The Dip: On Fan Etiquette – Phillies Nation

The Dip: On Fan Etiquette

Boo?When it comes to freedom of expression at sporting events, it’s a common refrain that the fan –  who pays his money – has the right to do what he or she wants,  short of disturbing the game or seriously compromising other fans’ enjoyment.  You can’t fight, you can’t swear profusely, you can’t be falling down drunk (most of the time), and you sure as heck can’t run on the field.  In short, there are parameters.  While at times the line may be hazy, I think we all have a basic understanding as to what it is.   But among true, dyed-in-the-wool, baseball fans, I have found that a higher code exists.  Some observations and opinions:

When a fan is in their own stadium, things aren’t that difficult.  You can heckle, in  reasonable degree, anyone on the field:  visiting players, your players, umps, mascots, grounds crew…whoever.   Be anywhere between gracious to tolerant towards fans of opposing teams, for most of them are probably pretty cool.  They are permitted to wear their teams caps, jerseys, etc.  They are fans, too.  They just have a different home.  Some of the most pleasant experiences I have had at games is sitting down next to a knowledgeable and civil fan of the other team and sharing some good old fashioned baseball talk.  Cardinals fans are great.

Unfortunately, I have also had bad experiences with opposing fans.  My manner in dealing with them has surely become more tempered as the years have gone by but when an opposing fans’ conduct reaches a certain point, I feel that they should be taken in hand.  That said, here are some suggestions for fans, Phils fans also, when seeing a game in another teams park:

  1. When you get to your seats, try and introduce yourself to the fans seated immediately near you.  Demonstrate that you’re a real person with admirable qualities before the wedge of fandom is driven between you and the rest of the patrons.
  2. Never heckle their players if it is known you are a visiting fan (this is a no-brainer).
  3. When reacting to good plays by your team, try to stay seated and clap.  More than a golf clap but less that a WWF clap.  If there is a homer, you may stand and clap.  Do not yell “YES!”, or hoot, or scream “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’  ‘BOUT” at any time.  Do not stand and high five your mates.
  4. Do not cheer the home teams’ errors.  A golf clap is fine.
  5. Use your common sense.  If the game heats up and it’s close, you may elevate your intensity a little bit.  The other fans are fans, too – they should understand.

If you haven’t divined this by now, the governing concept should be that you are a guest in their “house”.   While not cowering or being intimidated, accord them some respect.  Root for your team without showing up their team.   Disagree?

Yes, I did say that at times some fans must be advised that their behavior is unacceptable.  An illustration:  A couple of weeks ago I got a couple of tickets in the rich seats against the Cubs behind the visitor’s dugout.  There was a corny, middle aged man who would stand up and cheer every Cub success and every Phils foible vociferously, while at times turning around and pointing at the crowd.  He was taunting.  When the Cubs ran in from the field he stood up and cheered and Soriano winked at him at one point which sent our section into a lather.  From that point he was treated to a torrent of barbs and tongue lashings until his insubordinate manner had been adjusted.  No swearing.  No “mom” talk.  Just good old fashioned, razor sharp heckling.  I was involved.  The point of the story is that, while it is nice to be a gracious host, those who seek to take advantage of your hospitality to an unreasonable degree should be addressed and inspired to moderate their conduct.   In the end, we probably ended up doing that guy a favor.

So, there it is.  The Dispy’s little handbook on fan etiquette.  While I don’t hold it up to be the Emily Post of fan conduct, I think its all pretty reasonable and if we all followed it, we should all be in good stead.  Am I a little territorial and provincial?  Perhaps.  But I’m a fan.



  1. Jeff of Nova

    June 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Hey Dipsy might want to post that down here in DC, I have been to countless Phil/Nats games and the Phils fans treat the place like it is theirs, which I am at many times ashamed to be associated with them

    Good to know there are people out there that understand that baseball has stood the test of time and is truly a gentleman’s game

  2. Scotch Man

    June 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I’d like to add one! Don’t do the freakin’ wave in the 9th inning during a save situation! Couldn’t have been more furious the other week when Lidge has loaded bases in the 9th and 3/4 of the morons there are doing the wave! Total violation! The wave is for blowouts only!

  3. Bart Shart

    June 15, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Interesting post. Since Philly fans are considered the most obnoxious in USA professional sports, this might be a good read for folks at the ballpark. Perhaps the teams could pass this advice out in yearbooks and programs.

  4. Chuck

    June 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Good stuff. I’ll try to keep in all in mind as I attend baseball games, both here and on the road. If, for some reason, it doesn’t work…..then I will simply say, “Well, The Dipsy told me to do it.” I’m sure the other fans will then understand and cut me a break.

    Go Phillies!!!!!!!

