An Open Letter to Casual Ballpark Visitors – Stuff I Wish You Knew

Open-Letter-GraphicNote: I felt compelled to write this after yet another negative experience at a Fisher Cats game, once again caused by a group of band kids from Tamworth, who were primarily there to perform before the game.  As full season ticket holders, we really have come to hate it when these band kids are in our section.  They, nor their adult handlers, care nothing about watching the game, and they assume that nobody around them cares about watching it, either.  It got me thinking about all of the stuff that I wish people who visit our ballpark occasionally would know to do or not to do.

Dear Casual Visitor:

Welcome to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.  I hope you enjoy your time here.  But please, not at the expense of those around you.  Here are some things I would like you to know, so that we ALL can enjoy the game.

  • Please sit in the seats that you are ticketed for, at least before the game starts, and for the first few innings.  It is rude to sit in someone else’s seats before the game even starts, because you have no way of knowing that early whether the people who are ticketed for them are coming or not.  After a few innings, it’s likely that they are not coming, and then you can move if you really must.  However, please do not be “that person” who buys the $6 seats, fully intending to poach someone else’s $12 premium box seats.  We paid the team’s asking price for our seats, and so should you.  Also, if you are sitting in someone else’s seats, and those people show up and ask you to move, you move and don’t argue about it.  You are stealing and you will never win.  (Pro tip:  if you wish to sit in a particular part of the ballpark, buy your tickets online.  The website has a seating map, where you can choose your exact seats.)
  • Our primary purpose of going to the games is to actually watch the games.  Parents, teachers, I know that you are proud that your kids/school group was chosen to perform the National Anthem, “God Bless America”, a dance routine, or whatever, please be aware that this is not the sole reason that anyone comes to the games.  Please do not act as if “there is nothing more to see here” once the kids are done performing and return to their seats.  If you and/or your kids are just going to spend the whole time socializing, which often involves a lot of standing up and pushing past other people, may I suggest you at least not get premium box seats.  We pay for the best seats because we would like to see the game, and so do a lot of other people, many of who are season ticket holders.  But no one can watch the game if you are constantly standing up, pushing past us, blocking our view of the field.  Even if you do opt for the cheap seats, keep in mind that there will be people there who want to watch the game, as well; probably not as many as in the better seats, but they are there.  So no matter where you sit, please just actually SIT and let us watch the game.
  • On the subject of leaving your seats, please learn to multi-task, in order to minimize the number of times you get up and distract others.  An example of the WRONG way:  You have to pee, so you get up and go pee and come back.  Then, two seconds later, you decide you want a fried dough, so you go and get one and come back.  A few minutes later, you decide you are thirsty, and want a Coke, so once again you push past us to go and get one, then come back.  Shortly after that, you see Fungo on the concourse and want to take a picture of him, or you want to go and chat with a friend sitting in another row, so once again, you get up.  There have been times when one person does all of this stuff in the space of one inning, getting up and coming back over and over again.  Why not multi-task, which is doing more than one thing when you do get up?  When I get up, I’ll go pee, and then get a beer or something, and perhaps while I’m up, I will go and talk to someone in another part of the ballpark.  Offering to bring back stuff for other people you’re with is nice, too; Mike and I do this all the time.  And if your entire party decides to get up for whatever reason, please, just all go at the same time.
  • When you do leave your seat, please don’t just barrel past us.  Please stop and say “excuse me, please” and then give us a chance to stand up to let you by.  Also, please be aware of drinks in the cup holders and don’t knock them over.  And please teach your children to do the same.  And please don’t bother to apologize every time you get up.  If you’re keeping it to a minimum, there is no reason to apologize, but if you are doing it a lot, we don’t believe that you are sorry anyway..  You’ve made no effort to be considerate, so your “I’m sorry” is just obnoxious.
  • If you are in a row with people behind you, please be aware that there are cup holders on the backs of the seats that the people behind you want to use.  Please do not hang your jackets over the back of the seats, or stick arms/elbows/hands back there, where they may well end up in the beer that I just paid $6.50 for.
  • If you are in a row with people in front of you, please do not allow your children to kick the backs of the seats.  And NOBODY should stick their feet on the back of any seat that someone is sitting in.
