Yankees and Mets fans are unimaginative

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Freakonomics
— the book, the blog, the phenomenon — is basically about applying
economic theory to non-traditional things. Things like parenting and
sumo and the Ku Klux Klan and what have you. It’s pretty interesting
stuff, actually, that reminds people that economics is way more about
social and behavioral science than it is about money and numbers.

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner was at the Mets-Yankees game last night, and he wonders why Yankees and Mets fans are so darn economically inefficient when it comes to their cheers and taunts:

A pattern quickly emerged. The many Yankees fans regularly broke
into their thunderous cheer: “Let’s go Yankees!” (clap-clap-clap-clap …
clap-clap). If you are a Yankees fan (we are; but we do not hate the
Mets), this was a sign of what might be called prideful hubris, or
maybe hubristic pride: we can come into your stadium and rock it very,
very hard.

How’d the Mets fans respond? Succinctly. In the space where the
Yankees fans did their rhythmic clapping, Mets fans shouted “Yankees
suck!” . . .This pattern was repeated all night. What surprised me is
that neither side found a way to improve their effort. I kept waiting
for the Yankees fans to fill in their clapping with some chanting that
couldn’t be hijacked by the Mets fans, and I kept waiting for the Mets
fans to either be proactive in their chanting or to move beyond
“Yankees suck!” But neither side budged . . . I fear not that we are
teaching our children to be coarse but that we are teaching them to be
uncreative and unskilled in the use of game theory.

I can think of no greater indictment of the new expensive ballparks in
New York than the fact that they have priced out one of the greatest
forces of nature in the universe: verbally abusive, yet incredibly
clever New York baseball fans.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.