I am not usually a fan of The Wave
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
But Monday night, at Comerica Park in Detroit, I kind of enjoyed the experience. Not really sure if it was because seeing something like that was more fun than watching the Tigers lose yet again, or if I had the amusing thought that my half hearted participation as it started up in the 9th inning of a game the home team was losing 7-3 at that point probably looked like Bernie Sanders throwing his hands up in last week's Democratic primary debate across the street at the Fox Theater, but...I didn't hate the wave tonight.
I was always under the impression that the Detroit Tigers had something to do with the popularization of that particular audience participation, in the magical 1984 World Series winning year, but it turns out that there was an even more local connection to how it caught on in the mid 80s. Apparently, University of Michigan people saw it done when the Wolverines played a game at the University of Washington in 1983, brought it back to Ann Arbor, where it caught on at Michigan Stadium with the biggest college football crowd in the country, and from there it spread 40 miles east to Detroit's Tiger Stadium, where national audiences got to see it when the Tigers were on TV. Now I'm curious how many times the Tigers got on national TV that year, not including the playoffs....the wiki article linked below mentions that the wave was featured during the Summer Olympics soccer final in 1984, which was held on August 11 of that year.
Oddly, in the rest of the world, English speaking countries refer to it as the Mexican Wave, which I was not aware of until a few minutes ago...despite the fact that I heard an English soccer commentator use that exact phrase during a Tottenham Hotspur game last weekend. I meant to look it up, but it slipped my mind. The reason for that is that the rest of the world caught on to this phenomenon when they saw it being done at the World Cup held in Mexico in 1986, and hence, the Mexican Wave. Unless you speak Spanish, and you call it La Ola!
In any case, ~35 years later, I am usually not a fan, because it's often the loudest, drunkest morons in a crowd trying to incite the wave during the most critical times of a game, where a crowd is better off watching and cheering their team on to victory rather than booing the failure of a section halfway around the stadium to bow to their inebriated demands. But tonight...I didn't mind so much.