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How to be a Baseball Fan at the Park or in the Bar

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He's the guy everybody loves to hate. And sometimes, he's me. Don't be "That Guy."

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Author's Note: "Guy" is used in the gender neutral sense of the word.

It's Spring, that magical time of year when the stat nerds emerge from their mom's basement and venture out to mix and mingle among the greater populace. A time of year filled with wonder...and danger. Wonder, in that it is always a beautiful thing to see a (metaphorical) socially inept nerd blossom into a real person. Danger, because there is always the risk that inexperience leads him or her into overindulgence, and before anybody can throw up a caution flag, your timid friend has become something altogether different.

I'm speaking, of course, of That Guy.

So what do you do when you're on your way to the Trop for a meat up, but you find your buddy creeping toward the That Guy zone? Or worse, what if You are That Guy? (Is one of you wearing a Wil Myers shirtsy? That's not a good sign.) So is there any hope for salvaging the evening? As always, we at DRB are here to help. In that spirit, we offer you a few simple guidelines.

When your friend is "That Guy"

This one is pretty straightforward. When your friend crosses into That Guy-hood, you have one job. One job! Tell him. And don't be subtle about it either. Don't just roll your eyes and groan and assume he's going to figure it out. Because, believe me, the last guy to know he is That Guy is That Guy. A good friend does not let a buddy make an ass of himself.

"Dude, don't be that guy."

"What?"

"Come on. A Myers shirtsy? Really?"

"Well, it was either that or the retro-Lugo one."

"Ugh."

From this point on, you are (mostly) off the hook, and in general you should feel free to enjoy laughing at your buddy. At least until your buddy gets to the "Go home, you're drunk" stage.

When YOU are "That Guy"

Maybe you're one of those rare breeds self-aware enough to know when you've crossed a line. But probably not. It will probably be pointed out to you that you are demonstrating That Guyness traits. But regardless of how you become aware, you now have some decisions to make.

Where am I on the "That Guy" scale

Because there is a range here. And where you are on the scale will dictate what your response should be.

That Guy Scale (0-10)

Below 4-ish: These are mostly accidental That Guy behaviors. Everybody makes these sometimes. Cutting in the beer line that you didn't even realize was a line. Standing up an inning early, thinking it's the 7th inning stretch, and accidentally starting the wave. Trying to be polite and hold your fart through an extended Balfour inning, only to have it slip out loudly when you finally do stand up after he walks the world. While these are not heinous etiquette breaches, they are not the kind of things to be admired or encouraged. As the responsible party, the only things you can and should do in these situations is apologize and try not to do it again. Maybe volunteer to buy the next round. (And really, pay more attention next time, okay?)

Above 7: This is where the worst of That Guy behavior lives. Racism, sexism, fat jokes, "practical" "jokes" that aren't funny and only embarrass the victim along with everyone else. I remember watching Fenway twitching away at Tourettes-ing Jim Eisenreich back in the early 80s. There's just no excuse for that kind of behavior. So when you get called out for being that kind of That Guy, there is literally nothing you can do or say to atone. You just have to wear the shame, shut the hell up, and hopefully demonstrate over time that while you may have been That Guy when you said or did what you said or did, you aren't That Guy as a human being. Don't try to justify your behavior. None of that, "hey man, it was just joke." Just.Shut.Up. and accept all the daggers being thrown your way. (Even the non-metaphorical ones.) And if whatever you did/said is waaaaay up the scale, like over a 9, you should probably consider just going home, even if you aren't drunk. Seriously, you need some time in deep self-reflection. You need to figure out if this is really the guy you want to be.

Between 4.2 - 6.9: This is the sweet spot of That Guy behavior. This is The Zone. If your buddy says "Don't be that guy" to you when you are in The Zone, he's probably laughing while he's saying it, because, damn, Navarro kinda does look like a Hispanic Cartman. When you are in The Zone, you should feel free to ignore all the suggestions to "don't be That Guy" and just embrace it. Be irreverently funny. It is what you were called to be. Because what lots of people don't understand is how important a good That Guy is. He says the things everybody else is thinking, and he frees the rest of the group to not be That Guy, without denying that the bases loaded run expectancy png really is creepily accurate. So give That Guy all you've got. Playing the role well is to give of yourself. It's sacrificial, really.

A Final Warning

All that being said, there is one thing you don't want to be: a That Guy hog. Because while every group has a That Guy, no group should have two. Why? Because it never stops at two. That Guy is contagious. First you got two, then four, then eight, and the next thing you know, you're at a Red Sox game. So share the wealth.  Give other people a chance. Because while nobody likes That Guy, in their heart of hearts, everybody want to be That Guy. Especially when he's in The Zone. So don't bogart That Guy. Let other people play too.

Except Ian. Go home, Ian, you're drunk!

That Guy, man...