These are the right field bleachers. Where the wave goes to die. Photo Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
I spend many Athletics games in the right field bleachers and over the past couple of seasons I’ve noticed that those bleachers is where “the wave” goes to die. It’s not enough that the bleacher crew don’t participate, which they don’t, but they actively campaign against others from participating and if you try to start the wave in the bleachers (which is a stupid place to start it since it’s the least dense group of seats) be prepared for a barrage of “no” and “sit down” and “go to ATT where that crap is encouraged” cat calls from fans.
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I don’t really have an opinion of the wave one way or the other. I don’t usually participate because I’d rather watch the game but it has become a part of the baseball experience and kids seem to like it so I’m not actively against it. What I find funny, though, is how Oakland fans, who are notoriously loyal to their history, have dismissed the wave when it very well may be an Oakland invention.
The first televised documentation of the wave was in an ALCS series against Oakland and New York on October 15, 1981 led by cheerleader Krazy George. Since I was only eight days old, I don’t remember it too well but you can see it take place in this video.
Other sports franchises have laid claim to the wave but there appears to be no documented evidence that the wave happened anywhere prior to October 15, 1981. So, with that, A’s fans can claim ownership of the wave in all of its glory or they can dismiss it as a dark chapter in A’s history never to be spoken about or acknowledged again. I lean toward the former but I get the arguments of those who lean towards the latter.
- The wave (usually) makes appearances on sold out or near sold out games which means that the team is doing good, making money and everyone is happy.
- The wave (should) makes appearances when the team is ahead or is making a great rally or has more-or-less clinched the game.
- The wave livens the crowd and dazzles young fans who we want to fall in love with the game much like dot racing, hall of fame big head races, drumming, chanting (who do you believe in?), clapping, or the hi-low game for bacon.
- The wave distracts fans from the game action and people miss what’s happening on the field because they’re looking at the stands.
I can’t think of any other cons but, like I said earlier, I’m neither for or against the wave. If it happened at every sold out game, I’d be fine with it and if it never happened again, I wouldn’t miss it. What I’m looking for by writing this article is answers from other fans. Why do you do it? Why do you hate it? As an invention of Oakland fans, should we embrace it more or is it a stupid tradition that we should forget? Why is the wave such a polarizing topic in the right field bleachers but so embraced in the stands? How many times did I say wave in this article? Help me to better understand this cultural shift among the greatest fans in baseball.