I was all set to write my first post as a love letter to Josh Beckett’s fastball. (Look, if it was possible to make out with a pitch, I would do so with that one, happily, and without regard for leaving lipstick prints on the leather.) But then my cousin sent me a text message from her seats at Citi Field last week. “Maggie,’ she wrote. ‘They’re doing it again.’
The ‘it’ in question? Playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ in the eighth inning.
It’s time to call a spade a spade, people. Mets? Stop it. That’s Boston’s thing, and you don’t get to pretend that you didn’t realize that they thought of it first. Get your own traditions and customs and stop stealing things from other teams.
As I thought about it, though, I realized that it’s not just the Mets, and it’s not just ‘Sweet Caroline.’ It’s pervasive throughout sports, and it’s time we started calling folks out on it.
For example, anyone else remember when the Rays tried to rally their fans by using a video culminating in a shot of Rocky Balboa dashing up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, his arms raised in triumph as the camera panned lovingly across the Philadelphia skyline? One problem: they were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at the time. In, y’know, the World Series.
While I’m talking about the World Series, remember those ubiquitous white rally towels that fans waved wildly above their heads in support of their team? Yeah, Myron Cope started that back in 1975. Step off.
The thievery trend even extends to the very design of stadiums. If you’ve visited any of the stadiums built over the last, say, decade, you’ll notice that they by and large resemble each other. That is to say, they all look like Camden Yards, designed to reflect its urban setting. In some instances, this design is completely illogical. Nowhere is this more egregious than in Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park, designed to show off a city…nearly five miles in the distance.
So tell us. What other examples of blatant sports thievery can you come up with? Who has a claim to a tradition that another team has stolen? Is anyone else as annoyed about this as I am? (…Probably not.)