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Rich In Thought - Sit Down, These Aint The Cheap Seats
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I recently had the pleasure – and luxury given their cost – of some excellent seats for games of both local major league baseball teams as they pursued the post season.

In September, as a birthday gift, I received a pair of “Diamond Level” seats for my Oakland Athletics as they chased the AL Western Division crown. For those not in the know, “Diamond Level” are the cushy seats behind home plate on the same level as the playing field that provide a concierge experience of food, service, and being closer to the batter than the pitcher.

In October, I attended Game 6 of the NLCS, three rows from the field, to see the Giants on their way to the World Series beating the Cardinals.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed both competitions where I was close enough to smell the grass and hear the spikes crunching on the ground, the Type A in me had slight annoyances from certain types of individuals where I felt the necessity to speak my mind.

Since one of my esteemed colleagues used a column to speak out on misuse of the drop-off lane at school and other driving faux pas, hardcore baseball boy here has something to say about some of the Divine Commandments from Annie Savoy’s Church of Baseball, especially from those that are dropping three figures to see their Mudville Nine up close and personal.


If Thou View Isn’t Blocked or the Rest of the Congregation Isn’t Joyfully Praising, Thou Shall Take Thy Pew.

I’m not talking about getting on your feet with two strikes on an opposing batter or standing up to cheer because of a good play. This is the guy (or guys in the case of my Game 6) who with every swing of the bat somehow felt the need to stand to get a better view of the action. With everything between routine grounder to extra base hit, pitching change, and between innings, I found myself looking at the ‘W’ pocket stitch pattern on two pairs of Wrangler jeans. What later ensues is the whole section standing so they could see over the oblivious-to-those-behind-them Frick and Frack to view the action – more ups and downs than a three-hour traditional Catholic Easter Vigil.

You’re in the FRONT row. What better view could you want?


Thou Shall Cast Off The Urge To Be “That Guy.”

We’ve all seen “That Guy,” and he only makes his appearance for televised games. He’s the one on the cell phone behind home plate obviously not getting enough attention at home waving to the camera loud enough for all to hear between every pitch, “Can you see me now? I’m waving at you.”

“Yeah, Sparky. Me and 6 million other viewers see you doing what every other idiot discovered the day after the standard personal cell went from brick size to pocket size. Now hang up and watch the game.”

If not behind the plate, “That Guy” can also be spotted behind either dugout ready for the red light of baseline cameras to come on.

“That Guy,” if not on the cell phone, is also known to be the one with a giant sign or wearing the colossal foam cowboy hat that blocks the view of “Poor Schmuck” seated behind him.

Those of us there for the game have to endure the entertainment of “That Guy” as he settles his narcissistic need in pursuit of his 15 minutes.


Thou Shall Not Disturb Thy Other Worshipers With Static Noise.

I’ve never been a big supporter of the need to listen to a game on the radio while attending the game and sitting ANYWHERE in the ball park. You miss out on the enchantment and enthusiasm of the game. AT&T Park was rockin’ last Sunday and the Coliseum has just as much gusto during a pennant drive. I don’t need some broadcaster to tell me what I’m seeing.

Besides, I’d rather hear the chatter on the field, the crying whiz of baseball seams, the pop of the glove, and the jawin’ between the umps and coaches.

Technology has blessed us with personal headphones for those that have the hankering for the play-by-play of Kruk and Kuip. In addition, the FCC, because of a certain “clothing malfunction,” has made listening while at the park useless since it’s instituted a 7-second delay of live sports due to sensitive field mics picking up the blurting of four-letter expletives of upset batters as they pop-out or swing and miss. Seems to be no reason now to be plugged in to a hi-fi matrix as you watch a baserunner head for third from a gapper to the outfield while receiving a description of the pitcher’s wind-up – but somehow there are still those that do; their loss.


One final Stadium Commandment: Honor Thy chapel and Thy gift of the game.

You can be excommunicated for doing the wave.

 Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. He may be reached at 847-3021 or