The List: Top non-athletic phenomenons at sporting events

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sports today are all about distractions. Since more and more casual fans go to games, they have to be provided with alternative things to entertain them.

There are stadiums with mini amusement parks, swimming pools and gourmet restaurants. If teams could actually afford to exclude fans that go to games with no real intention of watching the action, I like to think they would scrap all that extra nonsense.

But then I got to thinking …

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Sometimes there are things that come completely out of the blue – things you know you could only see at a major sporting event.

From fat guys to people with no rhythm, we’ll explore all the great things you don’t have to pay to see when we go down “The List.”

1. Field chargers – You have to admit, a guy that hasn’t seen a weight room since high school gym class running around on the same field with world-class athletes makes for good theater.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Takeo Spikes or Manny Ramirez tackle the portly guy that jumps down out of the third row.

2. Really bad halftime shows – Like when a lady named Martha juggles her seven pet poodles. Or when some singer that skipped out on the last three voice lessons belts out a terrible rendition of what you used to think was a great song. Or how about mascots in dunking contests? Oooh, yeah.

My all-time favorite is cheerleaders who really cannot dance trying to pump the crowd up. Boy, nothing rakes the ol’ team spirit like bad timing and glued-on smiles.

3. The unassisted triple play – But not the kind you’re thinking of. No, my friends, I’m talking about the one fan that can manage to be too loud, too smelly and too messy all at the same time.

You’ve seen them – the ones that look like they only come out of the house for ball games.

4. Scoreboard marriage proposals – First of all, it’s not a unique idea anymore. Second, if the woman says yes, you’ve just ruined it for about 100 other guys trying to think of the right way and right time to ask their girlfriends.

And I know no one has ever accused me of thinking like a woman, but if someone proposed to me in front of 70,000 people, I’d tell him to shove that ring anywhere other than my finger.

5. The paint guys – Well, they’re not just guys anymore. Women are joining in on the sports-themed body art fun.

I’ve only one thing to say to you all: It’s just as important to shower before you apply.

Also List-worthy: Aisle vendor honor system; Walk-up music; pre-game video montages; annoying commentators; fans who take steroids; game day traffic; touchy-feely mascots; overbearing owners; and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Pete Rose deserve plaques in Cooperstown.

George L. Jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at (334) 410-1744 or .