) to see the game and would really like for them to keep quiet for a little while.

Now it doesn’t seem like too much of an unreasonable request. I mean, if you’re at the game you should have at least some interest in watching it. On the other hand, it’s not like they are attending a tennis or golf match where spectator silence is expected.

Not being a major sports fan, I’m not sure of the etiquette at a stadium like this. On the one hand, I feel for the guy trying to watch the game. On the other hand, I don’t know of any specific rules requiring attendants to “pay quiet attention” to a baseball game. Sure, being rowdy and generally disruptive is bad form, but are you required to keep the bulk of the conversation to the game in progress?

Of course you’re not required to. Baseball lends itself to conversation. However, listening to a bunch of people blab endlessly about all the mundane shit going on in their lives is excessively annoying. If they want to just sit and talk somewhere, they ought to go someplace like a coffee shop, a restaurant, the park or stay home.

I’ve sat behind or in front of people like your friends, and it’s really irritating.

I think it has a lot less to do with “baseball game etiquette” than it does simple consideration for others.

Like Neurotik said, listening to peoples incessant idle chit-chat can be especially irritating, especially when the talkers have had a few drinks making their voices a bit louder and the topics a little more obnoxious.

His comments about him coming from Toronto to see the game are not a indication of the fact that they were breaching baseball etiquette but instead just pointing out that they are ruining the game for him.

I guess my point is, you’re not expected to be quiet, only talk about baseball, or anything else. You are expected to not drone on incessantly in earshot of the captive audience around you for 4 hours anywhere, not just as baseball games.

If this had happened in teh park, at a coffee shop, or wherever else the people around could have just gotten up and gone elsewhere. At a bal game you’re essentially trapped in the seat your assigned to. That makes having to hear these girl go on-and-on unbearable after 3+ hours.

Knowing two of these women as I do, I’m sure their volume and topics of conversation would have become highly annoying to any fan within their vocal range.

I’ll be sure to berrate them further forthwith. :smiley:

I agree that this was more about lack of general discretion than baseball manners per se. If their conversation were quiet enough not to bother those around them, I would guess there would have been no confrontation.

I attend sporting events all the time and people talk constantly. It’s usually not a problem and the many conversations are conducted in such a way that they blend into the “white noise” of the event. Sometimes, though, folks with voices that carry much better than they realize cross the line and become distracting. I will call these folks down in an instant, because I came to watch the game and the minute they become an impediment, I feel justified in speaking up.


I don’t have anything to add here other than that I agree wholeheartedly with the prior comments and I wanted to add my vote. The point about not being able to relocate yourself away from annoying conversation is particularly relevant.

Personally, I like to bring a friend with me that hates my home team (the Dodgers), and we sit and jaw back and forth as the game goes on. THAT, my friends, is quality game conversation. :slight_smile:

Occasionally GF’s office will buy a block of tickets to MLB game. GF will blab with co-workers the whole time. Doesn’t bother me, but then I am conditioned to tune this out.

I once rudely interupted her blabbing, pushing her aside to catch the foul that would have beaned her. I got quite the “look” until she realized what the alternative was.
The odds are fairly slim, but if you are in the part of the stands subject to fouls (or HRs for that matter) it might be prudent to at least keep someone around who follows the game.

Kevbo, that’s a whole 'nother thread - people who don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them in sporting events. I personally don’t want my nose broken by a wayward puck or ball.

I don’t know too much about sports game etiquette, but I suspect it is something like movie etiquette - people paid money to go there for a specific purpose. People interfering with that purpose are the ones in the wrong.

Most games that I’ve been at, the bulk of the people spend at least half of the time just shooting the shit about anything. In particular, baseball games and other sporting events are often used by business to take out and market to clients.

I remember being quite annoyed at my first ever hockey game, where we sat in the luxury box itself drinking beer and making business small talk. We never actually went into the seats of the luxury box from which you could watch the game.

I agree with the crowd. It wasn’t really breaking any rules but I bet it was damn annoying and unintentionally inconsiderate.


I bet the Nationals are pretty strict about seat jumping so it would have been very annoying to me as well. MLB games are EXPENSIVE, and I don’t want to hear idle chit chat. I can deal with some baseball related chat, but don’t sit around and talk about someone’s abortion or who’s banging the boss at a big league ball game where I can’t get up and change my seat.

Don’t even get me started about cell phone conversations at a game.

I rarely get to MLB games since there isn’t a team closer than a day’s drive. I’d be pissed off if I drove all the way to see my team and had to listen to the people behind going on about mundane, pointless stuff.
I have been to a lot of college football games and I’ve rarely experienced this at such an event. The longest conversations are usually someone having rules explained or people debating the minutiae of a referee’s call.

I just thought of this though…baseball can bring out some pretty boisterous fans. I, for one, love to go to minor league games and heckle the living shit out of opposing pitchers. That would get really old too, so there’s a middle ground between paying attention to the game and being WAYYY too into it. Most people don’t have trouble staying inside it.

I think we all expect to hear stuff we should not be privy to, just part of modern life. But when it goes on and on, that’s crossing the line. Can happen in the movies, where I expect some talking; the Metro, where the only thing that has surprised me recently was the sermon behind me; or a ball game. The guy put up with seven innings of this drivel? Pin a medal on his chest for moderation and decorum. No way I last that long, or respond that calmly. And I live here. Manners are manners, wherever.

Without knowing the VOLUME they were speaking at it’s impossible to say for sure.

However, anyone who’s seen a group of women talking in a restaurant knows that the conversation tends to become excessively loud, for some reason.

Cue “Sex and the City” reruns

I genuinely do not understand what you all expect when you go to a baseball game. It’s 3-4 hours long. 30,000 people are not all going to be rabid fans, leaning over in their seats, waiting for the next routine ground out to shortstop.

It was always my understanding that part of the enjoyment of going to a baseball game was the slow pace and time for conversation. America’s pastime and all that.

I would have no problem with someone talking about getting their nails done for 2 hours, so long as they are not overly loud and obnoxious about it. I don’t really pay attention to what the people behind me are saying (so long as it is in a normal conversational voice); I’m usually watching the game or talking to the friend next to me myself.

I agree that you don’t have to pay attention. That’s why people go to baseball games instead of watching the recaps on SportsCenter(where all the good plays are bundled together…what a time saver!) but I can imagine that too much is too much. It appears the man waited until the seventh inning before snapping, and that’s pretty good. But here’s where I think the cue for his outburst comes from. In Sunday’s game, the National’s tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Perhaps his frustration with the bad play from his team, caused him to find something in arms reach to focus on.
I think it was just bad timing, and the only thing you should do about people like that are either avoid them or join them.

I’ve always found that seats are available in ballparks (especially later in the game). I prefer to find a quiet area over being close. Again, if I wanted to get close, I’d go home and watch on TV.

Sure. Nobody expects 100% attention 100% of the time. But if you’re not going to pay any attention to the game, why bother even going? Just stay at home in the living room and chit chat.

If you’re going to chat with each other or your buddies via cell, stay home. Two teenaged girls behind me for one hockey game was enough. “Like, well, like, you know…” and so on. Right behind me. I don’t mind if you don’t watch every second of the game, but can you watch at least a little of it? Quietly?