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May 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm ET
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We’ve All Seen ‘Em: Landmark Fans

There are two kinds of ballparks in North America: the kind with Landmark Fans and the kind without.

Landmark Fans are the ones who attend every game and sit in the seats behind home plate, directly in television viewers’ sights for each pitch. Probably the most recognizable Landmark Fan is Front Row Amy, Milwaukee’s surgically enhanced fitness nut. During the 2011 playoffs, viewers who weren’t used to watching Brewers games on tv got an eyeful of Amy. But Brewers fans get that every night.

As noted previously, not every ballpark has a Landmark Fan. Baltimore, for instance, has different right-behind-the-plate fans every night. A few fans on the first-base side have emerged as stalwarts. There’s Red-Spiky-Haired-Middle-Aged-Earring Guy, who always brings someone different with him. He sits about eight rows up and has endured many years of bad baseball. Likely no one is happier than he is at Baltimore’s resurgence. Behind the dugout, two bro’s with sunglasses and National Boh gear are there many, if not most, nights.

But those aren’t Landmarks. To be a Landmark, you have to sit behind the plate. Every night.

Like Boston’s Yellow Headphone Guy. Many people have noticed this Stephen Jay Gould look-alike. He attends games by himself and listens to Joe Castigleone and Dave O’Brien describe to him what’s happening 20 feet from his seat. I mean, I guess that’s what he’s listening to. Maybe’s he’s listening to 100.7 FM WZLX, Boston’s classic rock. Or maybe WGBH, “classical New England.” Or maybe he works at Logan Airport, waving those lighted pointers on the runway.

He appears to have friends, or at least admirers. He can be seen leaning toward a neighbor, pulling one earpiece away to have a brief chat. He’s friendly enough. But he’s a lone wolf.

Washington has a pair of stoics who might be father and son. Like Yellow Headphone Guy, they don’t say much and they don’t eat at the game. They watch pitch after pitch, ignoring the wave and the beer vendors. A Bryce Harper tape measure homer elicits the same response The Stoics as a Nationals error: none. The older guy looks like a character actor I can’t quite place; the younger guy looks like a younger version of that character actor.

Toronto has Aunt Bea. Once in a great while, Canadian rock oddity Geddy Lee will attend a Jays game and sit behind the plate, kind of off to the left. But night after night, you can set your watch by Aunt Bea and her companion, who sit at the end of the row, nearest the hard-working Toronto waitresses. She’s a blue-haired septa-or-octagenarian who keeps those waitresses hopping. Apparently, Rogers Centre has one of those concierge-style deals in the swell seats, where you don’t have to go get your own food and drinks. I can’t tell, but I think they also have slop buckets so fancy fans don’t have to shlep all the way to the loo. Anyway, when the waitresses have a fresh tray of something – hot dogs, peanuts, caviar – they stop by Aunt Bea’s seat first. And to her credit, she and her red-haired friend stay the whole game. Around the eighth inning or so, Aunt Bea reaches down and gets her great big pocketbook and sits it on her lap for a while. Then, when the waitress is attending to someone else, she unsnaps the great bag, reaches in and pulls out a huge wad of colorful Canadian cash. Tip time! From what I can tell, she treats the waitresses right.

The White Sox have a weird one. Everyone at US Cellular Field wears black, to match the home team’s colors. Chicago’s the most stylish city in America and White Sox fans always look sharp. Except for one. The one who’s there every night. M&Ms-NASCAR-Jacket Guy totally ruins the mood. And since it’s freezing cold in Chicago for at least half the Sox games, M&Ms-NASCAR-Jacket Guy is front and center. He’s a grouch. Never cheers, slumps in his chair. It’s not even clear he’s a Sox fan. And M&M’s? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love an M&M. But I don’t wear them. A brown and yellow NASCAR jacket with a giant M&Ms logo means A) you’re already married or B) you’ve given up.

Anaheim, though, might be the weirdest of all. The Dodgers used to have the guy in the booty hat who pointed the radar gun. But the Angels have none other than Lucifer His Damn Self, Mr. Scott Boras, esq. The uberagent buys the underground seats behind the plate and brings an entourage to each game. It’s like his own little Eva Braun-style dugout. Can you imagine what the Angels must get from Boras for those seats?

ARTE MORENO: This field-level luxury box is $100,000 a season. But Scotty, we’ll sell it to you for $80 million.

SCOTT BORAS: No prob. Will cash be acceptable?

What about your team’s ballpark? Any Landmark Fans? Or, failing that, stalwarts?

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One Response to “We’ve All Seen ‘Em: Landmark Fans”
  1. Tim Gaudette says:

    Back in the ’80’s, Shea Stadium used to have a middle aged woman that sat behind home plate, right in the pitcher’s view. Visiting pitchers used to complain that she would sit there, with white gloves on and roll her arms over each other continuously. Give the win to our pitcher, the game ball to the game winning homer, and an assist to the woman behind home that kept the visiting pitchers cussing under their breath.

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