  5. bfo_33

    June 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Dipsy, perfect timing. I work in North Jersey, surrounded by Yanks and Mets fans. Most of them would fit in with any Phils fan, just rout (or root, never really sure which is right) for a different team. One of my co-workers is a die-hard Yanks fan, and partial season ticket holder. He asked me to go tonight (with Doc on the mound).

    Of course there is a problem. My oldest son is in his first year of little league. They have a pretty good team, and managed to squeak into the playoffs, which start tonight. Chances for a victory are slim, though..

    My question here is, while I will wear my hat (but no Phils shirt – don’t want to go overboard), and behave in an appropriate manner, what do I get my son for missing his first LL playoff game?

  6. Trini

    June 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I just spent the weekend in Boston for the Phils/Boston massacre. I was delightfully shocked at the Boston fans and how friendly they were to us Phils fans. Yes, this wasn’t Yankees/Sox, but everybody there was cordial and most went above and beyond to help. I even had the balls to ask a Sox fan which way to go on the subway, and he politely led me in the right direction. I was also proud of the Phillies fans for not making total a$$es of themselves in another teams ballpark. There was no obnoxious heckling to be had, the home fans were more than polite, and despite the fact that the phils got killed, it was an ejoyable time. Moral of the story…although I love Philly sports fans, the Phillies/Eagles/Flyers, and the Philly “attitude,” it was a breath of fresh air to be just enjoy the game without all the drama that usually comes with it.

  7. Tomato Tim

    June 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hopefully everyone else at CBP will follow this code when I bring my little brother to the Phillies-Indians game on the 24th. He somehow became an Indians fan and I am hoping he will be treated kindly.

  8. Dave

    June 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    The Yankee front office should have read this before the World Series last year. They sat in the section next to us ( the game that Lidge blew with Damon stealing 2nd and 3rd) and stayed after the game standing and chanting. As a result, a fight broke out. Of course our fans probably didn’t behave any better at Yankee Stadium.

  9. Ed R.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    To add to what Scotch Man said…don’t do the wave, ever. It’s stupid.

    Great article Dipsy. Couldn’t agree more. I have said on numerous occasions on these boards that I welcome opposing fans to CBP and welcome them cheering for their team. They have every right to do so. But when cheering turns into taunting that’s when I have an issue. And that especially goes for the Phillies fans that travel to other parks. Don’t act like a jackass in someone elses kitchen and then get all pissy and defensive when it is done at CBP. It’s all about respect, I don’t understand why more people don’t understand that.

  10. That Balls Outta Here

    June 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I especially liked the TD Garden public address announcer pleading with Celtics fans not to hurl things onto the court.

  11. That Balls Outta Here

    June 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Also, has anybody ever met an Astros fan? I know they exist but they’re one of the few franchises I’ve never met a true advocate for.

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  13. Phan in the outfield

    June 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I live in NYC, as I have for some yrs. I was born in Phila, raised in the midwest, went to college in DC, and have spent a good deal of time in the south w/family, as well as in Boston, LA, and other places on business and w/friends. As far as I’m able to tell Philadelphia fans have a poor reputation b/c so many media articles are written by media based in NYC. The Phila fans have never seemed worse or better than anywhere else I’ve been. I’ve seen some really rotten things happen in other cities (and heard about really vile things I’m happy I wasn’t around in other cities) and I can’t imagine why those things never make the national news. My guess is that unless they happen at a Phila the media isn’t interested.

  14. Phan in the outfield

    June 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    That should be * happen at a Phila game then the * media isn’t interested. Sorry ’bout that.

  15. outta chi-town

    June 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I have gone to the cubs / phillies games for the last 5 seasons or so, maybe not this year since they sold out within the first 4 hrs of sales. I will get decked out with the shirt and hat, and proudly tout the colors of the phillies. I know it is a means to attract some attention, but it also is open to the exchange that should ensue. I think the best part of visiting an opponents park is that you will be able to open up the line of banter and communication with other fans. It can be fun and civil when both sides get representation at a game, the only drawback has ever been that the drunks in the bleachers, who couldnt spot the difference between rollins and howard when either were batting, but I agree restraint in the stands is necessary. Philly already has such a vile reputation that you want to be the ambassador to show that we’re fans not all just a-holes.

  16. boxage

    June 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Unfortunately, I know of a man who lives in the heart of Philadelphia and is an astro’s fan. His twin brother is a Phillies fan. I wish i knew what went wrong.

  17. Phan in Atl

    June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I go to as many Phils games in Atlanta that my schedule allows. Pregame they show a video basically making fun of everything associated with Philly, not just baseball but the city as a whole. To me, that’s taunting by the Braves’ organization. Does this happen at CBP?

