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Tuesday, January 15, 2002
Updated: August 10, 1:52 PM ET
Readers' list: Things that must stop

From the Page 2 mailbag

Boy, are you irritated.

Here's how Page 2 editors ranked irritating things at sporting events that must stop ... now:

1. The Tomahawk Chop
2. Electronic admonitions to fans about when they should cheer
3. Football coaches getting doused with Gatorade
4. Fans who hold up signs that suck up to the network televising the game
5. Dot races or any other scoreboard contests
6. Playing "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
7. NBA mascots who need springboards to dunk
8. People talking on their cell phone behind home plate and then waving to the camera
9. People who scramble over one another to get a $3 T-shirt thrown into the stands
10. Singers who lip-synch "The Star-Spangled Banner"

Honorable mention: The Wave, Hockey intermission entertainment on the ice, Halftime interviews of coaches as they are rushing to the locker room, Indoor fireworks, Baseball players scratching their crotches, Baseball players adjusting and readjusting their wristbands after every pitch, Baseball fans encroaching on the field to get a baseball (even you, Jeffrey Maier), Football fans who take their shirts off in cold weather, The playing of Sinatra's "New York, New York" anywhere but at Yankee Stadium, Revolving advertising signs

Earlier this week, Page 2 offered our list of 10 irritating things at sporting events that must stop immediately. We asked you to send us your irks, pet peeves and gripes and you overwhelmed our in-box with more than 3,100 responses.

Check out our readers' top 10 below, and then vote in the poll at right to crown the No. 1 irritating thing that must stop ... now.

1. People talking on their cell phone behind home plate and then waving to the camera (203 letters)
Honestly now, I know Sprint has spent millions in persuading us to believe that there communication is "clear," but there is no way that anyone can actually hear what you are saying anyway (unless you are in Montreal). Sitting behind home plate there in front of the camera is just an admission that you are actually present and what kind of guy would want to be labeled the guy who is actually using the free tickets that were included in the Value Meal anyway!

The Sports Guy had it right when he said that someone should just walk up, grab the cell phone, throw it to the ground and stomp on it! It would be worth any fine or punishment. And would probably make it on SportsCenter ... and then the unfortunate fellow could call (from his home) and tell the same people he tried to call during the game that he is also the "official" idiot on SportsCenter!
Champaign, Ill.

The morons behind home plate on cell phones must be dealt with, one way or another. If next week's List is "10 Most Useful Items to Implement at Sporting Events," here's my early entry: retractable screens behind the plate to allow pitchers to help maintain the integrity of the game by schooling these idiots with a "riding fastball."

Closed circuit to cell phone clowns and Terrell Owens -- act like you've been there, indeed.
Jeremy M

Without a doubt, the most annoying sports practice is fans waving behind home plate on their cell phones. If I wanted to see idiots waving frantically, I would watch people attempt to skydive without a parachute.
Jeremy Shifton
Hauppauge, N.Y.

2. The Tomahawk Chop (157 letters)
Atlanta Braves fans
Ahhh, ahhhhh ..... Stop it! Stop it now!
Not only is it extremely irritating, but it is also stereotyping and demeaning to American Indians. To me, the equivalent would be Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" fans, in an effort to rally their team, sucking down back-to-back beers, then pummeling each other in the stands. Stereotypical and demeaning.
Richard St. George
Pawtucket, R.I.

The Tomahawk Chop -- Except for the fact that it proves that you can get 50,000 people to act like idiots in unison.
Patrick Wilson
Southwick, Mass.

3. Electronic admonitions to fans about when they should cheer (124 letters)
It completely reflects the whole lackadaisical fan atmosphere of (mainly) professional sports and fans who would rather be seen there rather than really wanting to be there.

At UCLA, they actually have a person with signs to tell fans the next cheer. Forget originality, forget improvisation. And does he get paid? Are my tax dollars really going to some guy to hold up signs that say, "Feel Free to Clap Now"?
Cory Schwartz
Los Angeles

I wholeheartedly agree with your complaint of scoreboards cuing the crowd to cheer. I first encountered this at the Nassau Coliseum at an Islanders game many years ago. As a diehard Rangers fan, I always laughed at how the Islander fans only knew when to cheer via the scoreboard.

