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Is There Such A Thing As Baseball Etiquette?

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Some people feel that the term “baseball etiquette” is an oxymoron. These are the people who have witnessed some extremely rude and obnoxious behavior on the part of teammates and sometimes even by the coaches. Unfortunately this experience has not been limited to a small number of people, but rather has been evidenced by a great many individuals, myself included.

At a baseball game (or any other type of sporting event for that matter) people can get excited and tend to be a bit more vocal than they would normally be. This, in and of itself, does not have to be a negative. Cheering and encouraging are always a welcome contribution to the game efforts. Even harmless chatter and good natured “ribbing” have their place on the field. What does not have a place in the game is boorish, demeaning and tasteless behavior. Yet all too often this is the type of behavior that is exhibited by players toward members of the opposite team. Unfortunately, this behavior often starts at a young age and escalates over time. Coaches should accept a certain amount of responsibility for the behavior of their teams. In a perfect world each player (no matter their age) would be able to control themselves without the need for outside supervision or correction. We do not live in a perfect world, however, and many young people are growing up without role models and without a proper understanding of correct behavior. That is when it becomes necessary for the coach of a team to take charge and make certain that his players understand some etiquette.

It is just as unseemly (if not more so) to see adults on a team exhibit behavior that would be more likely to be seen in a street brawl. It becomes offensive to players and spectators alike when abusive language or gestures are permitted without any consequence. The truth is, it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of a game to have to be subjected to such behavior. It shows such a complete lack of respect. Doesn’t everyone desire (and deserve) respect. How about the game itself. Shouldn’t there be some respect for a game that has been around for hundreds of years and has even long been considered the “great American pastime”?

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer specializing in volleyball nets and basketball backboards.