Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bills of Rights

@JesseSanchezMLB asked via Twitter: what are the bills of rights for fans and players?

I've decided to take a stab at it--let me know if I've missed some or included some you haven't included in yours.

The MLB Fan's Bill of Rights

1) Freedom of Fanhood: Fans have a right to choose which team they support, the right to withdraw or change their allegiance at any time for any reasons that they so choose, and the right to attend any baseball game, home or away, regardless of affiliation so long as they acquire their ticket by legal means.

2) Freedom of Speech: Fans have a right to criticize any aspect of their team--any player, coach, support personnel or front office management--as they see fit provided it does not threaten the physical security of any of the aforementioned individuals.

3) Right to Enjoyable Game Watching: Fans who pay any legal price for Stadium admission have the right to an enjoyable game experience. This includes the right to ask stadium security/customer service to confront another fan who is disrupting his/her experience, provided such right is exercised judiciously and is not abused. (A fan should only need to exercise this right once or twice a season and NEVER in a road park).

4) Right to Enjoyable Game Watching (home version): Fans have a right to choose whichever available feed of the current game to watch or listen to, via tv, or radio. They have the right to criticize any broadcasters for ineptness or "blindness" --I am here pointing to John Sterling's "IT IS HIGH! IT IS FAR! IT IS....caught!" calls that have most of NYC seeing cardiologists prematurely.

5) Right to Protest: Fans have the right to assemble and demand in any peaceable way they choose (via petition, online petition, actually gathering, letter-writing campaign, etch) to campaign for a measure that they want, such as a trade or a free-agent signing.

6) Right to Information: Fans have the right to be able to access any and all statistical information about any player they choose, and the right to analyze this information in any way they see fit, even if it makes them look like a complete idiot.

7) Right to Shelter: Paying fans have the right to a baseball park that is clean (as clean as a park can be), secure and fan-friendly. I would further go on to say that fans have a right to a park that can provide shelter in the event of a severe weather event, such as a tornadic storm, when otherwise escaping to a car would be more dangerous than safe. I would further argue that teams should consider a hand-stamping policy wherein one gate is a designated re-entry gate, provided patrons get their hands stamped...this would allow for smoking breaks (you shouldn't smoke, and all that) or perhaps a chance to make a cell-phone call if need be without having to compete with the noise of a ballpark. Before you get all up in arms, I used to go to Nets basketball and Devils' hockey games where Gate B was a designated smoking area; you got your hand stamped, did your thing and came back in. Never seemed to be much of an issue.

8) Right to Players at the Park: At the ballpark, fans have the right to seek autographs from players, as stadium and team policies allow for. This generally means being able to watch BP. Any ticket-holding fan, regardless of where seated, is afforded this right.

9) Right to Be an Idiot: Fans have a right to be idiots, whether by dancing awfully on the DiamondVision, making ridiculous trade suggestions or wearing ridiculous get up to a game. This right ends only when one of the other discussed rights are violated.

10) Right to the Integrity of the Game: Fans have a right to watch a game wherein both teams have the goal of winning the baseball game (ie, NOT doing as the Black Sox and Pete Rose did).

The MLB Player's Bill of Rights

1) Right to security: First and foremost, MLB players have the right to security at the ballpark so their person is not physically threatened. MLB players also have the right, should they choose so, to employ a bodyguard or guards outside the stadium, in which ever manner they see fit. Players, of course, also have the right to use self-defense if they are in clear and imminent danger of physical harm. Which goes for everyone, actually.

1a) Right to family privacy and safety: Players have the right to refuse any and all interaction in which they feel the privacy and/or security of family members may be threatened.

2) Right to eat in peace: Players have the right to eat out, visit museums/galleries/shows/movies/etc and otherwise partake in normal public life without having to be interrupted by a fan. Players have the right to refuse dealing with fans in these situations, provided the physical security of the fan is never threatened (unless there's the clear and imminent danger thing). Players should be at least reasonably civil (I'm not even saying polite or courteous here), but they, as anyone else living in the US, are protected by the real first amendment and may say whatever they so choose.

3) Right to get dressed before postgame interviews. This includes the right to dress horribly 'Nuff said. Yes, I'm looking at you, Nick Swisher.

4) Right to exercise a normal degree of emotion in a 'big moment' during a course of the game. Yes, Joba can pump his fist and K-Rod can go into convulsions and Papelbon can do an Irish jib, provided these things happen at the end of an inning when the said pitcher/player has victoriously emerged from his troubles. Emotion is a part of the game. It makes the game FUN and teams fun to root for. Get over it.

5) Right to say what they want to coaches, managers and management, provided again that physical security is not threatened. Players should be warned that while they have the right to say "Hey you're a purple monkey" to their manager or "trade me" to their GM, they may not enjoy the consequences of these actions.

6) Right to interact with fans via social networking such as Twitter. Right now, I have to say, @Dougiebaseball is totally the best at this.

7) Right to rookie hazing. Tradition is tradition. Players have the right to engage in any legitimate baseball tradition they so choose. If they want to chew tobacco, they have that right. Even if they shouldn't.

8) Right to integrity of the game: Like fans, players have a right to a game played with integrity on the part of both teams. If a player knows of his team conspiring to throw a game or otherwise undermine the ultimate goal, the player not only has the right but has the obligation to come forward with this information.

9) Right to Music: Players have the right to choose their at-bat music, no matter how awful said music may be. The first player to demarcate a song for his at bat has the theoretical right to call out another player for 'copying' him.

10) Right to well-practiced, efficient and otherwise excellent team medical staff. For members of the Mets, Rays, and others, this right is sacred, above all others.

These are what my addled neurons came up with late at night--so please, if there's one I missed, let me know!