5 In-Game "Entertainment" Tactics That Must Go

The Wave? The F-In Wave? You People Should Be Ashamed of Yourselves

I am clearly missing something. Perhaps the sports and games I love are being marketed to people, to fans, unlike me. I go to a good number of sporting events every year. I have season tickets to the Mets. My buddy hooks me up with at least two or three home Jets games per season. I usually tag on a Mets and Jets road trip, as well as one major college game per year. Maybe even a hockey game here or there. Truth be told, I have even gone to watch the New York Knickerbockers on occasion. Yes, even during the Zeke era.

So, having been to my fair share of sporting events at arenas, stadiums and ballparks around this fine country, and having watched hundreds of other sporting events on TV, I’ve formed an opinion on a few things. In-game entertainment is one of those things. Simply put, it makes me angry. Not to sound like a snotty purist, but some of this stuff just doesn’t really belong. Anywhere. Ever.

More specifically, here are a few in-game entertainment “innovations” that I am less than enamored by.

Dishonorable Mention: The “Everybody Clap Your Hands Song” (a.k.a Cha Cha Slide)
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The dude above is DJ Casper. I have no problem with him or his chart-topping “Cha Cha Slide.” In fact, I rather enjoy it when that little dude dances around dipping his nuggets and apple slices in the Mickey D’s commercial. Here’s what I do take issue with…parks around the country playing the “everybody clap your hands” lyric from that song over and over again, spurring a frightening number of mindless trolls (many grown adults mind you) in the crowd to giggle uncontrollably and giddily while they, you guessed it, clap their hands.

Really? We need to be told to clap our hands? I guess this should not surprise me. Stadium PAs and jumbotrons universally assume fans are dumb-as-rocks and need visual and audio cues in order to do certain things. “Make noise!” “Stand up!” Why would clapping your hands be any different?

#5 Worst Offender: The T-Shirt Launch
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Though surely quite a technological marvel, the t-shirt launcher should be tossed away with the same propulsion force with which it emits $2 Ts. Seeing grown men and women disregard life and limb to scramble for a sponsor-branded white T-shirt that has already plopped up and down a series of beer-soaked stadium/arena steps is a sight I could easily do without. It’s particularly disturbing when those perpetrators are folks comfortably seated in the not-close-to-cheap seats.

Of course what I love most is the fans all around the venue, furiously flailing their arms to grab the attention of the teenagers, many of them a half mile way, wielding their all-powerful cannons. Oh yes, and someone is going to die one of these days falling from the upper deck reaching for one of those high-quality cotton Ts with a huge Pepsi logo on the back. Now the hotdog gun, that’s a whole ‘nother story…

#4 Worst Offender: CHARGE!
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Give me a spine-tingling soundtrack accompanying some William Wallace highlights and color me mildly motivated. But the typical duh-duh-duh-duh-da-dah! organ music followed by C-H-A-R-G-E in big bold letters on the scoreboard just doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I know it’s kind of an old-school thing, but doesn’t CHARGE! seem a weird battlecry to be blaring from the speakers in the middle of the seventh of a 0-0 pitchers duel?

# 3 Worst Offender: Mind-Numbing Jumbotron Races
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The sausage race in Milwaukee? Awesome. A real race. High entertainment value. If you’re lucky, an occasional open field tackle of the Italian or Polish. Heck, it’s even a multi-cultural extravaganza these days. Fantastic.

Not fantastic? The animated “races” often displayed on Jumbotrons that provide no logical reason for fans to cheer or yell. Yet they do. For example, at Shea they used to have these airplane and car races where the little cartoon-like vehicle or aircraft would circle around NYC and then race to the finish once inside Shea! They were colored to coincide with different seating sections in the ballpark. Crowd noise had no impact on the outcome. The winning car added points to their color’s standings. These standings were of no consequence to anyone. There were no fan prizes, for instance. Yet, still, people shouted with great energy. I don’t get it. I’m not sure I ever will.

#2 Worst Offender: Thundersticks
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Everything about thundersticks pisses me off. For starters, some person, somewhere, came up with the idea to make inflatable little plastic “sticks” that one could bang together and make noise. This person is now making millions of dollars for life. This fact bothers me greatly.

Oh yes, his/her “invention” is also a bane on the fan experience. You want to bang those things around at certain “relevant” moments during a game? OK. Somebody scores a touchdown? Homerun? Hat trick? Sure. Get up and violently whack your little plastic wands together.

But with one out in the fourth inning between the 1-1 pitch…and the 1-2 pitch…and the 2-2 pitch…or the timeout during a hoops game. It seriously makes me want to take those sticks and being pummeling you. I don’t care if you’re six, sixteen or sixty.

#1 Worst Offender and Enemy of All Fans Worldwide: The F-in Wave
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Does this even require an explanation? The Wave is a tradition in sporting venues around the world. For what reason, we are still unclear. Aside from the always valuable opportunity to stretch, the wave has no redeeming qualities. It is usually most enthusiastically supported by those with the least knowledge of what the hell is going on with the team, game or sport that is taking place within the stadium or arena in which they sit.

It always brings a smile to my face knowing that thousands of morons have managed to stand up and raise their arms…typically when the home team is getting embarrassed. You know, your baseball squad is down 7-0 in the fourth. Time for the wave! Show’s a lot of “fan intelligence.” Oh, and when it makes its way all the way around the stadium and that roar emanates…be still my heart. It’s what makes a fan, a fan. Don’t you think?

So, what modern marketing marvel regularly making the rounds in today’s sporting venues gets under your skin?

