By CHRIS RASMUSSEN
The Royals travel to Baltimore on Monday, where Wild Bill Hagy used to cheer for the Orioles in right field.
So would Hagy be encouraged to perform his antics at Kauffman Stadium today?
Not a chance.
Wild Bill Hagy and the guy with the Santa beard in the first row of right field general admission section at Royals Stadium are gone. Individuality or vocally rooting for a team is virtually non-existent. Cheering or shouting unprompted by either a scoreboard or the mascot is implicitly discouraged. Fellow fans frown at vocally rooting or heckling, replaced by a hypothetical, silent family of four willing to spend hundreds on the "baseball experience."
Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a column extolling the good old days. The good old days are now for a sports fan.
But something is missing. Sure, the college football environment of Arrowhead and the raucous singing at the Cauldron are worthy extensions of Hagy – but they increasingly are the exception and not the rule.
With more entertainment options are available, sports teams began to listen to us too much. Where an owner once used their instinct to determine what fans wanted, they started using the lowest common denominator of a focus group. Increasingly, we are not fans anymore, just a portion of the aggregate demand curve. The individual, vocal fans are increasingly a thing of the past at Royals Stadium and most baseball stadiums.
Today’s baseball owners just want us to shut up and buy things.