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Intolerable Ballpark Abuse: Featuring Drunkeness, Assault, And The Cutting Insults Of Von Hayes

Once upon a time, a site called The Black Table had a regular feature entitled Waxing Off, in which women gathered in an online roundtable to discuss issues of the day, and also to make fun of Will Leitch's shoes. And so we got to thinking: With so many great female sports bloggers out there, why not import the idea here? It's just crazy enough to work. So behold: The latest edition of Deadspin's Waxing Off. We found seven terrific female writers who were willing to pen short pieces on this week's topic: The worst thing that has ever happened to you at a sporting event. As we saw during the World Series and its terrible aftermath, there is no telling what humans will do in a competitive sports setting when all is on the line. Suffice it to say that this past week in Philadelphia, for example, children were doused with beer, Rays fans were trapped in bathroom stalls by angry mobs, and various cars were flipped like turtles on downtown streets. For 48 hours, anarchy ruled. Terrifying enough if you're a guy, but what if you're a dame? Well, our ladies are tough. Let's hear their experiences with the louts and loudmouths in the ballparks of our great land. By the way, if you'd like to be part of the Waxing Off writing staff, email myself at, or Mr. Daulerio at Denver, Colorado – It’s an unseasonably warm April morning in Denver 1995 and practically the entire staff of our company is hoofing it the five blocks from our office to the brand spanking-new Coors Field for the inaugural home game against the Mets. Not that I particularly cared, after all I am a Philly fan. Our seats are amazing, right behind the Rockies dugout. For some knuckleheaded reason, the team decided to treat us to free beer. The sky is clear, the sun is bright, and we are a part of Colorado baseball history. Back to the free beer: I don’t remember any of the game or how I managed to show up at my boyfriend’s apartment slobbering drunk and still clutching a plastic cup full of warm Coors Light and with mustard in my hair, but my boss helpfully filled me in the next day: Apparently someone in the cheap seats above our rowdy group felt we were being too loud and the din was impacting her enjoyment of the game. I’m told I stood up, turned around and threw a half-eaten hot dog at her, with a beer chaser. Our group found this hilarious, of course, but the Serious Baseball Fans all around us started up with their grumbling. My friend and I commenced dancing wildly, screaming threats at the players and fellow attendees, and spilling beer all over the place, or so I hear. Of course I don’t remember such a thing find it very hard to believe, but reliable sources say it was my enthusiastic mooning, and not the fight I picked with a bossy old lady in full Rockies regalia, that got us kicked out before the 7th inning. You can take a girl out of Philadelphia… — Trouble got that nickname when she was five and no one is ever surprised to learn this. Only bill collectors and arresting officers call her by her proper name. When not engaged in some automotive-related activity for work (and let's face it: being an auto journalist is one of the funner jobs), she can be found at a select few of Denver's sports bars, being told to please keep it down. ————- Cari Gervin: A few years back, my hometown built its AA team a new stadium. The first sunny Saturday in April, there I was, sitting on the bleachers with one of my guy friends, beers and scorecards in our hands. Then, as a player on the visiting team came up to bat, it started. "Faggot! You're such a faggot!" "Yeah, faggot! You suck!" Two boys collapsed into giggles. Then they started their chants all over again. They couldn't have been older than 11 — old enough to know that redneck kids with mullets are supposed to make fun of the gays, I suppose, but not old enough to know how to spell "faggot." (The player they were taunting had the last name Faggett). It was an episode of "South Park" gone horribly wrong. My friend thought the kids were hysterical … in the first inning. That was before we realized Faggett was an outfielder. We were sitting in the outfield. By the end of the second, we had given up keeping score. By the end of the fourth, we were ready to strangle them and their parents. Except there were no parents. Baseball, more