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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Along the lines of the T-shirt shooter. . . I was at a Sioux City Musketeers game (USHL) and they had a hot dog shooter. Hot Dog and bun, wrapped in paper, shot at the adoring fans. It was worse than shooting rice bags to futbol fans in Somalia. . . .

  2. todd hunter says:

    I’m inclined to agree with you about the wave, but one of my most memorable moments as a sports fan is when I started a wave all by myself when I was seven at Three Rivers. Now I just kind of smile at them and keep track of everyone over the age of, oh, say twelve who treats it like a big deal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. The wave is a blight on baseball. While I believe it is supposed to be a cheer to encourage the offense (I personally don’t think it’s ever appropriate), it seems happen when the home team is pitching, because the lame “fans” are so bored with the sport they came to see, they decide their entertainment value would be increased by standing and yelling and then waiting in anticipation of enough other people standing and yelling long enough that they may be able to stand and yell again, all while ignoring the action on the field.
    I say you add annoying mascots who “work the audience” during the game as an honorable mention. Doing this between innings or during a timeout is one thing, but when the game is being played, it’s another. I had third row seats to a Rockets game and that stupid f’ing bear kept trying to “play” with us. I’m trying to watch the game a-hole.

  4. David says:

    Minor League game in Prince William County, VA many years ago, for “Cup & Clicker” night.

    Every kid was given a blue cup from some insurance company, and a small clicking noisemaker that sounded like a sick cricket.

    1st inning… “Boy, those kids sure make a lot of noise with those clickers”

    2nd inning… “That’s kind of an annoying noise, but they’ll get tired of it soon”

    6th inning… “Are you freakin’ kidding me those kids won’t stop!”

    9th inning… my mind is numb, the whole world has washed away… death is near.

  5. GB in Louisville says:

    I was at a Bengals game about 15 years ago. I was sitting in the end zone & Cincy was clinging to a lead with the other team ready to score on my end. It was a tense late game situation & a fan in the front row was upset at the other fans & had turned away from the field to berate the rest of us. Were we not cheering loud enough? No. This clown was mad because he couldn’t get the wave started. He had completely abondoned the exciting end of this game in an effort to start the stupid wave.

  6. There are some who call me... Tim says:

    I can’t disagree with any on your list. As an honorable mention, I’d like to add the “Noise Meter” episodes, where the hosts try to get the fans to cheer louder than a jet engine. Yeah – good idea – let’s get 15,000 (this only really works in indoor arenas) pushing the decibel level up to “ear bleed”.

    (On a side note, one of my favorite opening scenes on “Cheers” was Diane telling two customers that she’s only waitressing until she becomes a writer, and that she’s not like the sport-craved sheep in the rest of the bar, but then she joins in a perfectly timed wave.)

  7. Dutch's Wormhole says:

    i agree with only the cha cha and the wave. it is ridiculous that fans need to be told when to clap or how to be “fans,” but i put most of the onus on those attending the game. and the wave, is just stupid and when you dont participate at a game, people around you look at you like youre the one with a problem.

    the t shirt shooter is awesome. seriously, who doesnt like a free shirt? to me, “charge” is way too nostalgic to hate on. the thundersticks i could take or leave. in fact, i refused them at a recent event. but they honestly make a hell of a lot of noise, so theyre kind of cool for the atmosphere.

  8. Anonymous says:

    i totally agree with you about the wave. There isn’t one scenario in a game where it seems apropriate. It distracts people from the game. I agree with you when you said that all of the people doing the wave are not real fans. The do it because thet’re bored. The wave can be done in certain places, just not sporting events.

  9. hemi says:

    I admit that I’ve occasionally participated in the dreaded wave, but it was usually due to my inability to resist peer pressure from those around me. Then again, it doesn’t hurt when the group behind me is a pack of half-drunk sorority girls nudging me on to join the wave as it comes around. After all, I’ve done lamer things at the requst of a beautiful female.

  10. Anonymous says:

    wow you’re stupid, you are one of those fans that piss me off. Those type of fans that think they know everything about a gameso therefore to “look” smarter than everybody else they refuse to have fun. Its a game! you’re off work with the family! Its alright to act stupid sometimes

  11. Anonymous says:

    go to a penn state football game and your opinion of the wave will quickly change. 110,000 people doing the wave is quite a sight, let me tell you. it is awesome. i even have a video of it.

  12. Cecilio's Scribe says:

    to each their own, anon. it has nothing to do with not having fun. go ahead and stand up and wave your arms, and have your kids perpetually bang those thundersticks together between pitches, if that’s what does it for you. just don’t trample anyone on the way for a t-shirt. wonder if you’d be the guy who keeps the foul ball for himself, too.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Although I do agree with your opinions on the wave, I am inclined to disagree when it comes to the ‘Mexican Wave,’ which has been recently banned from cricket matches throughout Australia. While attending a recent One Day International match between Australia and India, I was introduced to this glorious derivation on the American classic. Instead of merely standing and waving your hands in the air like an idiot, you stand and chuck whatever half-drank beer or half-eaten piece of food you can get your hands on over your head, pummeling spectators behind you! Though this does risk wasting a perfectly good beer, the thrill of coating some beauty behind you more than makes up for it!

  14. Anonymous says:

    i went to a Triple A game in Des Moines and they did the wave. i thought it was terrible, mostly because they were playing a team from New Orleans…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Nice list. I hate the wave too – but one song that I hate even more that is played at way too many sporting events is that horrible song “Cotton Eye-d Joe.” Even after 10 beers that song sucks.

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