It was, and still is, my contention that CLAP on the scoreboard is actually an acronym meaning to "Clap Like A Puppet."
Warren Meyer
Oceanside, N.Y.

4. The Wave (113 letters)
The Wave must crest and go away. My favorite moment in my venture to "sports mecca" (Wrigley Field) was when the usher ordered a bachelorette party to stop attempting The Wave. He said, "We don't do the wave at Wrigley Field." That statement without a doubt made the place my "Field of Dreams."
Large C.
Los Angeles

Eric Stoltz was popular the last time The Wave was cool. If I'm going to get off my butt during a sporting event it's going to be for one of three reasons -- to get a beer, to applaud something on the field or to get a beer.
Jason M.
Spopeke, Va.

5. Virtual ads (97 letters)
Soon we'll be seeing these on jerseys ("Hey look, Dad, his cap just changed from New York to MSGNetwork!"), footballs, wheels and Shaq's boxing glove. Pathetic -- sports owners and bigwigs are already sapping enough money and life out of fans, but why ruin the games with these fake ads as well?
Melbourne, Fla.

Abolish those phantom advertisements behind home plate during postseason games. The last thing I want to see is Roger Clemens' profile against a big bright yellow ad for "Shallow Hal." One of those profiles is enough.
Jason Neiser
Rochester, N.Y.

Raiders fans
Oh, we're really impressed with your choice of makeup.
With respect to Tom Hanks: "There's no Ally McBeal in baseball!"
Edward Moraghan
East Rutherford, N.J.

6. Decked-out Raiders fans (83 letters)
When you actually contract rabies and gangrene simultaneously instead of just dressing like it, maybe then we'll be impressed.

7. Football coaches getting doused with Gatorade (78 votes)
Gotta be pouring Gatorade on the coach. It's the on-field equivalent of "The Wave." Could be more interesting if the Ravens win the AFC and the players set Brian Billick on fire before dousing him.
Brandt Dooley
Nashville, Tenn.

Dick Jauron
At least wait until it's a championship game.
8. Men bringing baseball gloves to the park (62 votes)
There should be a law that no male over age 14 can bring a glove to a baseball game. If I can catch a ball at a game (I'm 5-foot-5 and a girl -- and I've done it!), then so can you.

If I am ever elected to public office, I promise to make this my legacy.
Beth Giambrone
Arlington, Va.

9. Halftime interviews with coaches (44 votes)
Interviewing a coach before halftime is an embarrassing waste of airtime. I would rather watch a commercial because at least the outcome is less predictable. If the guy is winning, he'll say, "We have been fortunate that things have gone our way, and hopefully it will continue in the second half." If they are losing, the coach will say, "We'll go in, make some adjustments, and hopefully turn things around in the second half."

The next time a coach offers any substantive thoughts in one of those interviews, it will be the first time.
Brian Grayson
Tempe, Ariz.

10. TV cutaways and interviews with athlete's families (35 votes)
The most irritating thing in all of sports is showing and, worse, interviewing a player's family during a game. I actually sat through a Fresno-Wisconsin game in which the announcers ignored a Fresno comeback to have a phone conversation with David Carr's wife!

Let's also not forget the disturbing shots of Martin Brodeur's wife wearing an ugly cowboy hat during the 2000 Stanley Cup finals. Those two are only subordinate to the display of Kurt Warner's wife in the 1999 Super Bowl. Marshall Faulk is one of my favorite players, but I have to root against the Rams this year just in the hopes of preventing Fox from airing 55 shots of Mrs. Warner's 10-year-old boy haircut!
Pete Cangemi
Harrisburg, Pa.

Honorable mention
  • Fans who hold up signs that suck
  • Fans who hold up a No. 1 finger for their unranked team
  • Marriage proposals at sporting events
  • Cheeseheads
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • People who scramble over one another for a $3 T-shirt
  • Indoor fireworks
  • "Experts" in the row behind you
  • Students rushing the court