The Texas Rangers may be leading the American League West, but fans attending games at the team's Arlington, Tex. ballpark are being constrained in the way they celebrate that success: Rangers fans are being asked not to do the Wave. What provoked the "eye-rollingly silly" movement to ban the jovial "stand up, sit down" tradition? Here, a brief guide:
What's behind the Wave ban?
The better question is who? Greg Holland, a 29-year-old insurance salesman, launched the website stopthewave.net after becoming frustrated with overzealous Wave-ers at Rangers games. "The wave," he says, as quoted by The Los Angeles Times, "has nothing to do with baseball." Worse yet, it can be distracting to the team. "Doing the wave is basically giving the middle finger to the guys on the field," he tells ESPN. He's been promoting his crusade against the "most insanely moronic ritual in sports," says Adam Boedeker at NBC, with a Twitter account as well.
And the Rangers are on board?
To a degree. Holland began emailing his complaints to Chuck Morgan, the Rangers senior vice president for ballpark entertainment, who had received similar messages from other fans. Morgan says he decided, "Let's see if we can have fun with it," as quoted by ESPN. The team began flashing a "NO WAVE ZONE" sign on the Jumbotron during games, and placing "semi-serious" warnings around the ballpark noting that "any children doing the Wave will be sold to the circus," and stressing that the Wave is only safe at "pro football games and Miley Cyrus concerts." For his part, Morgan thinks — and says the players agree — that the Wave is perfectly acceptable when the team has a blow out lead. Unfortunately, he says, fans too often begin raising their arms at inappropriate times.
Is the ban working?
Not exactly. One Rangers executive admitted to The Los Angeles Times that the unofficial ban has actually emboldened Wave supporters. "It's actually going stronger than ever," he says. Indiana State University psychology professor Ed Hirt isn't surprised, saying that sports fans are drawn to the "camaraderie" of acts like the Wave. The ban, he says, triggers people's "sense of obstinacy," only exacerbating their desire to do it. Those who support the ban are missing the point of the Wave, says Maressa Brown at The Stir: "A sense of tradition, community, and team spirit."
Is the ban unprecedented?
Depending on whom you believe, says Richard Luscombe at The Guardian, the Wave has been around since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. And movements to ban it from sporting events are not new either. University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler was pleading with fans to stop back in the '80s. In 2007, an Australian cricket league began ejecting supporters who defied its Wave ban. Yet the Wave rolls on.