Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Worst Fans In Baseball - And Loving It!

The greatest satisfaction I could ever get from being a bleacher bum - or a heckler in the box seats for that matter - is the knowledge that our heckling has such a negative effect on the opposition as to give a home-field advantage to our team. In 1988 that knowledge was verified.

Authors Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo, who wrote the Baseball Hall of Shame series of books, came out with a book titled, Baseball Confidential, an inside scoop on almost every aspect of the game, in the players' own words. One of the regular bleacher bums, named Kevin, came running down the stairs one game and said, "Hey, everybody, you won't believe this new book! We're in it!" And right there on page 212, in a section that lists the worst fans in baseball, long-time heckling target Kirk Gibson is one of the players quoted as to how bad the A's bleacher bums really are. We were ranked as the third worst [behaving] fans, behind the Yankees and Mets, with the Giants (that's me again!) and Phillies as 4th and 5th. A small excerpt:

At the Oakland Coliseum, fans bombard visiting players with a constant barrage of verbal garbage. "You hear them no matter where you are on the field," says Mark Gubicza of the Royals... One of the players whom Athletics fans love to hate is Kirk Gibson of the Tigers. "They target not only me, but my mother, my wife, my grandmother, my city, my IQ. I think they pass a sheet of paper out at the beginning of the year so they can memorize 20 nasty things to say to ballplayers. You hear the same kind of thing every inning. One guy will stand up and shout, 'What's the matter with Gibson?' [none other than yours truly!] And then 50 people will stand up and yell, 'He's a bum!' It's all orchestrated. They know that we players hear them. I don't think they're the real career-oriented type of people out there because they're always there at night and during the day. I wonder what these people do for a living because they never seem to be working."

Thank you, Kirk, for the rave review. As to who these bleacher bums really are and what they really do for a living I'll discuss in the next few posts. I'm sure the answer would have shocked Kirk Gibson.

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