First off are the "real" season ticket holders. These fans have been apart of the team for ten plus years. They probably have been cheering for the team even with an affiliation change or two. They sit close to the home dugout, wear a vintage jersey from the last year the team won a championship (sometimes this jersey may be very old), and have a scorebook to follow every little detail. These fans don't say much to the players, but we acknowledge them discretely and know that they will be there whether we win or lose. They also are the ones that will sit through rain delays and blow out games. Some will even have the old-school am/fm radio and follow the games radio broadcast.
Next are the young college fraternity type hecklers. This group usually roams the stadium and never actually sits in their purchased seat. They will roam the field to find the closest place to harass the opposing team with a beer or two in hand. Most of the time it will be down by the bullpens or over the outfield wall. I have always got a kick out of the hecklers I have heard and it actually gets me excited to perform better. Hint though hecklers, try to keep the language clean, as it is a family environment and get some baseball lingo. Saying "hey #32 you suck" doesn't really do much or won't get any reaction. Most players will ignore ignorant fans, but if you keep the comedy good and witty we may crack a smile and play along with you.
The card and memorabilia collectors are next on the list. This group which is mostly men, in the age group of late twenties to forty, arrive to the stadium around an hour before we get there to get some cards signed by players. They put a lot of time into organizing and collecting these rare minor and major league cards. As players we don't mind signing as long as it is to a minimum where it doesn't feel like the collector is trying to get 10 things signed for the purpose of reselling. We try to sign for fans and collectors before and after the game as a token of appreciation. Please don't take offense, but we are not allowed to sign during the games. Signing is always enjoyable for me personally because I like the interaction with the fans.
Finally are the "Can I have a ball" fans. Having spent time in the bullpen in my career, I have heard that phrase countless times. Kids especially are always asking for balls. I do have to tell you we only have a limited supply each road trip in our ball bag. We can give out any foul ball hit and stays in the field of play. I try to give as many balls out as I can to the fans. Just know that we want to always find a young child to give it to first. Your best bet to getting balls from the team is to sit along the baselines or above the dugout. Also if you show up early to the stadium check around your seat; there might be some batting practices balls that made it there.
Right now we have been on the road for what seems like the entire month of June. The team has really come together and we are clicking with both pitching and hitting. Only 5.5 games out of first with the All-Star break coming up shortly. I hope you are enjoying the journals and please feel free to email any questions or suggestions.
When Scot isn't striking out International Leauge batters for the Hens, he is the Director of Sales and Marketing at SuperKix.com.