  18. Adam

    June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Bfo – go to your son’s game!! This is the stuff that impacts him positively later.. Even if he doesn’t remeber why. He’ll thank you by making your life easier down the road.

  19. Bob in Bucks

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    BFO – As a father, I implore you to go to your kid’s game. It will mean a lot more to him than going to the Phils/Yankees game means to you. And in the long run that is a lot more important. There will be plenty of Phils/Yankees games in the future but only one first LL playoff game. This is a “no brainer.”

  20. Phan in the outfield

    June 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Atl Phan – I think this is bad that they run a video in the park prior to the game that bashes the city of Philadelphia as a whole – rather than something that comedically, light-heartedly makes fun of the team. The Braves org must’ve spent the money for it. That’s pretty objectionable. I’ve never heard of anything like that.

    outta chi-town – This is kind of my point. One of my co-workers is a Phillies fan and she went to the WS games at Yankee Stadium last yr. She had to hide the Phillies gear she wore riding the subway to the game. She watched Yankee fans verbally abuse, and get really rammy with a few Phillies fans one night. It freaked her out. Of course this doesn’t make the news. Only the bad stuff about Phillies fans does.

  21. Adrian

    June 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    It’s disappointing the reputation that some rowdy fans have created for the rest of us. Over the past year or two, I’ve been getting vibes from numerous people that Philly fans are even worse than New York or Boston. I feel a great allegiance to the team and to complete strangers who love them as much as I do, but it is really annoying how bad some people behave.

    I’ve attended several baseball games both in and out of Philly and have experienced some really stupid and inexcusable acts by fans like the ones explained above. Most of these people don’t realize what fools they’re making of themselves and that at a sporting event, there are always young children present.

    I’m headed to a game at the end of the month, and I hope to see what I always want to see – a good ballgame, both on the field and in the stands.

  22. outta chi-town

    June 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    With the recent heat between Chicago and Philly from the Stanley Cup finals it was disappointing to read articles in Chicago that stated how “Philadelphia doesn’t deserve a championship”. This from a fan basethat i have actually admired through the years. But with the rash of embarrassment from the puker, taser teen, and beer baby it is difficult to justify the actions of a few really thoughtless people (people, not fans, people). It may be New York media, but more it has more to do with the success of the teams and the increase in attendance.

    There will be jerks at every sporting event; but when the team does well and can bring out the fairweathered because it becomes more about the scene than the event then you have people act as they do in their local dive.

    It’s disappointing when the fans are so maligned by sports and non sports fans alike, and project that as a reputation of an entire Metropolitan area. Philly is better than that.

  23. Bruce

    June 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Bottom line is as a fan you use COMMON SENSE (provided you have one) in both home and visiting park. Tolerance and patience are virtues that should be on display at all times in a ballpark. And you don’t need someone’s version of ” fan etiquette” to know that.

  24. George

    June 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Phan in Atl:

    I’ve been to a couple of games at Turner Field, but have never seen this video. I will say that the many of the southerners I’ve met have such a territorial mindset and inferiority complex that it wouldn’t surprise me at all that something like this bashing of a northern city would occur.


    Go to your son’s game. Do you want your boy to think his own father doesn’t give a sh*t about what he’s doing? After a couple of decades, I’m still living with all those times my own father didn’t show up for my childhood activities. Besides, it’s really rewarding to the FATHER to see his own son play. You’d kick yourself if your boy drove in the winning run and you missed it. You’d kick yourself, too, if you weren’t there to ease his distress should he strike out or make an error.

  25. The Dipsy

    June 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    My dad came to my games and I wish he HADN’T. What a nut. No one could call balls and strikes like my old man, especially when I was either pitching or batting. He used to drive me around when I sold peanut brittle and if someone told me they weren’t interested my dad would get outta the car and run to the door and give them the what for. I sold a lot of peanut brittle. Whatever I didn’t sell, my dad would buy the rest. Lots of bad teeth in my house. I had 7 cavities by the time I was 14. That said, my dad did make the effort so and that I’m grateful for later in live. At least he cared…in his own twisted and demented way.

    The Dipsy

  26. Chuck

    June 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Going to your kid’s events….whether its sports or anything else is WAAAAYYY more important than going to an MLB game. Our kids NEED us to support them in their efforts… matter what it is.

  27. Bart Shart

    June 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    My dad once brought my grandfather to a game in South Jersey where I was pitching. My grandad was a drunk and mean as a skunk. He always embarrassed me to death. Well, Grandpa was half tuned when he arrived at the game and brought a sixpack of Ortliebs with him. He was hectoring me and the umpire and just about everyone else for the first two innings. Then I guess he finished his beers. At about the fourth inning, he crapped himself and had to be helped out of the bleachers (he was sitting on the top row). I learned about this at about the fifth inning and he was still at the game away from everone else, still hollering and hassling . I’ll never forget it. I laugh about it now but was totally humiliated at the time. My teammates, many of whom are still dear friends, laughed so hard it softened the humiliation I felt. They still remind me of this from time to time, even though it is ancient history. NEVER did my dad bring my GrandPOOP to the game again. NEVER… Of course, GrandPOOP blamed my grandmother for his humiliating event, saying it was bad beef in the beef stew he had for dinner.

