Baseball fan etiquette: advice from a former Fan Host

Elijah Flewellen worked as a Fan Host for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2014-2019. 

Baseball fans young and old alike can all agree on one thing: we love to watch a good baseball game, and have a good time doing so. Here are ten ways that you can have the best experience at a ballgame, but ensure that others around you have a good time as well. 

  1. Beware of scalpers or counterfeit tickets. I would highly recommend purchasing tickets directly from the team, or purchasing from a third party that has a partnership with the respective home team that you are going to go see. The last thing I would want someone to do is spend their hard earned money on a product that isn’t authentic. I would also like to save you the heart dropping moment of finding out your tickets are fake. Buy smart. If a price for a ticket looks too good to be true, more times than not, it is. Another tip, in this era of Covid Baseball, screenshot tickets on mobile devices aren’t allowed for entry either. 
  2. Make sure you have the tickets for the correct date and game, and try your best to make sure they’re presentable. In the event that you have a paper ticket, try your best to store them in a dry, dark environment, or store them in a protective sleeve or envelope. From my experiences, I have seen many people arrive at the gate, sometimes in large groups, and they will have tickets for the wrong date. It is also very difficult to scan a wet or faded ticket for entry. P.S., don’t hand a usher or ticket taker a sweaty ticket, or one that has bodily fluids on it. 
  3. Make sure to look at stadium bag and food policies before you go. Bag policies vary from being able to bring in clear bags, to not even being able to bring in bags at all. The same rules apply to food as well. Nobody wants to be the person that has to make a trip back to the car after being told the the item in question is not permitted. 
  4. Do NOT run on to the field. The Shaw Sports Turf may look really tantalizing, but there are legal ramifications, and a lifetime ban from Tropicana Field if you so happen to leave your seat and take an impromptu run on to the playing surface. Throwing items on the field will result in trouble and a potential ban. 
  5. Unless it is an emergency, remain in your ticketed seat until there is a stoppage in play. Nobody wants to be the guy, or girl that stands up or walks to their seat right before a pitch is thrown and misses a huge part of the action. This also applies to walking the concourses to grab food or merchandise, or meet up with friends. Remain at your ticketed section, or in the vomitory of your ticketed section, until there is a stoppage in play, or the end of one half inning or a pitching change. 
  6. Watch out for balls and bats. We’ve all seen batters send bats helicoptering into the stands, because they didn’t have enough pine tar and rosin on their bats. Exit velocities from batters have never been higher in the history of baseball. We’ve also probably seen our fair share of lined shots into the stands, and people on their phones or reading nearly get smoked by a baseball in batting practice. Stay alert and be cautious. Extended netting has been put in place at all 30 MLB stadiums to keep fans safer, but every game you go to, there is a risk. 
  7. In the event you catch or grab a foul ball, give it to a kid. As much as we love baseball, we want to grow the game so that it can continue to flourish. If you give a young fan a ball that was used in an MLB game, he or she may never forget it, and keep that with them for the rest of their lives. It could also result in good karma further down the line. 
  8. KNOW YOUR ALCOHOL LIMIT. Nobody wants to be, or be around, for that matter, a drunk, belligerent spectator. It’s okay to have an adult beverage or two at a game (if you’re of age). However, baseball is not only a kid’s game, but a family environment. Don’t be the person that gets escorted out of the stadium for having one too many. 
  9. Be respectful. Playful banter among fans, and sometimes players, is fine. Crossing the line with obscenities and unwelcome gestures is not. Derogatory remarks offend people, and you do not want to be the fan getting kicked out for something that could’ve been left unsaid. 
  10. Have fun! In a regular season of baseball, there are 2,430 games played. 162 of those is what your favorite team, along with the 29 others, is allotted. You get to be a part of that one particular day’s game, and that game will only be played once. Live it up, enjoy yourself, and take in the experience. You might see something that has never been done on a diamond. 

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