After 4000+ miles chasing the Bearcat Baseball team around this season, I have learned a few things, some of which I will never speak of but I will give you a good sampling.
The biggest thing I learned is the evolution of chatter. Over 40 years ago, when I was the right fielder for my t-ball team in Hastings, NE, chatter was just “hey batter batter swing!” Not extremely creative but a staple of t-ball across the country. Unfortunately, some leagues don’t allow chatter which is ridiculous. Pretty sure nobody on any little league team started hardcore drugs later in life because the 3’8″ right fielder caused him to swing and miss at a ball that was 100% stationary on a tee. In fact, I’m sure he didn’t even know I existed since right field was the spot for the weakest kid on the team. I also batted 9th. Of course right field is the spot for the guy with an absolute cannon for an arm but not quite fast enough to play center and the guy batting 9th is basically your second lead-off hitter; he can handle the bat and has good speed.
Back to what I learned about chatter. Unless I missed a “throwback Thursday” game, college baseball is “hey batter batter swing”-free. The only time I heard one was clearly a Ferris Bueller reference which is “hey batter batter sa-wing batter.” Clearly not the same. The favorite of the Bearcat team is the lawn mower. A sound the entire dugout will make just before an infielder attempts to field a grounder. If you’ve never heard it, you need to go to a game. It has been such a staple in Bearcat Baseball, other teams will try to beat them to it. Good stuff.
Now when a Bearcat hits a little duck-snort of a fly ball, it’s important to cheer for gravity, as in “come on gravity!” This should help the ball to get down. Of course you can accomplish the same thing by yelling “get down ball.” You can also just yell “bleed!” to encourage the ball to be “a littler bleeder” down the line or in shallow wherever. I have know idea if there are known criteria for which one to use, it’s probably something you’re born with and that’s why those guys play college baseball.
In the case of fly balls, location is everything. A ball you want to be foul you would yell “get out ball!” A ball you think might be a home run can also be “get out ball” so if you’re just chatting with another player’s mom, make sure you know what’s going on before you start cheering. You can also tell a potential home run ball to “stay up” or just plain “go ball!”
Of course fly balls hit by the other team are exactly the opposite, “stay in ball.” Now if the other team hits a fly ball right at one of our outfielders, you say “got a guy there.” If the other team hits a fly ball in the gap and our center fielder runs a mile & makes a diving catch, you say “got a guy there,” just a lot louder.
Other situations include mound visits by the opponents, the entire dugout murmurs, “murmurs” & someone will yell “trash the pen” which usually draws a stare if not a warning from the base umpire. I still prefer “leave him in!” If the catcher doesn’t catch a pitch you yell “job description.” Depending on which dugout you’re in, if the 1st or 3rd baseman makes an error, you constantly remind him of it and tell him he’s your favorite player. If a team is hitting your pitchers hard you would describe it as “they [pooped] on every ball.” If the opponent is getting a bunch of bleeders and soft grounders that find a hole, your pitcher is “losing a pillow fight.” If any pitcher has good stuff, he’s “dirty” and if a hitter is exceptional, he’s a “beast.” A pitcher can also be a beast, like if a starter routinely flirts with a complete game or a bullpen guy gives you 5 solid innings or goes back to back to back days.
Sometimes fans get into it. At Washburn, one fan kept yelling “heeeere kitty kitty!” Kitty, BearCATs, get it? Surprisingly I did have to explain it once. Clever but annoying as the kitties were completing a weekend sweep.
It’s also good to research on the other team. For instance, if the corner outfielder next to your bullpen is suspended from the postseason because he failed a drug test, you have to make sure to let him know that you’ll miss him in Warrensburg. It’s especially important to do this when it’s also the last regular season game and it’s senior day…..and he’s a senior! Sometimes things just work out.
What’s next in the evolution of chatter? I think the next logical step is the addition of a Chatter Coach. I’m definitely qualified, and cheap. Call me.