From throwing back opponents’ home run balls to “OK Blue Jays,” Major League Baseball has a myriad of team-centric traditions.
I took a shot at listing my top five:
5) “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park – Played in the middle of the eighth inning for more than 10 years running, this tradition is quite the juxtaposition. Rowdy Red Sox fans in the heat of battle pause for a moment to come together in sweet chorus.
4) Klement’s Racing Sausages in Milwaukee – The pinnacle of racing mascots, the Milwaukee Brewers have held sausage races in the middle of the sixth inning at every home game for more than 20 years. They’ve become so famous, it made national headlines when the Italian Sausage was stolen this winter.
3) Roll Call at Yankee Stadium – Setting the bar for bleacher bums everywhere, Yankee Stadium’s “bleacher creatures” are led by Bald Vinny, who calls out the names of Yankees starters in the top of the first inning at home games. How the players react is up to them, most with a wave or some form of acknowledgement – others get creative and have fun with it. Read up on the history of the bleacher creatures sometime – they’re a special group of fans.
2) “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley Field – Baseball is at its absolute best when Wrigley Field has 41,000-plus in the stands and the organist begins playing at the seventh-inning stretch. The entire crowd stands up and, in harmony, sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” usually led by a guest conductor. The tradition was brought over by late Harry Caray, who started it during his White Sox broadcasting days. If you’re a baseball fan, this experience should be on your bucket list.
1) Opening Day in Cincinnati - I admittedly would do no justice to speak of this tradition, so I’m lifting myself for a pinch-hitter. Ladies and gentlemen, MLB Fan Cave Dweller and Cincinnati Reds fan, Ben Wietmarschen:
I'm willing to bet all of my money (currently is mostly debt) that Opening Day in Cincinnati is the most official unofficial holiday in America. Few go to work, and if they do, there are TVs rolled into the office from a closet in the basement by the weirdo IT guy. And to take a free day from school, a student need only say "I have Opening Day tickets" and the teacher nods and goes back to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or whatever they were doing. There’s a huge parade downtown, everyone is out of the house and filling the bars by noon and the party goes on all day and night. For the last few decades, the Reds have had a lot of teams that didn't exactly inspire hope for a World Series run, but the Opening Days during those lean seasons were no less celebratory and intense than they are now when we have a team that is expected to have a great season. Cincinnati is a great party city and Opening Day is its greatest party.
What’s your favorite tradition? Comment below or tweet @MLBFanCave using #MLBFC.