if they kick you out, it's a shame!
for it's one, two, three beefs you're out
of the old M's game!*

Seems the Stranger, along with the Mariners and several other sports-intensive Seattle media outlets, recently got an email from one Ryan Shell, a Mariners' fan who was ejected from his seats in section 111, along with his buddy, for standing and cheering for Milton Bradley during the Cubs-Mariners game on Thursday, June 24. He claims that all he was doing was supporting Milton Bradley during his ninth inning at-bat in a tied game...

merely to cheer loud and hard for Milton in a vain attempt to drown out the negativity being poured on him by his former team's fans.

Ahem. Guilty as charged.

Apparently, not only the Cubs fans in that section, but also the sit-on-their hands Mariners' fans complained to security, and he and his pal were escorted out. He claims to have used no profane language to the Safeco staff or other fans, making the whole argument about one thing: do you get to stand up and cheer at the ballgame or not?

This same situation came up at the Cubs-Reds game Thursday. Two guys in my section were on their feet cheering for the Cubs, struggling as always to score runs at a very similar junction of the game (2-2 tie, bottom of the 8th). Security told them to take their seats, they argued and one of them asked "Whose side are you on?" and then an older guy seated behind them who couldn't see and didn't want to stand (or maybe couldn't stand up: he never moved from his seat the whole game) said, "My side, you jerk!" That shamed them enough that they sat down. My shout of "Standing is bad luck!" (verified when Derrick "DP" Lee hit into an inning-ending double play with the lead run on third, when a fucking sac fly woulda got us the lead) hadn't worked.

What it comes down to is the logic of all or nothing and the psychology of the crowd. If everyone is standing, then it's OK: since no one's view is blocked (and Shell points out that the team asked the fans to stand for Ichiro's at bat). Obviously, when everyone is sitting, it's all good. Shell attributes the problem and his ejection to the fair-weather fan attitude of Mariners' folks, who show up and cheer when the team is doing well and stay away when it isn't and don't know how to act in general.

Personally, I'd agree. A stadium where you can get ejected for shouting—or wearing—"Yankees Suck!" is too damn polite for its own good. At the same time, if you're the only people standing in an area to cheer, maybe you suck for rudely blocking the view of people who, as Shell admits, paid just as much money as he did for their seats.

Or, as I pointed out to a stander in front of me once who told me I could stand up too, "I paid for a seat, not a stand." As with any crowd moment, the individual trying to shape the behavior of the group has to judge the mood of the people around him or her: if your efforts to rouse the crowd to stand and cheer fail... sit the fuck down. If they succeed, bask in the adrenaline rush glory of your leadership. The same with heckling: if the people around you laugh, then you're doing well. If they don't, shut the fuck up.

His full email is after the jump.

*(With apologies to the author of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame, tin pan alley Maestro Jack Norworth)

From: xxxx
To: fanfeedback@mariners.mlb.com
Subject: Cubs vs. Mariners 6/29
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 19:26:44 -0700

To All Interested Parties,

I am writing to share with you my utter disappointment with my treatment at the game against the Cubs on Thursday, June 29th. I've heard brief comments on the local radio networks regarding the fans at this series so I wanted to extend my experience to you fine media types in addition. I apologize that it is not more timely but I hope you all find it of interest.
My friend and I were enjoying the game, seated in section 111. In the bottom of the ninth inning of a 2-2 game we rose to our feet in support of Milton Bradley who had come on to pinch hit and was subsequently booed furiously by the many Cubs fans in attendance. We cheered and rooted him on through his introduction and first pitch. The fans in the surrounding section behind us began jeering us to, "Sit down! Put your arms down! Down in front! We paid for our seats too!" Our intention was merely to cheer loud and hard for Milton in a vain attempt to drown out the negativity being poured on him by his former team's fans. The reaction however, spurred my friend and I to remain standing, albeit defiantly, and root on the team in this exciting moment (seeing clearly that our fellow fans were content to sit on their hands and let our guys get booed out of their own park).
I wish now to express that neither of us were intoxicated or indulged in profanity. We simply sought to express our support in the best way we as passionate fans knew how. The shock that we would instantly be derided led to our own admittedly questionable actions. However, I hardly think it is appropriate to discount the fact that we did so in the ninth inning of a tie game with runners on base in what would have amounted to a series sweep and seventh consecutive win by the Mariners. For my part I feel that the entire stadium should have already been on their feet. A point I shared with those fans around me while encouraging them to join us in support.
Shortly after an usher arrived and was very friendly in asking us to be seated. I questioned where on my ticket it indicated that I was required to do so. He handed us a red code of conduct ticket and informed us that security would be arriving soon. We continued to cheer and stand. We were even joined shortly by our entire section when Ichiro was introduced (so it is apparently alright to stand for Ichiro's at-bats, or when the PA announcer says so, as was done during the same inning). Security arrived in due time and politely escorted us out. We were courteous to the entire Safeco Field staff during these interactions. The fans who cheered our removal however were given the full breadth of my opinion of how I felt they should be ashamed in letting out of town fans take over the stadium like that. I did so without using any inappropriate language.
After the game we spoke to other Mariners and Cubs fans who were equally appalled by the events. We even spoke to a former Mariner who agreed. He went as far as to say that the Mariners have a hard time attracting valuable free agents because players around the league are aware that the fan support is bandwagon at best and dreadful during the hard times, particularly against big market teams whose fans travel well. I had always defended Seattle fans when I heard descriptions along these lines but I can't possibly do so anymore. In this fine city with passionate fans in support of the Huskies, Seahawks and Sounders; the Mariners fans are an embarrassment. Come the end of the year when commercials begin to run featuring players thanking the "best fans in baseball" I will only be able to laugh and shake my head. I'll turn to those near me and tell them about how two of the most dedicated Mariners fans were thrown out for cheering in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Perhaps the next time I go to a game I'll have the 10,000 fans participating in that obnoxious wave tossed for obstructing my view for the previous three innings.


Ryan M. Shell