There’s been a minor controversy this week, mostly started by one of my tweets, whether fans should wear red to the ballpark this weekend. For the record, I don’t care if you wear red. If it makes you happy, go for it. But you’re not any less of a fan if you’d rather where something else, say, your favorite white Nationals jersey.
There are only three things that matter if you have tickets to Nats Park this weekend:
1. Show up on time
2. Cheer when it’s appropriate to cheer
3. And don’t do the wave.
Baseball fans casually talk about the importance of home field advantage. The Nationals made an effort to win home field advantage late this season. The numbers show that home field advantage does exist, although the advantage is relatively small. Home teams win about 53.9% of the time. There are a variety of explanations for this phenomenon: players are more comfortable playing at home, visiting players are sluggish due to travel, or managers manage differently (i.e.: more effectively) with their team batting last in the inning.
One theory is that home field advantage has nothing to do with players whatsoever. This theory states that umpires are influenced by the crowd, and subconsciously favor the home team. That’s where you guys come in. Be loud. Make it hard for the ump to ring up a strike three when the Nats are batting. It’s a small difference, but small differences matter in the playoffs.
And then there’s this quote from A’s outfield Sam Fuld about last night’s 12th inning triple that eventually tied the game for the Royals.
“Unfortunately I don’t think there was any communication,” Fuld said about Gomes. “It was just too loud. I yelled, but it was just so loud that we could be right next to each other and not hear each other.”
The Royals fans made a difference. Home field advantage. Wear red. Don’t wear red. Just be in your seat and get loud when the team needs you to get loud.
And please don’t do the wave. It’s annoying during the regular season. During the playoffs, it’s criminal.