Another sporting event, another crisis. Or at least, that might be what the World Series feels like if you’re not much of a baseball fan but everyone around you is. And this time around things are looking pretty dire with the San Francisco Giants taking on the Kansas City Royals, especially because the only thing you know about this match-up is that one of Lorde’s songs has been banned in one city and overplayed in another (can we get a standard MLB face off for once?!).
But don’t worry. There’s no need to panic this time around because we’ve got you covered with a couple of simple tips to make you look like a passable baseball fan.
Maybe we’re just keeners, but step one should really just be trying to understand the game. Yeah, there’s not a lot of time for this option, but that’s why Wikipedia was invented. Not only does the free encyclopedia help millions of students each year barely scrape by, but it can be your friend too. Unfortunately, there are actually a number of rules at play here, so we recommended just knowing this: each team needs 27 outs (notwithstanding extra innings if there’s a tie). That’s three outs per team, per inning.
Want to sound like a smarty pants? Grab that beer, settle on in and when the Giants/Royals take the field, proclaim, “All right! 27 outs. Let’s start this thing right!” (Note this only works in the first inning, and only when the team you actually want to be cheering for takes the field — NOT when they’re batting.)
Then for the rest of the game just focus on those moments when you get to yell “STEEE-RIKE!”because, let’s face it, that’s the best part.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Barring actually learning the game, this just might be the next best thing as far as really pulling off a World Series appearance. It’s as simple as Follow the Leader, or in this case, Follow Your Friends. Throw out a hearty “Yeah!” whenever you see a fist pump, or mutter choice expletives under your breath whenever you hear a groan. Pro tip: at no point in baseball does anyone ever need to pass, so if you’d made that your go to during this summer’s World Cup stay away from it now (we learned this the hard way so you don’t have to).
Want a pro-fan tip? Wait until one team inevitably calls for a play to be reviewed, then turn to your neighbour and say, “Man, ever since they introduced the review coaches are calling for everything, huh?” Just make sure aforementioned neighbour isn’t visibly upset or concerned over the call being reversed first. In that case, spout the merits of the review being introduced.
Be there for the food
There’s a reason the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” are less about the game and more about the food. Baseball food is undeniably delicious — and a perfect excuse to throw that “healthy eating lifestyle choice” out the window and dive into some heavily buttered popcorn, corn dogs and Cracker Jacks. While everyone is getting hyped up for the game, get yourself hyped up for the food. As long as you don’t explicitly mention what you’re really going for, everyone’s going to be so impressed with how excited you are.
Pro tip? Lament over how much you’d love to be enjoying those famous garlic fries from the San Fran stadium or strike up a conversation about how the Royals have introduced a butternut squash soup to their concession stands in order to class up the joint for the world series. Pft. Who eats soup at a ballgame? (It’s OK, we secretly would too.)
Or the fashion
When it comes to sports uniforms, baseball clearly has the competitive edge. We all look a little bit silly wearing our hockey jerseys around (plus the fact that the fabric doesn’t breathe makes it torture during the Stanley Cup) and the extreme pattern pairings of golf have been a familiar eye sore for years. Not so with baseball. From the button ups to three quarter sleeves, this is a look that anyone can pull off. And nothing seals an outfit quite like a well-fitted baseball cap.
We’ve got a pro-tip for that, too: Any ball player wearing his socks OVER his pants is sporting the old school style. Any player letting those pants hang down is going modern. Pick a style, and solicit opinions on whether uniforms were better in the old days.
Dive into the spirit(s)
Oddly enough, many a sports game is enjoyed from the comfort of a bar. This comes with several perks (some of which are pretty obvious), including the tendency of some fans to really let loose with the team spirit and provide just as much amusement, if not more, than the actual game. As a bonus, there’s always one old man willing to explain the plays to you, giving you a chance to actually understand what’s going on.
Now you’re a pro: Stay long enough, and your new companion might just buy you a drink.
Root for the underdog
This can be risky, unless your baseball buddies also happen to be cheering for the same team. Then again, the irrational competition you might end up in after deliberately cheering for the opposite team will help fuel your newfound passion. Otherwise, you’ll still feel a sense of pride knowing you supported the little guy and, like a seasoned sports veteran, you can leave the bar quoting those age-old words, “there’s always next year” and finally fit in.
Pro tip: the underdog in this case will be whichever team isn’t winning the Best-Of-Seven match. If questioned about your loyalties, shrug your shoulders and pointedly say, “I just love a good underdog story.”
Just do it
There’s a reason so many people get passionate about sports and that’s because they are an all-around good time (and not just because of the food, which we love so much we needed to mention it again). And while you might have to fake it in the beginning, eventually you’re going to realize that too. We’re willing to bet that’ll be enough to get you cheering in no time.
How the pros do it: Just enjoy yourself!