I have two hard and fast rules when it comes to what one wears at specific occasions.
One, when at a concert, one shouldn’t wear a t-shirt of the performing band(s). Two, when at a sporting event, one can either wear the garb of one of the teams involved, or something within the milieu of the sport but distant enough where it lends credibility, e.g., a Milwaukee Braves jersey at a Brewers or Braves game is cool. A New York Knights jersey at a Yankees game would also be acceptable. (In fairness, a Roy Hobbs jersey can and should be worn anywhere.)
A Chicago Cubs jersey at a Milwaukee Brewers-Cincinnati Reds tilt is not.
Yet, this is the situation in which we found ourselves yesterday at Miller Park, where a gentleman in an Alfonso Soriano jersey inexplicably showed up and heckled the Brewers relentlessly from the comfort of his field level seat down the left foul line. The Cubs were not involved; they had already dismantled the Brewers’ hopes for claiming the NL Central a week ago.
Did our gentleman have anything better to do than have a few cold ones and bro out in obnoxious ways? Apparently not. There is not enough satisfaction in having taken the season series and the division. No, our man needed to show up at a game in which he had zero rooting interest or investment and lay it on Ryan Braun because our subject didn’t get a baseball.
Granted, Cubs fan money spends as well as anyone else’s, and there were plenty of good seats still available at Miller Park, but really? If I’m at a game in which I have no skin, I’m there to enjoy the game. Going to a Twins-Rangers tilt at Target Field does not somehow enable me to lustily berate Joe Mauer.
Plus, he may be one of 17 people left who actually owns a Cubs Soriano jersey. Did he not get the memo that Soriano was pretty thoroughly hated toward the end of his time on the North Side?
As a paying patron, a fan has certain rights and privileges. Cheer, boo, start the wave, whatever. If you’re a third-party patron, though, be there for the right reason: love of the game. Not to somehow quixotically ingratiate one’s self to the females one happens to have along for the afternoon. (As I said before, Cubs fan money spends as well as anyone’s.)
On an unusually brilliant and gorgeous afternoon in late September, with the Brewers playing meaningful late-season baseball in their final home game of the regular season, we were graced by the presence of a Cubs bro with nothing better to do. Thankfully, the Brewers played good baseball and earned a 4-3 victory over the Reds. Our man had nothing left to say.
Indeed, he had nothing left at all.
Yes, Cubs fans and Brewers fans are oil and water, as are Yankees and Red Sox fans or those of the Giants and Dodgers varieties. But, please, save your ammunition for when rival teams face each other. If you have no rooting interest, don’t try to create any. No one wins in that situation.
Please, don’t be that guy.
Brent Sirvio is a co-founder of Bronx to Bushville.