than any other professional sport, I think, has become a "family affair," a bowdlerized, Disneyfied game where cartoons run the bases between innings and alcohol-free "family sections" have sprung up to protect innocents from drunken fans' obscenity-filled rants. But what is there to protect us, the fans, from the kids? Look, I'm all for sucking your unsuspecting yung'uns into the lifetime of eternal suffering called baseball fandom. But using the ballpark as an alternative to a babysitter is just wrong. I want to watch the game, goddammit. I may get drunk and shout obscenities at the ump, but at least I'm politically correct when doing so. We eventually moved to some empty seats in a different section, but the sour taste in my mouth remained (and not just from the Bud Ice we were drinking). Give me the rowdy drunks at a football game any day — even the sorority girls who can't hold their liquor and puke on the seat next to me (that's happened too). Just please, keep your obnoxious kids out of my baseball. — Cari Gervin is a freelance writer in the South. She blogs about her misadventures in life, love and sports fandom at Unwelcome Return. ————- Nikki: You'd think that, as a Phillies fan, I'd be able to tell you horror stories of Mets fans harassing me at Shea Stadium, but no — even when I've showed up at Mets/Phillies games proudly sporting my Phillies gear, I've hardly gotten any snide comments (probably because I'm a tiny, cute, quiet girl; there's plenty of loudmouthed, obnoxious fans that are way more fun to pick on than me). The worst experience I've ever had at the ballpark was due not to a mean Mets fan, but due to ... a Phillies ballplayer. All my life, I've been a baseball fan. Naturally, since I'm a girl, all my life I've had crushes on baseball players. And being a die-hard Phillies fan, of course most of my baseball-related crushes are and/or were on Phillies. My very first baseball crush ever was on Von Hayes; that was way back in the '80s when the "old-school" maroon "P" Phillies logo was actually their current logo. Now picture me, circa 1980-something: a skinny little third-grade girl with two long brown braids and big Disney princess eyes. My parents and I had a Sunday season ticket package, and so every Sunday we'd go to Veterans Stadium to watch the Phillies. My dad would take me down to the fence while the Phillies were taking batting practice because the players would often come to the fence and sign stuff for the fans waiting there. When I saw Von Hayes approaching the fence, I thought it was gonna be my lucky day. Here he was! Mr. Studly Baseball Crush! And he was coming over to sign things! To meet me! When it was my turn, I shyly handed him my baseball and asked him to sign, and sign he did. But here was the thing. I also had a Von Hayes baseball card with me. And my best buddy from school, Matt, also liked Von Hayes (although not in exactly the same way that I liked him). And so I thought it would be a nice gesture to ask if Von would sign my baseball card for my friend Matt. After all, the crowd at the fence wasn't huge, and I was asking so politely, so how could he possibly say no? Actually, he didn't say no. What he did was glare down at me and say, "Don't get greedy." I was shocked. Don't get greedy? To a little kid? Who asked politely for something? My poor little heart was shattered. My parents (who still, to this day, tease me about this incident) alternated between feeling really sorry for me and my broken heart, and thinking the whole situation was kind of amusing; like seriously, just how big a Summer's Eve do you have to be to turn down and be grouchy to a polite little kid asking for another autograph for her classmate? And now, over a decade and a half later, I, too, think the situation's pretty funny. I've gotten over Von Hayes, his rudeness, and being called greedy. Plus, I've vastly improved my taste in baseball crushes (for the record, I can personally attest to the fact that Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth, and Greg Dobbs are all really nice, personable guys with good manners). And I've also learned that no matter how damn cute I am or how sweetly I ask, it's one autograph per person. Especially when it's a jackass signing the autograph. — NIKKI is the snarky little so-and-so behind the humor website RED PEN, INC. A lifelong fan of the newly-crowned 2008 World Series Champions, she also