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It's Time to Speak Out Before Baseball Gets Engulfed in the Wave

May 11, 1985

Before the 1985 major league season hits full stride, let's have owners, management and broadcast media speak out against a growing fascination among fans to make audience participation more important than the game itself. The primary example of this spectator decadence is the misuse of the wave. It not only fails to enhance the game, but often competes directly with what is taking place on the field. There is no arguing that spontaneous spectator behavior is refreshing and desirable, especially in an era of electronically induced cheering, but at what cost to players and serious baseball fans.

It is difficult to find another type of spectator event that permits organized chaos to detract so much from the main attraction. Even rock concert audience histrionics are in synch with what's happening on stage. Imagine if the wave spread to other forms of entertainment. Why not start one during the last act of a play if the outcome is no longer in doubt? Or set a wave in motion to encourage a ballet company to give a more spirited performance.

Why should baseball be treated any differently? Its drama and fine individual performances are now often obscured by the fans' preoccupation with themselves. Why not open the ball park at half price when the team is on the road and let the fans wave themselves into oblivion?

If Southern California wants to boast the greatest baseball fans in the world, why don't the owners and media encourage them to show a little respect for the players they pay to see. Let's give the game back to the players and not have another summer of this inane behavior!

PAUL LEONETTI

Balboa Island

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