  28. Phan in the outfield

    June 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Re: Fan issues – Sorry, I still think the same fan issues exist everywhere. I’m sure you’ll find toddlers w/parents at other stadiums holding empty beer bottles. Media focus may be on the Phillie fans now b/c the Phillies have spent 3 yrs winning, but I’m not sure that’s what this is about. If the Santa Clause story gets told one more time, I’ll scream. . . it’s entered the realm of mythology. It’s beyond ridiculous.

    My Dad is retired, but he traveled extensively for a large int’l corp. He used to make fun of the fact that even the dog ignored him when he came home. As a girl, the sports I played weren’t considered “serious” by anyone: the school or my parents, no matter how good you were (live with that one). But I did a lot of art things, drawing comps; singing; dance; plays. I have memories of being on stage in a quiet auditorium and hearing the door at the back of hall slam. Generally it would be my Dad just having flown in from somewhere, but he made his way to the show in his suit & tie to watch me. I hated it then – I love him so much for it now.

  29. Bart Shart

    June 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    It is indeed important for parents to show interest and attend their childrens’ sporting events. Even more important, in my opinion, is for parents to get involved and show interest in a child’s grades and subject matter in school. If a child is struggling in a key subject like math, reading or english, then going to a professional tutor is important if the parent cannot help the child. If money is an issue, often, community resources are available. In school, a simple stumbling block in a key subject can be like falling off a cliff, especially true in the key subject areas. They are vital and not only are measurments of intelligence but self-esteem. Just my two cents here. Thank heavens that my folks were keenly focused on school work. Sports were important but secondary to school subjects and grades.

  30. shag beta sigma delta

    June 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    there is a couple of things that I would adjust, if you are in a section that is entirly Phillies fans (or any visiting team) in say DC, you can be a little more intense, not sure that is the right word, then if you are with a few friends in a row surronded by the home team fans.

  31. Badfinger

    June 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    “When reacting to good plays by your team, try to stay seated and clap. More than a golf clap but less that a WWF clap. If there is a homer, you may stand and clap. Do not yell “YES!”, or hoot, or scream “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ‘BOUT” at any time. Do not stand and high five your mates.”

    This is silly. Why would you not stand and cheer? If I was in CBP and someone did that, as long as they were cheering for their team instead of against mine, why should I have a problem with that? High Fives all around.

  32. Kate

    June 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    There are great fans and jerk fans everywhere.

    My dad never showed up for anything I ever did, whether it was sports or plays or shows or just simple stuff. We get along now, but we never got close until I was well into my twenties.

    Go to your kid’s game, show you give a sh*t about him. Believe me, it makes a difference.

  33. The Dipsy

    June 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Good…err…point….err…..Bart. Have you visited the NPR site?

    The Dipsy

  34. Brooks

    June 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I’m headed to the game with Keith tomorrow night. We are taking the train up and we are wearing our Phillies gear.

    Our seats are in the OF, not the “rich” section.

    Now, I won’t be wearing my red wig but will be displaying the colors. I will be cheering the Phils on and I don’t consider it a good game unless my voice is gone the next day.

    Any suggestions dipsy?

  35. miked63

    June 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I cannot believe anyone would even consider not seeing theyr’e sons 1st playoff game for any reason ( except a real emergency ). Both my parents attended 90% of my games , and i played 3 sports , so it was all year round. Now as a father of 2 teenagers , poppy , mom-mom , my wife and myself have gone 2 just about all the games since they were little. The whole family goes out to eat afterwards , nothings better , its the best part of life. That kids gonna have one 1st playoff game , and no self respecting parent would even consider missing it. Come on dude get a grip !

  36. The Dipsy

    June 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Gargle the next day?

    The Dipsy

  37. lou

    June 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

    id like to address the man that made the first comment in that yes we do take it over and if you were as passionate about your team as we are then you would take it back but you cant so were going to keep on doing it i cant wait till the end of July. see you soon jeff

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  39. Georgie

    June 16, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Dips, really nice piece, needed to be said. MLB should adopt these rules, it would make for a much nicer environment at the games.

    Great dad stories…Bart, is your screen name derived from Grandpoop?

  40. Jim

    June 22, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I wonder how much I will get taunted by you Phils fans wearing a Toronto Blue Jays jersey and hat come Sunday afternoon?

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