UPDATED: 9 p.m. TUESDAY:
The white flag, a universal symbol of surrender, has become a statement of showmanship and a perceived advantage for the Dodger Stadium fans this post season.
Which makes no sense, no matter how you want to run that Mickey Mouse idea up the flagpole.
Every ticket holder is given a MLB-certified and licensed towel as they enter the stadium for a Dodgers 2013 playoff game.
Monday, it was white, emblazoned with a blue “LA” interlocking logo and another patch commemorating the postseason.
For Tuesday’s game, it was a solid blue motif.
“I think they’ve made a big mistake,” Vin Scully said in the second inning of the radio broadcast. “Dodger blue rally flags today don’t make the same impact (as the white ones). A Dodger blue rally flag is like playing golf with a green ball. You just lose it.”
Wednesday, they’re going back to white for the 1 p.m. start, just to switch things up.
During Monday’s Game 3 NLCS broadcast, TBS analyst Cal Ripken wondered if the white towels had an effect on the Cardinal outfielders who seemed to have problems judging fly balls in key situations – such as the double that Mark Ellis hit between John Jay and Carlos Beltran that neither seemed to be able to track, starting a two-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.
“Sometimes, it’s a lights issue with a stadium, but sometimes a ball can get lost in these fans,” Ripken said. “Everyone’s waving white towels. It’s quite conceivable you’re not tracking the white ball well in this stadium. That’s definitely a home-field advantage.”
Interesting point. Except when Ellis hit his fly ball to lead off the fourth inning, there was no towel-waving. That came in celebration afterward.
By the way, during Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis, fans at Busch Stadium twirled white towels to their advantage as well. Maybe Andre Ethier lost that Beltran drive to center field because of . . . naw.
This is the kind of stuff that Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright (above) famously complained about back in 2009 during the NL Division Series. Why again did Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday lose a soft line drive hit by James Loney with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 that started an improbable rally and led to a three-game Dodgers sweep?
“He lost the ball in 50,000 white towels shaking in front of his face,” Wainwright griped back then. “It doesn’t really seem fair that opposing teams should be able to shake white towels when there’s a white baseball flying in the air. Dodger blue towels, how about that?”
Fair enough. Holliday later said he lost the ball in a bank of lights.
Tuesday, he didn’t seem to have a problem seeing through blue towels when he crushed a home run deep into the Dodgers’ bullpen for a 3-0 Cardinals lead.
Rally towels are neither new nor cool. Why even give them out? Maybe because fans feel entitled to that extra token of appreciation, a playoff perk to show their friends later that they were actually there for this exclusive souvenir.
Dodger fans have become much more engaged in these post-season games without any pandering or prompting. Not even from a guy who dressed up in a giant “Ted” bear outfit with a Dodger jersey in Game 3 (see video above), leaped over the retaining wall and did the splits on the top of the Cardinals dugout roof in the eighth inning – right in front of Dustin Hoffman — before he was escorted out by security.
(How do sneak a bear costume past security in the first place? He’s now talking.)
Instead of white towels, check out that video adaption of The White Stripes song, “Seven Nation Army” that resonates more at the stadium these days.
Those seven pulsating bass guitar riffs accompanied by an edgy black-and-white video highlighted by blue streaks will show hands clapping, then Dodger player images and the “L.A.” logo moving in a rhythmic procession toward the camera.
It’s been so effective, fans record it on their smart phones off the outfield video screens and put them up on YouTube.
Want to be original? Go more Jack White, less white towels.Believe us, it’s already made “Don’t Stop Believin’” seem so 2012.