Signs of good cheer(ing sections)

In some ways, a sporting event is like an old timey, fun timey melodrama. We have our heros, we have our villains and we, the fans, play our part as the audience by cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys. In true dramatic fashion, sports fans have written a robust history of wacky and off-the-wall traditions. From the Darth Vader Masks of the Oakland Raiders to tossing octopi on the ice for the Red Wings in Detroit, fan traditions and cheering sections are as varied as they are oddball.  Recently, the Angels designated a new addition to the stadium.

The Trout Farm is the official cheering section for Mike Trout and sits in left field seats next to the bullpen, where Mike Trout often sets up shop on defense. Unlike previous fan-created cheering sections of MatsuiLand and ToriiTown in right field, the Trout Farm was set up by team management to help keep the excitement high for last season’s Rookie of the Year. During home games, the section comes alive with pounding thundersticks, waving cardboard cutouts of Trout’s face, and free team t-shirts. Indeed, if the whole stadium were as up for the game as the Trout farm, perhaps West Coast sports fans would not have the “lazy” stigma that fans in other locales seem to enjoy labelling us with.

While the Angels play has shown improvement as of late, fan enthusiasm remains somewhat low. Perhaps the key to unlocking the inner madness of fandom lies in the cheering section formula. At the Big A, there is a large swatch of landscaping near the rock pile in center field that provides golden opportunity for a new cheering section. It will require remodeling, of course, but after a few coils of barbed wire, a few makeshift trenches, and some strategically placed mortars to launch fireworks, you’ve got the Angels Firing Range where Howie Kendrick can fire at will with his HK-47 and Mark Trumbo can practice his pinpoint accuracy dropping Trumbombs on the few fans fortunate enough to gain access to this new cheering section. Complete the motif with a couple of T-shirt launchers and watch the outfield roar!

Another idea is to simply update current seating areas. The area behind the visitor’s dugout should be hostile territory for opposing teams, but fans are often welcoming, choosing not to heckle other teams (with the Yankees, Red Sox and AJ Pierzynski being notable exceptions). Heckling, of course, is immature when performed solo, but a coordinated effort can be seen as a show of solidarity amongst fans.

The stretch of field level seats from home plate to first base then, should be the Bourjos Belt. Leadoff man Peter Bourjos, in true Willie Mays Hayes fashion, can be seen attempting to use his speed to leg out a single several times per game. Can you imagine how much faster he’d run if fans in the Bourjos Belt performed the wave as he ran past? Not even The Flash could leave a wake that impressive!

When Josh Hamilton was brought in to the Angels, fans looked forward to his bat more than his outfield performance. If we’re naming something for Hamilton’s bat though, we we need to call the upper decks at the stadium the “Baseball Town” whenever he knocks a foul ball up there. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s accentuate the positive. Namely, some of the highlight reel catches Josh is making in right field. A group of fans sometimes wave signs in right field declaring it “Hamiltown”. That’s a great name, but we can go even further. The outfield dirt shall henceforth be known as the Hamiltrack, where Josh attempts to steal space in the highlight reel from Mike Trout.

Regardless of where you sit or whom you cheer for when attending the games, remember that the point of going to a live game is to have fun. Cheer your team, boo the other team (hell, boo your own team if you’re in Boston or New York and they’re not doing well), but get out there and have a good time. If you’re going to a live game just to be depressing and negative, you’re better off just staying home. Alternatively, if enough negativity starts entering the stadium, maybe we can name the bullpen too. We can watch as the merely depressing bullpen morphs into the the Poltergeist ‘Pen of Pitchers Past, where the spirits of Donnie Moore and Justin Speier steal control from relief pitchers’ fastballs. Couldn’t be any scarier than the current bullpen anyway.