talks baseball, cute pitchers, and pinstriped derrieres at THE BILF REPORT. ————- Bay Area Claire: From the pre-game libations to the post-game recaps with friends, I love everything about live sports—except for the sexual harasser and the person who crosses the line between fan and moron. In July 2008, I attended my first NY baseball game — Mets vs. Phillies. Rocking a cute Philliess hirsey, I was booed and yelled at — which I didn’t mind. None of the taunting was mean-spirited; it was all in fun. The walk to the subway after the game was the problem. Herded like cattle, fans walked through darkness toward the subway station. There was barely enough room to crank an arm back to create enough force to elbow someone effectively. As the crowd blindly inched forward, I felt someone grab my ass. Not an accidental “oops, I meant to grab her hand” grab, it was a full on intentional groping grab. Quickly turning around to punch someone in the face, I was shocked to see a little old lady. The pervert pushed his way the opposite direction. Or was the old lady the culprit? Regardless, that was my Shea Stadium welcome. In comparison, back home isn’t perfect either. When the Raiders returned to Oakland, Nike sponsored my high school band to play before the game and provided tickets. We were situated fairly close to the black hole when things got rowdy. A man spilled beer on my friend and when prompted to stop, he did it again. Seconds before the two exchanged blows, our band director rushed between them. “You must be a Niner fan,” the intoxicated man said to the band director. With that comment (although funny), an altercation almost occurred, but security came and escorted the drunken guy out—lucky for him. Minutes later, my friend’s menacing cousins showed up to “handle the situation.” While the situation more funny than scary, it did ruin a perfectly pleasant Raiders game. Sporting events are meant to be fun, but let’s be honest. With all the excitement and beer, there’s bound to be trouble. No matter what coast we’re on, there will always be stupid people to ruin a good time. — Bay Area Claire is selective about who gets to grab her ass, although the criterion has been slightly lowered while she’s still high off the Phillies winning the World Series. Read her thoughts at Bleacher Report and The Examiner. ————- Denise Karl: The worst experience I’ve ever had at a sporting event didn’t happen in the stands, the parking lot or the ladies room. It happened in 2005 in the truck as we were leaving an Islanders game with just minutes left in the third. I had a funny feeling that we just “needed to leave.” But no sooner than we hit the light on Hempstead Tpke, my phone rang and a panicked voice on the other end made my heart stop. “Where are you?” My best friend asked from inside the Coliseum. “I had to leave. What’s the matter?” She hesitated,“Blake. He was taken into the boards head first. Dee… he’s not moving.” I gasped and my husband yelled “What’s wrong? What is it?” “Turn the radio on!” I demanded. I listened to the details of the hit that drilled Jason Blake into the boards while I still listened to a painful eye-witness account. “Oh Dee. He’s not moving at all, not at all. He’s not waking up. I didn’t see you in your seats; I thought for sure you had run downstairs. I thought I’d see you try to jump over the glass.” The woman who knows me best was only joking slightly. Jason Blake was my personal project since 2001. A struggling player that I was determined to promote to a first line role. I probably single-handedly kept his name in the trades during the entire lockout. And there he was, cold and unconscious on the ice. Tears began to run down my face. My husband didn’t understand, neither did my daughter. She announced with disgust “Dad… she’s crying.” “You’re CRYING? Are you KIDDING me?” I couldn’t muster an angry response until I heard the news “YES! He’s moving! They’re taking him off the ice but he’s waking up. Okay… he’ll be okay.” I closed the phone, wiped my face and let out a Linda Blair Exorcist growl “Don’t you ever fucking yell at me for crying! Ever!” Because if we can’t show emotion, compassion and concern for those players who put their bodies in harm‘s way for our entertainment, then we lose our humanity. And THAT is just wrong. — Dee Karl, NY Islanders 7th Woman Blog Box member. ————- Jess Mac: Count yourselves lucky that this week's topic was limited to worst