The Screamer

Each team that comes into Chase Field is a different fan dynamic. Most of the opposing teams fans are pretty well behaved and good natured. The St. Louis Cardinals fans are always well informed and just enjoy a good clean game. The Cubs fans are diehards but they are so accustomed to losing that they are just glad when their team shows up for the game. The Mets fans are pretty obnoxious and opinionated and I’ve yet to go to a game when New York was playing that there was not at least one fight in the stands. The Dodger fans are quickly becoming similarly painful to bear. It is one thing to come to the game with your face painted Dodger blue wearing a blue and white afro wig and a Steve Garvey jersey but when you start booing the home team player introductions you start to cross the line. I’m all for fans expressing their thoughts but that’s kind of low class. The Diamondbacks fans put up with this for two games, and then on Sunday we released a weapon that I don’t think any of us even realized we had. We brought in the screamer.

When you go to as many games as I do, you soon realize who the regular fans are. These are people who have season tickets or split season tickets among a group of fans. Interspersed within this group will be some day of game ticket holders and you can usually spot them a mile away as they gaze around the ballpark and then ask the number one question that I answer during the season, “I heard there is a pool here, where is that at?” As if the pool in right field has been camouflaged and hidden from view. The final group is what I refer to as the seat squatters. These are people who come early for batting practice not necessarily to see the players but to sneak into a section before the ushers start checking tickets. It’s always fun to watch this group and see how well they chose. There is an axiom that is nearly universal in all stadiums, the closer to the field that a seat is the more likely someone will attend the game to occupy that seat. That means that upper deck tickets or those under the overhang and away from the playing field are more likely to be empty for the whole game than those that are on the wall right next to the players. The squatters run a fine line of getting great seats or getting greedy and trying to get too close and then getting kicked out when someone shows up to claim their seat. Seat squatting is also a game better suited to individual fans or fans of the same gender. It is much more palatable to get kicked out of a seat if you are there by yourself or with another buddy. It makes it a little more embarrassing if you try this with your wife or date. Given this background, let’s talk about “the screamer”.

Today’s game was the first time I had seen the screamer. He came down during the Dodgers warm-up and made his way to row 11 just two up from the field. The screamer was dressed in khaki shorts that were 2 sizes too small. He had what appeared to be a XXXL shirt that was being stretched to the limits of what a cotton blend could stand. The shirt was one of the free giveaways you get when you sign up for a Diamondbacks credit card from Chase bank from one of the many kiosks on the concourse. His footwear of choice was a shoe discount version of the Birkenstock. The shoes were obviously groaning from the shear weight they were supporting. The screamer was not alone, he had in tow his wife who was approximately 15% of his total girth so when they stood together they looked like the number 10 or 01 depending on which side the screamer stood.

The screamer liked to think of himself as a big fan of the Diamondbacks and considered himself in the know because he was able to recall all of the player’s nicknames. He used these nicknames to literally scream at the player every time they were involved in a play. He was single-handedly willing them to play well or suffer the wrath of the screamer. This screaming was coupled with excessive clapping and uncontrollable fits of jumping out of his seat. Initially the screamer found him surrounded by fans wearing Dodger blue but within an inning all of these fans had moved giving the screamer more room for his antics. When Bobby Freeman began playing the organ the screamer would jump up and begin dancing. I feared that the jiggling of that stomach would cause too much pressure on the waistband of his pants and I for one did not want to know the answer to the question boxers or briefs. Within three innings the fans who actually were supposed to occupy those seats came and the screamer and Mrs. Screamer were forced to leave. Instead of going quietly like most squatters do, screamer must moved up 4 rows and squatted in another two seats. He continued his antics but added a new flair. Whenever a play went the Diamondbacks way he would jump up and run back down to the seats he was sitting in before and would have to high-five the occupants that had kicked him out. I guess he felt some sort of connection because they shared a seat or something. At his new location the screamer again caused Dodger fans to move away. This lasted for another three innings when again the screamer was kicked out of the second set of seats. They again moved up a few rows and the process began again. This time he had to high-five the people in both sets of seats. It was the strangest situation I had ever seen but in the end our section was devoid of Dodger fans. I tip my hat to the screamer. May he be victorious in his squatting, just not in my seats.

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