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Ten Foot Mailbag: Stop Pining For Ryne Sandberg

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Ryne Sandberg. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Ryne Sandberg. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Ryne Sandberg returns to Wrigley Field this weekend as the new manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

I want Cubs fans to do me a favor during this special time—don’t for one second consider whether he deserves to or should be managing the Cubs. It’s an exercise in futility, just like believing tradition is intrinsic in sports success. The organization owes him nothing, and those currently in the front office don’t care about what he did in blue pinstripes 20+ years ago for mostly bad teams.

Successful organizations celebrate great former members with number retirements, video tributes, and statues. They do not give great former players managerial positions just because (most good managers were bad players anyway, and the great player becoming a great manager in modern baseball is über-rare).

I have nothing against Sandberg, I loved him as a player, and for his sake (mostly to avoid the infamous wrath of Phillies fans) I hope he does well with the new gig. But if he does a fine job, please do not let his performance poison your brain with thoughts of “WHY AIN’T HE COACHIN DA CUBS DIS IS A TRAVISTY FIRE EPSTINE.”

The Cubs chose a guy in Dale Sveum that they believe fits their plan of developing into a champion. And maybe he isn’t the manager if and when they finally win a World Series. That has nothing to do with Ryne Sandberg, and that’s absolutely okay. Nothing about him right now suggests a championship manager or a bust, and what he does in Philly isn’t indicative of what he might have done in Chicago. Appreciate Ryno the player, but don’t ruin that by being salty over Ryno the not-Cubs manager.

Weekend. These Waves are acceptable.

On to your correspondence.

The wave is vile. It represents some of the worst of fandom but even more so the worst of humanity. People who like doing the wave also enjoy “Mambo No. 5” and should be napalmed.

People like those who don’t understand why the Texas Rangers public address announcer, Chuck Morgan, began putting anti-wave messages on the jumbotron in Arlington some years back.

“(In 2009) he started putting no-wave reminders on the board in center field. He didn’t think anyone paid attention to it so he moved it to the video board in right. He did the same thing this year, but has mixed it up. There’s a no-wave warning featuring Kramer from the TV show ‘Seinfeld.’ Roy Hobbs is also featured in another one.”

One of Morgan’s messages reads “BALLPARK WARNING: NO WAVE. SURGEONS HAVE DETERMINED THAT DOING THE WAVE WILL, YES, WILL CAUSE TEARS TO THE SUPRASPINATUS MUSCLE AND THE INFRASPINATUS MUSCLE FROM THE THROWING OF INDIVIDUAL’S ARMS RAPIDLY INTO THE AIR. IN ADDITION, ANY CHILDREN DOING THE WAVE WILL BE SOLD TO THE CIRCUS. DO NOT DO THE WAVE IN THE BALLPARK, DOING THE WAVE IS SAFE AT PRO FOOTBALL GAMES AND MILEY CYRUS CONCERTS.”

Aside from his playful jab at football and that a Miley Cyrus concert would now more likely feature simulated sex acts than the wave, that’s a man after my own heart. But some people believe their right to uncreativity and insufferability is being harshed.

People like Maressa Brown who penned this fantastic little piece of orphanage fire around the same time of Morgan’s noble quest. “What is the big deal?” mouth-farts Brown.

“If you don’t like that other people do the wave at ballgames, don’t GO, and watch on your big butt in front of your HD-TV (which you’re bound to have, because you take ‘your sport’ and ‘your team’ soooooooo seriously). In fact, these people who are such Grinches about the whole thing don’t really belong at games anyway. They’re obviously missing the best parts of baseball — a sense of tradition, community, and team spirit.”

None of those things are the best parts of baseball played by grownups. What sense of tradition do Tamp Bay Rays fans have? Or should Cubs fans embrace the tradition of rooting for a giant pulsating orb of suck their entire existence? Community? Go do PR for a teeball league. Team spirit is reserved for Disney films that you think real life mimics.

The best part of baseball, actually, is good baseball. And when good baseball is being played, fans are more riveted and not participating in kindergarten exercises designed for America’s collective ADHD.

HEY EVERYONE THIS GAME IS BORING ALL OF A SUDDEN AND STUFF SO LET’S COLLECTIVELY STAND UP AND SIT DOWN WHILE THE ATHLETES ON THE FIELD QUIETLY WISH FOR A METEOR SHOWER.

And Brown thinks y’all with yer fancy HD televisors are so damn uppity and overcommitted. Wanting the best quality picture and sound on a TV that you can afford is soooooooo obsessive, losers. You who want to watch baseball at a baseball game and don’t need the wave or anthropomorphic nightmare character races or Kiss Cams should really not show up to the baseball game. Stay home, sports fans who like sports. Sporting events aren’t for sports, sourpusses!

But Brown has a message for all you haters out there.

“Boo hooey hoo!

OMG, get this – (Greg) Holland even has a website called StoptheWave.net! Bhahaha. Really?!! They must have it pretty good if this is their HUGE cause! Oy!

What’s even funnier is that they’ve even called the Rangers’ front office complaining so many times that the Rangers themselves are in semi-support of the cause. And they run a warning on the Rangers scoreboard explaining that wavers can suffer muscle strains and recommending the wave be restricted to ‘pro football games and Miley Cyrus concerts.’ These eye-rollingly silly moves are totally self-defeating. Their animosity toward the wave just makes other fans want to do it even more. To that, I say, GOOD!”

That is a thing that was written. By an actual person. Likely with functioning organs that would be better served in some dying kid who might cure a disease someday.

Know why we wave-haters hate the wave? It insults the teams playing and the intelligence of not stupid people. You are at a sports arena to watch said sporting event. You are not there to do calesthenics with thousands of strangers. If you need inclusion in a group of like-minded empty-heads that badly, North Korea will gladly take you into its army.

Doing the wave is telling the athletes and coaches, “Hey, I don’t care about you, and it’s a wonder I paid the money to show up here at all. I am going to instead amuse myself by throwing away and shred of self-respect and individuality I had.”

BUT THE WAVE IS FUN AND STUFF WHY DO YOU HATE THE FUN?

It’s fun if you’re post-lobotomy. “Yay, stand up and sit down and then watch it go around the stadium thing and ohmygosh it is getting closer to me again and, yay, stand up and sit down and there it goes and I like owscream.” But for the people that showed up to actually watch and consume the sport on the field or court—yeah, these weirdos exist—you’re being incredibly distracting. You’re also advertising that many fans at that stadium aren’t very bright and are the equivalent of the dog in Up, and that’s not fair to actual fans who care about the actual game.

The wave condones ignorance and celebrates stupidity, regardless of someone finding it fun, and I won’t have any part of that. Fun is not a solid defense of doing something. And your pathetic idea of fun and your inability to focus on things for an extended period of time and your right to be an adult dumbass should not infringe on somebody else’s taking in of the product on the field that a ticket entitles one to experiencing.

If you are pro-wave, you’re not a bad fan. You’re just not a fan at all, because nobody who cares about a sport/game/team shows up to an event to take part in spontaneous robotic choreography. And asking me or anyone else to condone it or even to be merely apathetic to the wave is calling for my contribution to not just stain on sports but a perpetuation of collective ignorance on a larger scale. As Elie Wiesel said, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

I bet Wiesel would hate the wave, too. And he survived the Holocaust.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to tenfootmailbag@gmail.com or tweet them to @TimBaffoe with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Stop Pining For Ryne Sandberg

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at tenfootmailbag@gmail.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click

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