experiences as a spectator at professional sporting event, otherwise I could launch into a story more gruesome than Adam Morrison's pornstache about the time I saw a guy break his arm during a college rugby game. Then all you would deduce is that I am huge wuss (and you would be right.) Seriously, it was disgusting. It looked like he was doing the robot unintentionally, only that 90 degree angle was not created by his elbow. Before I make myself regurgitate my breakfast of mini Mr. Goodbars and Cheez Its — Healthy Decisions 2008! — I'd like to share a frightening tale worthy of this glorious holiday dedicated to handing out treats to smiling children and dressing like complete sluts (sexy Abraham Lincoln?). This summer I managed to score great tickets to a Sox/Yanks game (re: I slept with someone. Alright, it was my boyfriend.) The Sox were up, the beer was going down. Then I saw them. A young couple. Guy decked out in a Jeter jersey and Yanks hat, and girl wearing matching PINK Sox hat and tshirt. It gets worse. They were standing with a sign, waving it wildly and obnoxiously, while the girl was squealing "Ooooh!! Oooh!!!" and the guy was yelling "Over here! Over here!" (because if anything, THAT will attract a NESN cameraman). They continued waving it so far into the start of the inning that a 13-year-old behind them started the chant, "Sit-the-fuck-down." But it gets worse. At first I figured it was a super-creative, "Nashua, N.H. <3s Don and Rem-dog!!!!!!" sign, but when the couple became exasperated after one spirited sign-thrusting session and put it down, I saw it: "HE'S a YANKEES fan...........and SHE'S a SOX fan.............BUT WE'RE STILL ON THE SAME TEAM!!!!!!!!!!" But it gets worse. There were hearts and stars everywhere, and more exclamation points than "The Hills" has blank stares and idiocy. AND, it was coated in a thick blanket of glitter, as if they ritually sacrificed a disco ball and used the poster as an altar. The worst part? I assumed the guy would have one of those, "Yeah this fucking sucks but I am TOTALLY going to get laid later" faces. But he didn't. He looked GENUINELY PROUD OF HIMSELF. (Cue the slasher music). — Jess Mac is a Boston resident who spends the majority of baseball season pondering what exactly what sort of bottoms Dennis Eckersley is wearing behind that desk. She guesses cut-off jean shorts. ————- Elway's Bitch: When I was a little girl, I fell in love with John Elway. And on September 27, 1998, he broke my heart. I cannot explain how this fixation started. Horrifying, I know. But the heart loves who it loves, and I was a dwarf-sized child with a fucking perm, Hubble Telescope glasses and limited options. I actually took Polaroid pictures of my John when he was on TV- Little Annie Liebowitz, angling for the perfect shot. These Polaroids would have gotten me in so much trouble if the FBI had been involved. My room looked like something out of Confessions of a Serial Killer. So on my 18th birthday, the planets and Ticketmaster finally aligned. I would be seeing John for the first time. Broncos vs Redskins. Seats directly behind the Broncos bench for optimal stalker staring. September 27, 1998. I saw him. My boyfriend at the time was with me. Which really pissed me off, but Joe purchased those tickets and you can’t really look a gift horse (Elway reference!) in the mouth. I observed John in adoration and rapture during warm-ups, never removing my gaze from his jersey. Like the E-Trade Baby, did you underestimate the level of creepiness here? And then the coin toss. And the Broncos elect to receive. And out strides…BUBBY FUCKING BRISTER? WHAT THE FUCK?? And the realization sets in…John is sitting this one out. And I unleashed a torrent of profanities on Joe. And I wept. I don’t even know what happened on the field. I never took my glassy eyes off of John/Judas/Benedict on the sidelines. I couldn’t even make it to halftime. On the car ride back to my dorm, it dawned on me that it was time to mature and embrace reality. Let him go. And it made a lot of sense. And then I dismissed it. John, I am still here. I still love you. You still owe me. I saw you just got engaged. When is the wedding? I hope you sit that one out, too… — Elway's Bitch ia a small, evil woman with an unhealthy obsession for the Broncos, even though she realizes they play dirty defense. Her blog is coming soon.

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