Saturday night The Lioness and I went out to a baseball game. Our local San Rafael Pacifics were playing the Sonoma Stompers and it was also Ferrari night. Our late arrival was due to my confusion over the starting time of the game and we missed our chance to go for a spin with a member of the local Ferrari Owners Group. Rats!
Fear not, dear reader, we are going to attend a game tomorrow night when the Pacifics make professional baseball history by having a computerized pitch tracking system rule the balls and strikes. Eric Byrnes, former Oakland A’s star and current Major League Baseball Network Analyst, will serve as the first ever Strike Zone Umpire.
The game tomorrow and the one on Wednesday will benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation. Eric Byrnes will make donations based on the performance of the robot system, including a grand donation of $10,000 if he ejects anyone for arguing balls and strikes. Yikes!
All of this baseball history-in-the-making has me thinking about one of the more famous participatory events from the past. I’m talking about The Wave, that massive moving throng of spectators standing up, arms and hands upraised, then sitting down, row after row after row around the ballpark.
What you might not know is that it started in Oakland back on October 15, 1981. “Krazy George” Henderson claims the title of The Inventor of The Wave during a five game Playoff between the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees (“Yankees Suck!”—that’s for The Lioness, a die-hard Red Socks fan).
In the video below Krazy George describes the initial challenges he faced with this new idea of audience participation. I have to admit that it is such a common sight to me these days that I never gave a thought to its origins.
San Francisco Giants fans are a different breed and that was never more apparent than on October 17, 1989—8 years and two days after Krazy George’s revolutionary idea. Candlestick Park became the first stadium to do The Wave and it happened at the start of the third game of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Deep down, maybe that is the reason that it is not welcome by Giants fans in AT&T Park.
How do you feel about The Wave? Is it fun to do or is it too mainstream for you?