The video above comes to us from our friend Ross at NYY Stadium Insider. He shot it in April as the crowd did the wave while Curtis Granderson legged out a triple. Few fans were paying attention to the actual game, and the audio on Ross’ video is quite hilarious. It serves as a great introduction to this morning’s guest column on the wave.
Written by Larry Koestler of Yankeeist, this piece explores why many die-hards and more than a few newcomers can’t stand the modern phenomenon of the wave. I’ve always enjoyed the “Take the wave to Shea” chant, still relevant today even if Shea is just a parking lot.
A disturbing trend has come to pass at Yankee Stadium during the 2010 campaign. No, it’s not the seemingly automatic way in which the Yankees continue to compile wins at their beautiful ballpark. Or the proliferation of ridiculous Yankee paraphernalia that fans deign to wear to the Stadium. No, I’m talking about something much more sinister and disturbing: people at Yankee Stadium have — shockingly, and much to many long-time Yankee fans’ collective chagrin — resuscitated The Wave from its rightful place in the mausoleum and have been seen performing this paean to boredom at nearly every Yankee home game thus far this season.
That’s right. The Wave. At Yankee Stadium. God help us all.
The Wave began in the 1980s as a way for fans of National League teams to pass the time, because nothing says fun like a lame human ripple effect ringing around the upper deck of a baseball stadium. Then again, if I had to watch my pitchers hit I’d be bored as hell, too.
Kidding aside, participating in The Wave is basically the most insulting thing you can do to your team. You are literally telling everyone — as you wait to see if it’s going to make it all the way around and back to your section — that (a) You absolutely do not care about the fact that you are fortunate enough to be attending a baseball game, and (b) You have absolutely no interest in what or how your team is doing. You may as well have switched caps with a fan of the opposing team, because seeing as how they made the trip out to Yankee Stadium from wherever they’re from, they actually give a damn about the fact that a baseball game is being played.
In addition to displaying a complete and utter lack of interest in the events unfolding directly in front of you, The Wave also serves as a distraction to the folks who showed up to watch a ballgame. While playing at home may not statistically hold much of an advantage, a team’s fans still play a large role in both cheering the team on and trying to psyche the opposition out. Perhaps the most frequently recurring comment from opposing teams — at least about the old Yankee Stadium — was that once those 55,000 fans got going, there was no other noise on earth quite like it. The sound was deafening. The acoustics of new Yankee Stadium don’t allow for quite the same decibel level, but the proceedings can still get pretty loud, especially come playoff time. If people are trying to start up a Wave, it can be an immense distraction to the paying fans who know better, and also takes the crowd out of the game — how can 45,000 people will their team to victory through intense cheering and clapping when forced to shake their heads in disbelief that their fellow fans would rather throw their arms up in the air than clap for two-strike fever?
As far as I’m concerned, real Yankee fans don’t do The Wave. I attended well over 100 games at the old Yankee Stadium, and I honestly can’t remember a single instance of people even attempting to do The Wave. While I’m sure it broke out several times over the years — most likely during the dark late 80s/early 90s — it must have dissipated as the Yankees got better, because I seldom recall seeing it this past decade. At the old house, if you tried to do The Wave in the Bronx you’d have been more mercilessly razzed than a Red Sox fan.
Speaking of which, do you ever see fans at Fenway Park do The Wave? If you have, it probably happens fairly infrequently — I don’t remember seeing The Wave take place during any of the Yankee-Sox games I’ve watched over the years. Do you know why? Because Boston fans are obsessed with baseball and love and respect their baseball team. The idea of The Wave rarely if ever crosses the mind of a Boston Red Sox fan, because BoSox fans live and die with every single pitch. Every single pitch. And it should never be crossing the mind of a New York Yankees fan.
Clearly one of the reasons behind this atrocity is that a good number of classic, die-hard Yankee fans have been priced out of the new Stadium, and their seats are now being filled with people who barely even realize they’re attending a baseball game. However, that does not excuse things, and also begs the question: Why are you spending money to attend a baseball game if you’re going to be that bored? Do you know how many Yankee fans would kill to have your seats on any given night? Additionally, I don’t care if the team is losing 30-1; I’d rather you leave in the 6th inning than feel the need to participate in this atrocity.
I can’t believe I even feel the need to write about this; but it keeps coming up and something needs to be done about it. I was apoplectic when I saw The Wave at the first Yankee game I attended this season and actually had to stand up and put both hands up in an effort to “stop” The Wave while scolding everyone in my section. The Wave reared its ugly head again when I was back at the Stadium a couple of weeks ago, and I once again went hoarse yelling at people to quit doing it. And last week, Michael Kay even pointed out that people at Yankee Stadium were doing The Wave on the YES broadcast, which was the last straw.
So to the people who have been attending games at Yankee Stadium this season, I implore you: Stop doing The Wave. It’s incredibly disrespectful to the game and the players and makes all Yankee fans look like we couldn’t care less. Obviously that couldn’t be further from the truth, and I know not everyone attending a baseball game at Yankee Stadium is going to be hanging on every single pitch through all nine innings like obsessives such as myself, but if you’re really that bored, then go home. Or if you absolutely must do The Wave at a baseball game, then become a Mets fan and bring it to Citi Field, where it belongs.
Larry Koestler eats, drinks, sleeps and breathes the Yankees at his blog Yankeeist.