  • Please do not block the aisles in any way.  The steps are NOT seats; if you are in the ballpark, you have a seat there someplace, so go and sit in it.  Also please do not block access to the railings.  I need to be able to hold onto them to get up and down the steps, and there are others who do, to.  Blocking aisles is also a potential fire hazard.  Also, please supervise your kids and do not let them swing on the railings as if it were a jungle gym.  This not only blocks the aisles, but is dangerous.
  • If you are not sure of where your seats are, please ask an usher.  These staff members are easy to identify, as they are wearing bright blue or yellow Fisher Cats polo shirts that say “Guest Services Specialist” on the backs of them.  If the row you are sitting in has 20 seats, and you are seat number 16, for example, please do not enter the row at seat 1; it is better to enter at the other end.  Once again, if you are not sure, ask an usher, this is what they are there for.
  • A row of seats is NOT an aisle.  Just because I might be the only person sitting in that row at the moment, please do not use it as an aisle, and teach your kids the same.  Go up onto the concourse to move about, do not enter any row that has someone sitting in it, unless your seats are there.
  • Please don’t bring anything into the seating area that cannot fit in some way under the seats.  This makes it difficult for other people to get past you.  Baby strollers can be left on the concourse, or just pony up for parking in the Fisher Cats or Langer lots, leave the stroller in the car, and carry the kid.  If you need to use a wheelchair or a walker, please contact the ticket office about handicapped seating, they will be happy to help.  There is plenty of handicapped seating at the ballpark, with spaces for wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Speaking of babies, please do not change their diapers on the seats.  You wouldn’t like it if I took a pee or a crap on my seat, so how is a dirty diaper any different?  Anything to do with pee and poop belongs in the bathroom, and there are changing tables there for your convenience.  I believe they have them in the men’s room, as well.
  • Please do not ask me to watch your kids, so that you can get your drink on at the Sam Adams bar.  I will say NO, and so would most other random strangers you might ask.  If you leave the kid anyway after I refuse to babysit, please know that I will summon a staff member, report the child as being abandoned, and tell them to look for you at the bar.
  • When you visit the concession stands, please know what you want by the time it is your turn to order.  There are giant menus there on the walls that are easy to see.  If necessary, please stand off to the side and peruse the menu and decide what you want before getting into a line.  And once again, PLEASE teach your kids to do the same!  It’s the kids who are the worst offenders when it comes to holding up the lines.
  • Please bring cash!  It is fine to use plastic for a large order.  But if all you are getting is one hot dog, or one beer or something like that, cash is king, and it helps speed up the line.
  • When purchasing alcoholic beverages, please know that a photo I.D. is required for EVERYBODY.  They don’t care if you look like Fritz Wetherbee, or actually ARE Fritz Wetherbee.  You either show the I.D. or no beer for you.  Please do not stand there, holding up the line by arguing about this rule.  Please have it ready for when it is your turn to order.
  • There is no Bud Light anywhere in this ballpark.  So please don’t ask, and PLEASE don’t hold up lines by arguing about it.  This will not get Bud Light to magically appear.  Just because they have it at X other ballpark doesn’t mean they have to have it here.  Just get a Miller Lite or a Coors Light, they’re all the same watery swill anyway.
  • Please tip the concession workers.  It is not necessary, but it’s the nice thing to do.
  • If you are here visiting from out of town, and are a fan of the visiting team, please be respectful of the fans of the home team.  Surprisingly, out of all of the teams who we play, the worst offenders are NOT Trenton Thunder (Yankees affiliate) fans; they are Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox affiliate) fans.  I have also noticed that when we visit Hadlock Field (where the Sea Dogs play), when the Fisher Cats are there, the fans are just as obnoxious to anyone wearing Fisher Cats gear.  So local fans, please be respectful of the out-of-town fans, as well, even if they are acting like jerks.  Be the better person.
  • When moving through the concourse, please watch where you are going.  Please do not walk backwards, run, swing souvenir mini-bats, throw balls, etc.  If you wish to stand around on the concourse and hold a conversation, please do it someplace where it is not in other people’s way.
  • Finally, when entering and leaving the ballpark on foot, please walk on the sidewalk and not on the street.  The street is for cars.  The sidewalk is for pedestrians.  When you are walking on the street, you are blocking traffic and making it more difficult for people to get out.

Following these simple rules of etiquette will ensure that everybody has a great time at the ballpark!