200 Miles From the Citi

November 21, 2010 4:03 AM

Upsetting Fan Behavior


Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XLVII)

We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Last December my dad, my brother, and I went to Indianapolis to watch the Jets take on the Colts.

This was the Week 16 matchup - not the AFC Championship Game - and you'll remember the dramatic events leading up to the game that ended up creating a scenario for the Jets where a win would allow them to control their own playoff fate.

And the Jets won.

But the overall experience as a Jets fan in another team's home stadium was a big part of the enjoyment.

That's something an 8-year-old in Cleveland may never be able to experience.

Not to get you all riled up early on a Sunday, but...

Here's the story from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer last week.

It infuriates me and it saddens me.

Rising ticket prices are part of the reason I think my days of attending live professional sporting events are dwindling...but fan behavior is right up there as well.  I really want to take my two daughters to some game - but between drunken fans and other idiotic behavior I can think of more family-friendly activities.

My wife has hinted she might like to go to a Jets game at some point - I don't know that I want to expose her to it.

There are significant examples that I can't get out of my head.  Like the time my wife thought it would be good if both of our families attended a Yankees-Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium about 8 years ago.  A brawl five or so rows behind us spilled over into our laps.  Literally.  I've seen more than my share of fights at Giants Stadium as well.  And back when the Jets were not very good it seemed the sole purpose of going to a Jets game was for people to see how drunk they could get.  I couldn't have been much more than 8 years old when one of the simpletons who used to sit behind us started down the stairs towards the tunnel of Section 336 one cold December day.  He turned around to calls from his buddies to "Take it all off!"  And then proceeded to strip down to his underwear.  A scarring experience for all.

But not as scarring as being tackled by one of those dopes.  I know that's an extreme example - but I have no trouble believing it happened.  There's something about the NFL where people feel like they can resort to barbaric behavior and get away with it.  (But like I said - it's not just football.  I've seen horrible behavior at baseball games too.)  Teams have taken steps to improve the experience - but you can't be everywhere.  And this kind of thing keeps on happening.

When I went to Indianapolis, I wore my Jets shirt and hat - but I was on my toes the entire time because I've seen the worst in people.

My experience there turned out to be awesome.  I wish I could say that was always going to be the case - but I have a feeling it's more the exception than the rule.

*One addendum to the above story - I'm glad at least the Jets and Browns tried to make right with the family of the boy.  Both teams made offers to host the family.  But nothing changes the fact that something awful happened to the kid.

*Did you know the Jets are 4-0 all-time against the Houston Texans, today's opponent?  For some nonsensical reason, that stat fills me with so much confidence.  I was at the last game the teams played when the Jets were the home team - If I remember correctly it was never in doubt.  Based on the last few weeks, I have no reason to believe it won't be a close game, but I'm going to guess something like Jets 27, Texans 10.  I honestly feel the Jets will have a better game plan for Houston than teams like Cleveland and Detroit.

*Have all the people complaining about the NFL's overtime system noticed that of all the games that have been going to overtime this year, rare are the ones decided on the first possession?  The Jets-Lions overtime was the exception (Jets win coin toss and kick game-winning field goal right away) - the Jets-Browns overtime thriller more the rule this season.  For whatever that's worth.

*Did you catch Deadspin's 100 Worst Players In NFL History?  Even if Blair Thomas as the lead-in doesn't quite qualify, the Jets were more than well-represented on the list. And it's not surprising at all.  There have been some bad players in Jets history. (Chad Cascadden though, I think, got a bad rap here.  There have to be worse players than him.)

*I had no idea Major League Baseball was so intent on expanding the post-season so soon.  Strange for me to wrap my head around a possible 10-team playoff system.

*I hope the Mets are naming their new manager at this press conference reportedly scheduled for Tuesday so that all the speculation can stop.  There have been reports that each of the final candidates has been a front-runner for the job - Wally Backman, Terry Collins, Bob Melvin, and Chip Hale. Well, not really Hale.  But the other three for sure.  Just pick one and let's get on with things.

*A sad interruption to the Mets' off-season momentum when Sandy Alderson's father was killed after he was hit by a car last weekend.  Not at all to make light of this, but the way Alderson built the Mets' front office, it seems he could step away for any period of time and there are at least two other general managers who could step in and take his place without the team missing a beat.

*I'm able to watch the Jets-Texans at home today (first half of a doubleheader with the Patriots, but I'll be watching the clock, because CBS will switch me off even if it's a close game to get to the Pats on time), but most of December is shaping up as me having to go to a bar to watch the Jets.  I haven't crunched the nationally televised game numbers yet for either team, or what the other options are in that week, but I'm betting on Jets-Steelers being flexed to Sunday night, which would at least buy me another week at home.  Can't complain - I've had a great run this season.

*I'll be posting about twitter soon - it may very well be the focus of my next Sunday Paper.  But it continues to be an amazing and intriguing tool.  You may or may not remember one of my favorite recent Jets was tight end Anthony Becht.  I (sort of) conversed with him through twitter Saturday. (I also may have insulted him - but that's just because I'm social-media-ly awkward. I meant no ill will.)  Anyway, if you want to get in on the fun, follow me @200miles_citi.  

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