- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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Is there a drunk slob in the row behind you? Flapping his Raiders flag into your cranium over and over? Smelling like he bathes in Jack Daniel's and cursing more than Amy Winehouse?
Then you're in luck!
Thanks to tattletexting, you can have this moron removed by security in minutes. Even better, he won't be waiting for you in the parking lot afterward to turn you into a collection of lumps.
Some people call it the rat line. Some call it text-narcing. I call it progress. It's being offered at many of this week's NCAA Tournament games, at 29 of 32 NFL stadiums (Cincinnati's is 513-381-JERK) and at dozens of MLB, NBA and NHL venues. Any fan can anonymously snitch out the overserved idiot who won't stop offering to fight Roy Williams at 120 decibels and pouring his Coke down your neck. You don't have to sit and take it anymore!
It's working, too. These are actual texts from games this year, collected by In Stadium Solutions, one of the leaders in this new industry:
Lady in turquoise tank is flipping people off and cursing sec 235 row 14.
Section 446 Guy is trying to fight everyone -- send someone to remove him please.
This is ridiculous. We are being spit on from the 254 section.
Drunk guy passed out in my seat … can't wake him up sec 442.
Guy in black jacket is exposing himself to people. Section 408 row 4 seat 7. He has spikey hair.
On his head, we presume.
"Only about 5% of the texts we get are pranks," says Scott Meyers of ISS.
Please fire coach! And the players too!
What kinda call was that. My kid could see that coming.
Fans not cheering loud enough in sec 203.
"The vast majority," Meyers says, "deal with unruly fans, a problem with seats or even medical emergencies."
Passed out from heat, please send paramedics sec 424 row 36 seat 8.
I think someone is having a heart attack; please send help now sec 446 top row.
Little boy sec 230 rw 17 seat 9 vomited in row. Can we get a clean up possibly? So no more ppl vomit?
Isn't sports fun?
Okay, so maybe you're thinking: This is just more Big Brother in our lives, the further creation of the surveillance state. But fans aren't getting thrown out without proof. At many stadiums, when a text comes in to security, a closed-circuit camera is put on the very seat in question to see what the problem is. If the guy in the Abominable Snowman costume really is clubbing people with his Styrofoam head, somebody will be there pronto.
ISS even did a Madonna concert recently.
Middle-aged woman acting very lewd and walking around only in her bra. Oh, wait, it's Madonna.
(Okay, so I made that one up.)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell loves tattletexting. Last season, 3,807 texts were sent, including these from the Super Bowl:
After being worned [sic], he continues to swear. Thanks for your help.
Huge guy, refuses to sit down, drinking too much, everyone yelling at him.
[Man is] very rude, vulgar, using profane language, smoking cigar.
And in minutes, Al Davis was outta there.
Besides, it's not just for narcing on your fellow fan. It's for every kind of problem. GuestAssist, out of Houston, says it has received these:
I've driven 4 hours and I've left my tickets behind. Can you help? (They met him at the gate with new tickets.)
There's a Phillies game across the street, can you put the score up please? (They did.)
We're stuck in an elevator! (They got them out.)
Then again, they've also gotten:
Idiot with large foam hat. Can't see field.
My only problem with this textual revolution is that it doesn't go far enough. I'd like to see players and coaches use it.
Wide receiver keeps calling me names. And I'm the coach.
Two big guys in bthrm stall, making everybody wait, while they inject each other.
Omg … Big guy, no teeth, says he's going to pull my pancreas out through my nostrils. Number 77. Red Wings jersey.
Drunk guy asleep in the dugout. Can't wake him. And he's up next!
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8hEthan Sherwood Strauss